Saturday Lounge Reflections
HE was a village genius who took the world by storm and dictated the pace in life and in death.
No one can claim that he was among the most educated, but he mastered and perfected the art of making money, mastered and perfected the art of chewing the money and indeed mastered and perfected the art of making everyone who cared, know that he was chopping the money.
Again no one disputes that he kept the source of his money a closely guarded secret, for, in Zimbabwe once people know where you are making your money, everyone invests in that; does anyone remember the Zvihuta craze?
He lived in the fast lane and died in the fast lane. He lived in limelight and indeed died in the limelight, setting all forms of media agog, with theories, truths, half-truths and lies, and, at times in extremities.
When Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure died in a car crash on Sunday morning, one thing that struck my mind was that a real villager was gone.
Ginimbi liked surrounding himself with good friends and beautiful women, and indeed he died with some of them. In most cases, am told, the women were not his lovers, but mere friends. Good friends!
Of course, some good friends come with extra benefits, for, back in the village, we say a tethered goat feeds within the radius of its leash.
Ginimbi was a villager, who invested heavily in his village in Domboshava and lived there. He would only silage towns for business, money and partying, then return to the village.
He travelled to many parts of the world as he wished, but still returned to the village. Yes, the village.
From the airport he would go home to his village. In fact, it might not be coincidental that he met with his death while driving back to his village, that wee hour as dawn gave way to daylight.
Suffice to say, Ginimbi, had the means and would have built that mansion in any plush suburb of Harare, but he chose his village.
Do village elders with cotton tuft hair not say, once a villager, always a villager?
Ginimbi electrified his village and carried the power bills for everyone. He helped many in his village and indeed Domboshava is mourning. Domboshava is bereaved. This is no mean feat. Many of us have failed to do so.
Like or hate him, Ginimbi, lived his life to the fullest. He made his money, whichever way, and he used it as he wished. He was unapologetic and not a hypocrite.
Everyone knows he was a party animal, and indeed he went on a multifarious array of binges, locally, regionally and internationally, with colourful plumages of men and women in tow and it is not surprising that he died with some of his hangers-on.
Ginimbi was a villager with swag and style. To many in the village he was an inspiration who helped many people develop and enjoy life.
To many of his legion of followers, Ginimbi was a perplexity, an unorthodox movement and a mobile amusement park.
Whenever he passed by in his colourful regalia and with any of his fancy cars, heads turned. Whenever he posted his pictures and video clips on social media, eyes rolled and tongues waged. That was him. That was Ginimbi.
Indeed, when he died, the world went agog. He lived his life and the rest followed him in amusement. The lucky one joined his movement and became entangled in his intricate network of booze, partying and business.
I never met Ginimbi in person and never wished to, but one thing that struck me was his idea of turning his village into the place to be, for all and sundry.
To my ancestors be the glory, for allowing me time and strength to write about a man whose idea was to transform the village into a habitable place.
He did it so well, that the so-called swag brigade urbanites left town to visit his village and even stay there months on end.
The paradox being, some of those who spent months on end at Ginimbi’s mansion detested their villages of origin, but found comfort at Ginimbi’s village. He was a magnet.
I know many people want me to ward into the murky waters of how he got his money and where got it, but that is not the purview of this instalment. This is about Ginimbi the villager and not how he got his money.
In the end, the money was his and he used it, how he felt necessary. Instead of dwelling on that aspect, the lessons learnt from his life are more important.
As people mourn Ginimbi, the question of what he changed over time, what he leaves behind, what he washed away, what he altered, what he left behind and what still holds firm in our memories is the central occupation of what we have learnt from his life.
Farewell the village genius. Time, they say, is a great teacher.
Ginimbi made the autochthons of Domboshava proud by investing there.
To call people autochthons, literary meaning those who came out of the ground, sounds village lingua franca, but implies that they are thought by themselves and others to have a special intimacy with the territory they occupy because they are thought to be the earliest to have lived there.
This villager uses the clumsy word autochthon for want of a clearer term that conveys the partly mythical, partly historical, partly attitudinal references that it contains when handling national matters in Zimbabwe.
To many villagers, Ginimbi represented black people who broke the colonial mentality that only white people can be rich and live flamboyant lifestyles.
Given the way colonialism came and how the whites continue to try and keep black in the lower echelons of power.
Colonialism came in several waves, imposing itself on our people, who had their original political ideas, economic innovations and cultural idiosyncrasies, and sought to establish a new system in which the black person was a subservient animal, used by the whites to promote their hegemony on the country’s natural resources.
When the wave came, it rolled over African humanism, its contents contaminating and corroding the existing social, political and economic fabric and indeed establishing white supremacy, which only real black men and women started challenging, at the expense of their limbs and lives.
Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, was the terrain upon which the colonial waves had wash, swash and backwash effects.
People like Ginimbi fought to force some of the waves to roll back, made more money than the whites and made it a point for them to see that he had the money.
He was indeed a village Genius.