by Innocent Mwatsikesimbe
Copyright © Innocent Mwatsikesimbe, 2012. Smashwords Edition.
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Photo credit: Mike Thorn (SilentFury - stock.xchng)
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I dedicate this to I2, a very present help when needed.
If I am to be asked what I think was the most distressing and somber experience I've ever endured in my life, I would say 'Life in 2008'. Simply because living through the year of 2008 was, to me and many other Zimbabwean citizens, extremely difficult and I encountered situations I had never thought possible to come my way.
That year taught me a life-concept that I like to call 'Letting Go'. Letting go of all the expectations I had about my life and just living it the way I could at the time. It was like a survival technique in which mental strain was eliminated, allowing me to enjoy life in the present. Inversely though, a couple of years back—when I was much younger—I often dreamt up grandiose plans for the future and built many castles in the air. But life caught up with me, and reason crept into my mind. All those grand plans were replaced by more sober and humble plans that considered reality.
In 2008, I rarely thought about my future, because I was constantly reminded on every day just how unpredictable and uncertain my future was; and how it was one of the many imponderables that were becoming more noticeable in my life. Trying to figure it out was such a mental burden that it was like wrapping myself in a wet and cold blanket in winter—exacerbation.
As I write this memoir I feel lucky and blessed to have survived an ordeal I consider to be the worst of the worst, and I'm looking forward to even better days.
Now, even though the whole world was talking about it, I was still too young to understand what was being said; and to know what to expect. Zimbabwe, in its tenth year of recession, had extremely high monetary inflation. It set a record, being the first country to hyperinflate in the 21st century, and it earned second place in the world hyperinflation record books (first place belongs to Hungary); bringing much suffering to its inhabitants and destroying economic activity on a national level.