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Travel Zimbabwe December 2009 GIACOMO PIROZZI / PANOS PICTURES

This is Zimbabwe December 2009 Travel Zimbabwe eing Zimbabwean means different things to different people at different times. For me, as an urbanite born and bred in an African high- density township, it means being part of an old experience that feels strangely new - that of living in a country whose people are rediscovering themselves and basking in the limelight of a resurgent optimism. It means school days in cramped classrooms and playing silly games in the rain at break time. It means rediscovering those small pleasures most of us had almost forgotten because of the toxic fallout from an economy that had self- imploded. It means being part of weekend convoys laden with cooler boxes to places like Kwa Mereki, Kwa Zingoga, Adelaide Acres and other shrines of hedonistic over- indulgence. Our younger days were spent at these places, where we roasted chicken gizzards and T- bone steaks on smoky barbecues. Being Zimbabwean for me means waking up to the exultant sounds of birds and crickets submerged in the mists that shroud the sultry savannah scrublands of Glen Lorne, Umwinsidale, Shawasha Hills and Helensvale. It means Sunday morning cruises on Lake Chivero in my friend Hugh Kasoko's hi- tech speedboat, and trawling for bream on the placid waters of Darwendale Dam. It means taking my noisy nieces to the Lion and Cheetah Park, and watching them giggle at the antics of the monkeys or taking turns to scramble atop the 100- year- old tortoise that is the park's star attraction. Zimbabwe has had its share of political turmoil, but our political problems are slowly becoming a distant memory - like a wound that has begun to heal itself. In life, it is accepted that one always has to take the rough with the smooth. Hope springs eternal, and as my favourite Native American proverb goes - ??????????????? the soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears. Daniel Mandishona is an architect, graphic artist and writer. His short story anthology White Gods, Black Demons has just been published by Weaver Press. By Daniel Mandishona zimbabwean being