It is that time of the year when the party songs have given way to soulful(or even sorrowful) music as many big spenders now spend whole days regretting their Santabulous generosity during the festive season.
The Ke December boss slogan that was thrown around with reckless abandon last month has died down, the days appear longer for many courtesy of the January disease. The seasonal ailment has gripped many and the micro-finance guys, loan sharks or omatshonisa if you like, are smiling all the way(wait a minute, do they bank) to their closets to count their rich pickings.
I do not know much about money transfer systems and all the latest innovations regarding your banking and payment systems. However, seated by my corner at my favourite bar, I have seen wallets thinning over the festive season and people’s tastes of the wise waters change as the days went by. From the imported lagers, to the spirits and now the opaque beer, at least for those friends that I can still trace since some have gone underground. And my mother’s daughter-in-law dares to remind me that there is school fees to be paid and that our child’s uniform has grown smaller( or him grown bigger, something like that). I quickly remonstrate with her for over feeding the children with all sorts. “During our days, we would wear the same uniform for three years, and you tell me these kids cannot do the same. They cannot change uniforms after every two terms, never.” I believe this is a familiar tone, our wives are no longer darlings that they were when we were spending money last month, but they have become ‘that woman’ or as I prefer to call my spouse, ‘my mother’s daughter-in-law’!
Back to the money transfer, I noted with trepidation the loads of money that people literally danced away at Kalawa and all the other big parties around the city. I hear Bulawayo broke some records by hounding a certain potent brew out of all the bars( an into its belly, of course). So there is no prize for guessing where all that money that I spotted while dancing at shows and from my favourite spot by the corner at my usual joint went. I have also adjusted my diet and offals(both beef and chicken) and vegies now feature prominently! Many expected a softer landing this January, what with the delayed salaries for most civil servants. My limited investigations have since shown me that the same civil servants could not postpone Christmas and New Year festivities, meaning this time around Matshonisa got a surprise visit well before Xmas and expects his first payment this month. How seasons change! The El Nino phenomenon has apparently visited even our financial enclaves where it is wreaking havoc. Smiles are hard to come by in many households.
For those that did not borrow money for Xmas but stoically endured the noises from next door and the scent from the neighbourhood, it is time to charge a little interest on those soft loans to friends. Of course it is not legal, but it has become quite normal to turn to such bridging finance. For the working lot, some are already feeling someone has moved their monthend because month-end has never seemed so far. The number of yawns as one looks at the calendar can almost equal the number of finger snaps last December as one danced to ‘problems Disappear’. I hope crafty Zimbos actually bought that hit song so that the self-proclaimed president’s problems can disappear for real this January. Still on music, I hope Magwaza of the Kokotsha fame made quite a fortune from his hit. Maybe I looked in the wrong places but I could not find my favourite tune to entertain my friends at the growth point.. my old Kanindo collection and the best of Matavire came to my rescue though. Do we still have record bars, I wonder. If we have them, may they please play gospel and deep meditative sounds to soothe the broke into the New Year. I am not participating in the resolutions craze, I am sapped. I will just sip my water by my usual corner and listen to long tales as buddies try to get a beer off me.. January!