Sermon from the village . . . Noah’s ark, Moses and Covid-19

Joana Mamombe

Like the story of Noah, it has become time up for many of our relatives and friends. Soon it could be us. On the death bed, there is no negotiation. We are desperate. If we do not observe restrictions and regulations, our time will be up. No matter how much money you have, no matter how much money you are owed and no matter how filthy rich you are, Covid-19 is real. You better play ball. The Government is playing its part, let us also play our part.

Back in my village, in the proverbial land of milk, honey and dust, Guruve, it is an acceptable fact that there were no surnames before the taxman descended on mother earth.

Even in the holy book; Noah who? Adam who? Eve who? Moses who? Abraham who?

But these great men and women who lived before surnames became an identity for governments and councils to collect tax, have many stories that are moralistic and didactic.

And so the Biblical story goes, with a shifting tapestry of holiness, strangeness and earthly meaning that when Moses (never mind he did not have a surname) was sent to lead the children of Israel from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan, many things did happen.

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Upon coming across the tempestuous Red Sea, many lost faith. It looked insurmountable to cross the sea with Pharaoh’s cruel battalion in hot pursuit.

On feeling being squashed between the pursuing legion and the raging sea, the ego for immediate gains took over and robbed the travelling Israelis of the vision of their future.

Some faked illness; some faked running stomachs; some faked loose bladders and, as soon as they went behind the bush supposedly to empty their bowels, they ran back to Pharaoh’s compound. To them, it was better, to remain slaves than fight for freedom.

Working as slaves in Pharaoh’s compound guaranteed the immediate life needs; food and shelter, but not long term dignity, freedom, a secure future.

The journey to Canaan, needed dedication, resilience, determination, vision and the mental strength to recognise that it was a necessary difficulty.

So, some huddled with Moses.  Eventually through faith they crossed the sea.

Then there was Noah, (again never mind he did not have a surname) and God told him about a cyclone, a vicious one that would flood the whole country.

This villager will not talk about Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shame and Japhet, that is subject for another instalment, although Rastas say, in Ham was known to be the prophet Jah.

Back to Noah, and so he announced the cyclone, coming with a wrath of heavy storms and flooding. For Noah to get the prophecy villagers around him should have understood that God had trusted him with the leadership to save the people.

And, as usual in any society there were too many questions than answers for Noah. And, so they started asking: Why did God choose you of all the people? Why not the village head?

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Thoughts and aspersions ran around at the expense of action. Noah took action. Others claimed they had no time; others claimed they would climb up mountains and trees; others thought Noah had gone out of his mind. It was thoughts. Doubts. Disbelief. Stupidity!

And there is this belief on our totems, again giving people a false sense of entitlement and security. The aqua-mania, the ones whose totem is either the fish, the hippo and the water (vaera Dziva vana Save, Mvuu) started fantasising about the floods expanding their territory and making them feel great. It was their biggest mistake.

Then there were those of the monkeys and baboons totems (Soko Mukanya) the primates gifted by the creator with the power to swing from one branch to another with amazing agility — who fantasised with escaping the great flood. That was their greatest mistake.

Even those of dearest marshal eagles, the owners of the skies, reminisced on their aerial power. That was their greatest mistake.

My own ancestors, the elegant eland (Mhofu), known for giant lips, a click sound on their steps and could unleash stinging wasps, fancied their chances of showing exuberance at the onset of the cyclone. It was their greatest mistake.

The professionals and mangers started demanding managerial positions on the construction of the ark. It was their greatest mistake.

Those with money started corruptly asking Noah to accept their payment and bribe, if ever the cyclone eventually arrived. It was their greatest mistake.

So, day after day of cloudless skies sucked moisture from mother earth, Noah’s story became a stupid hoax to many. But Noah continued working on the ark. Some who had joined him earlier on at work, started dropping out.

On this fateful day, things changed. Lightning stabbed the air, cracking the sky with unmistakable anger. The sky rumbled. Tree branches swerved and sang the sounds of sorrow. The cyclone arrived with its ferocity and wrath.

Soon the valleys and rivers flooded. Little everywhere else flooded. The villagers went into panic.

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Even Noah’s father-in-law, might have rushed to the ark, water level almost waist high, pleaded with Noah to exchange what was left of his lobola payment with his life. The desperate father-in-law must have asked Noah to keep whatever was left of the lobola payment, and allow him into the ark. But it was too late.

Back in the village, the story goes again, that even the younger sister to Noah’s wife, pleaded for mercy and offered to be a second wife. But it was too late.

It apparently turned out that it was too late for everyone who did not take heed.

In 2020, when it became apparent that coronavirus, known to cause Covid-19, was spreading all over the world and with the potential to kill people, the Government of Zimbabwe ordered a lockdown.

Many people doubted the Government’s sincerity. Many people did not share the same vision with the Government.

Political pundits, started saying it was a hoax meant to gag MDC-Alliance. It became a non-believer’s journey. Others totally dismissed Covid-19 as a hoax.

They painted the Government as cruel, unthinking, and insensitive.

Some even organised demonstrations, does the name Joana Mamombe ring a bell? Does the name Brian Nichols not ring a bell? Does MDC-Alliance not ring a louder bell?

Brian Nichols

Today, Covid-19 is with us. It has struck at the core of our livelihoods. It has stolen the lives of our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our friends and celebrities.

We are all in panic. We are all in fear. Our ear lobes are poised to hear who is next.

Like the story of Noah, it has become time up for many of our relatives and friends. Soon it could be us. On death bed there is no negotiation. We are desperate.

If we do not observe restrictions and regulations, our time will be up.

No matter how much money you have, no matter how much money you are owed and no matter how filthy rich you are, Covid-19 is real. You better play ball.

The Government is playing its part, let us also play our part.

HERALD