“My Zimbabwean Pain” – Prof. Ambrose B. Chimbganda

via “My Zimbabwean Pain” by Prof. Ambrose B. Chimbganda January 5, 2014 at 11:41am

My pain is deep and cold.

It is so sharp and piercing

That it slices deep into my flesh.

Like a knife, a dagger or a spear,

It penetrates excruciatingly

Into my heart, your heart and soul.


My pain is locked in chains.

It is lodged and embedded

In sorrowful memories of the past.

It is the scar that runs deep into my flesh, your flesh,

The wound that painfully festers into cancer,

The pain that requires urgent healing.


My pain is over here,

It is over there,

It is everywhere.

My pain is the indelible memory

Of those languishing in exile,

Of comrades who died mysteriously,

Of ethnic genocidal cleansing,

Those slaughtered as dissidents;

Compatriots, whose throats were slit,

Whose heads were bludgeoned,

Fellow citizens who were victimized

By the victims of a power struggle.


Through my pain I see gaping skeletons

Hidden in deep, dark chasms

Yonder and beyond,

Of those eliminated,

And secretly cast away

Into abandoned mine shafts

And mass graves,

Where their bodies lie decomposed,

With their bones still intact, interred;

And in me and you,

Their spirit lingers on.


My pain runs deep into my veins,

It pricks like a thorn or a needle.

It is about my conscience, your conscience,

The nightmare of those dispossessed,

Ransacked, torched and debased

By thugs and pillagers in comrades’ skin,

Empowered by macabre forces,

Remote-controlling destruction,

And waiting like vultures

To devour the rotting carcass.


These are the victims,

The remnants of a settler race,

Whose cardinal sin is their whiteness,

Fugitives running away from their homes,

With smouldering feelings of resentment,

Harbouring hopes of a return,

They are permanently scarred

By the image of flames

And silhouettes of charred houses,

Where their lives had sprouted,

Expanded, grown and fed the multitudes.


My pain is deep and wide.

It is rooted in my resentment, your resentment.

It emanates from sadness, dejection, and despair,

The experience of the destruction of my urban home,

My pretty little house, your house

That stood firm and defiant in the township,

Courting marvel from passers-by,

The symbol of my urbanity,

My only children’s legacy.

Whop, it disappeared overnight!


The city fathers, the envoys of destruction

Dispatch the creaking bulldozer,

The undertaker of urban clean-up,

To wrestle down my house, your house,

On which my whole life depended.

Ruthless soldiers and cops,

Clad in shinning armour,

With AK 47s firm in their hands

Oversee the demolition of my house, your house.

And like the Berlin Wall,

It tumbles down in ruins and smoke,

Permanently sealing my pain, your pain.


My pain is the marriage of my country to corruption.

It runs deep into every aspect of my life, your life,

Spreading uncontrollably like influenza.

It infects the innocent with its harmful bacteria,

It has come with a sweet scent and song,

With an aura full of attraction,

The civil servant’s hands are soiled,

The teacher is perfumed,

The traffic cop is greased,

The taxi driver is tainted,

And my country can’t resist the temptation

Because those presiding over the rot

Fear transparency and accountability.


My pain, your pain is prolonged

By the dim prospect of redemption.

We couldn’t see the chicanery of the pied piper

Who promised milk and honey;

But brought corruption and decay.

We didn’t see in the eyes of the corrupt

That there is no love but evil.

Did we see the thieving machine

That pick-pocketed the election?

And in spite of our erudition,

Did we read the history of corruption?

That it put its lovers into misery!

My pain, your pain.


My pain, your pain,

The pain I carry,

The pain I feel,

Strikes like a lightning bolt.

It is about the unemployment of our youth,

The bleak future of my child, your child,

They are the harvest of betrayal,

Dumped and discarded,

They learn only to become alienated.

They are assaulted from every direction:

Starved, deprived, disempowered and discarded.

Their bottled-up anger is visible from afar,

And like a volcano emitting fire,

They will erupt one day, will they not?


My pain, your pain,

My pain is your pain,

My pain, the pain, the pain,

Sore and cutting pain.



Prof. Ambrose B. Chimbganda                   chimbga42@gmail.com


  • comment-avatar
    Havanyani 8 years ago

    We feel your pain too Professor. Ordinarily bad people will do bad things and good people will do good things; but it takes dogma and a reptilian brain for good people to do bad things.