mamvura 1
Mamvura – the water goddess

If you grew up in a home like mine, in a country like the one on my passport then you will know of the mystical, mythical,  eternally strong creature that I am about to share with you. She is  one of those creatures that if Warner Brothers or Disney were to hear about they scramble to put her in one of their movies. She can be found in history, in religion (for even Jesus met her at well in some place) and is still alive to this day. She goes by so many different names and auspices, so for political correctness I will call her Mamvura – the water goddess. An emblem of rural livelihood, her skills are foundational in the rites of passage into womanhood. Although long revered in our communities today I put my neck out and say death to her!

mamvura3 Mamvura in history and in the present

She is known as the bringer of water; her image is undeniable – her silhouette blesses the horizon and no picture of rural Sub-Saharan Africa is complete without her balancing water in a 25l bucket on her head. She is there ever ready and ever able to carry water on her head (and hands if she has to) from distances long and short to ensure that the family never goes without. One of the many reasons why water issues continue without alarms of catastrophe both local and international is because there exists this mythical creature that guards the livelihoods of those enslaved by the perennial issues of the issuing of water. Although historically found in rural communes, of late she has migrated into the cities and there she renders herself fully in Mpopoma, Nkulumane, Entumbane, Kuwadzana, Tafara, Mabvuku, Redcliff and all the other politically invaluable places that she can. I call for her death, by stoning if need be. Her continued benevolence to the a vain nation shrouds the political nature of the very issue she is called to serve -water. How long shall carrying water buckets on the head become the emblem on rural womanhood in a nation that boast of 92% literacy but can not read that the goddess has grown old and frail. Her presence cloaks the eyes of our nations into accepting the normalcy of water from a borehole (which never seems to work in the dry season) 10km away for rural folk.

Death to her, death to the mythical creature I say!

I am sure some of our city ‘fathers’ bank on her goodwill when they plan for water cuts after a rainy season or when they graciously  plan to install water meters which obviously see to it that water stops flowing in the taps of a country that has ninety percentile unemployment. I call her goodwill to an end, death to Mamvura! Maybe, just maybe in her absence national and regional planners will recognise that water does not magically appear in our homes when the taps are dry, maybe they will finally realise that Mamvura’s sway was not a stylised walk but one designed by the burden on her head.

picture courtesy of IDS -
The little goddessa

As I scurry away to an undsclosed cave let me say this; above all the reasons why the water godess must take her leave this (for me) maybe the most pertinent.  In her frailty she has employed a baby goddessa who is the spitting image of her in youth and is in line to inherit the queendom. She should be expelled from her current employ, its time for the water goddess to die!