Last Wednesday, 23 July 20003, I had an interview with one of the MTCP participants from Zimbabwe. We started our conversation at 9.21 pm. The conversation took about 2 hours to finish and it was held at 7th Block where all the participants reside.
Firstly, I did some ice-breaking session with him. I introduced myself to him and after telling him the reasons why I need to interview him, he started to introduce himself. His name is Mr. Bernard , and his surname is Sitete. He came from Zimbabwe, South Africa. He work as an English lecturer at Nyadire Teachers College, Zimbabwe. He was married with one wife and two children. His wife work as a teacher at one of the secondary schools there.
Zimbabwe has two ethnic group. The majority ethnic is Shona which consist 80% of the population. The other ethnic group is Ndebele which came from South Africa to Zimbabwe. Their official language is Shona , but there are some dialect that were used by people in certain area. Their official religion is Christian, but they prefer to use their own religion called Traditional African Religion.
Traditional African Religion is quit the same with Christian. But, there are certain parts that show the major different with Christian. For Christian, they believe in Jesus Christ but for Traditional African Religion, they do not use Jesus Christ asking for something and to get to god . They use their own ancestors to ask for and to get to god. The religion belief in one god. For them to get to god, they must go through their ancestors. In their society, ancestors play big roles. To get through their ancestors, they have to do some ceremony as their way of praying. In the ceremony, they have to do hand-in-hand beer (made from traditional crops) drinking, dancing with certain steps, play drums, and so on. This ceremony was done to ensure their continuous contact with their ancestors.
They do have their traditional costumes called Nhembe. They wear head dress, like a hat which made with feather and animal skins. Their body clothing was made with animal skins such as leopard, lion, tiger, cheetah, and so on. They do not wear any shoes. But now, they only use the traditional costumes when doing some traditional dance, festivals and ceremony. Nowadays, they use modern clothing like T-shirt, Jeans and so on.
They also have their own taboos. They can’t have sex with their own mother, daughter, sister and anybody who have blood relationship. They also cannot beat their parents at all. If they do so, when their parents died, their soul will haunt them until all of their family died. The same case happened when they killed any human. It is because, they believe that when one person died, their soul will stay alive and will haunt the person who killed him or her. They also must respect the graves. They cannot show finger to the grave cause it will cause the soul of the graves will get angry and they will be cursed. They cannot marry in October cause this is the ‘dead month’. If they get married in this month, their marriage will not last and they will get misfortune. They also cannot have a bath in certain area where they believed that there are mermaids. The mermaids will take the persons.
He also told me about the marriage customs. When they turned to 13 years old, they reach their maturity. So, they can get married. The woman has to go to the man’s family to ask them to propose her. After that, the man’s family will propose the woman and do some agreements about the marriage and also the Lobola ; also known as Dowry.
The lobola can be some cash money or goats or sheep or anything else that was agreed by both families. The reasons of marriage are to connect two families. So, they do not mind if they cannot pay much for the lobola. The man also can borrow from the woman. But after marriage, the man has to pay the debt. If the debt cannot be paid until his wife die, the corpse cannot be buried. So he has to pay the debt first. In the society, they were allowed to polygamy, but the law banned polygamy. They have to register their marriage at the court but they also can get married traditionally.
As in other ethnic culture, they also have their festivals. As a Christian follower, the celebrate Easter and Christmas. Their way of celebration is the same with any other place in the world. They also have their Rain Making Ceremony to ask for rain. They must do a dance to ask for the rain with their ancestors. They also have their own kind of Harvest Celebration. The celebration must be done in the kitchen. It symbolized their grateful to their ancestors for giving good harvest to them.
Their traditional food is Sadza. Sadza is a maize meal. It cooked like porridge until it become quite thick. They eat Sadza with some curry and so on. They also eat rice. But they eat it in special occasions such as wedding, birthday and so on.
Lastly, he told me that he like Malaysia. Malaysia is a nice country . It is very clean with many interesting buildings such as Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Telekom Tower and many more. This country also has many places of interest. For him, the weather here is too hot, but he likes it.
The conversation ended after two hours. Before I left, we shared our address in order to keep in touch with him.