By Mafuka E.R, Matusadona Nat Park
The Matusadona atmosphere, simply, had been unpredictably handsome – crispy with blue skies and at easy. Good days in the intensive Protection Zone (I.P.Z) slowly pronounced themselves with long walks and blue fires from very old portable gas cookers and punctuated by funny evenings. And sometimes “other” nights that were vigilant hearts.who could ask were God was when all this prevailed in silence. Memories could sail me slowly into solitary thoughts.
I am focused on a Zimbabwean National Park.
To my behaved kids:
Shanna Zanele and Paul Jabulani,
My kids, my darlings… I will not like it when you two just one day leave your mom and me alone. We will feel bad.
I had Shanna Zanele, my first baby girl then Jabulani – I was the best daddy than a lot of men I had known. You and your good mother, Chipo Namasau, saved me from that loneliness.we were a strong unit, the four of us who brought laughter (the best medicine) in that old parks cottage. We were comfortable there without lights and tap running water. You have had chances that I didn’t have from Manuel Giyayi, my father, – toys, nice local outfits and sweets. I have a common sense to realize.
As little as you are, I always talk about how much I love you….even when I am resting under a Msasa tree after a long patrol in Matusadona.
When you do wrong, although making me cross, I would teach you, explain and forgive you. I married Chipo your only kind mother when she was 20 and I was 6 years older. We were not rich, but comfortable with the little that we gathered and secure in the knowledge that “this” Tashinga Initiatives, would make our life in the wilderness enjoyable.
As I write to you my darlings, I don’t want you to stand at my grave and weep when I die in one of the future days. Of course, this is not my final straw but if my “writings” are downloaded, copied, pasted and saved in your computers, you will read this and know the things I want you to know.
No one wants to die, I am not even ready. Am I done? I don’t want to leave you alone, I haven’t accomplished my part as a loving daddy.
You have grown in an area liked by everyone. With lots of friends stretching out their hands to help. An area of everything: tsetse flies, hot suns, beautiful Lake Kariba, elephants, Rhinoceros’s, buffalo, Naja massambicas, lions, clouds changing shapes and trees. You are amazing!
I will always love you.
I see life seeming to be impossible but I could have loved you better Jabu. You have been very close to me in so many ways. Zah, when you were born, you made me realize the magic of a loving mother and father for you our first-born. Slowly as you grew, I have thought you never to cross moral boundaries and made you accept the reality that God made us capable of obtaining from evil deeds.
My kids, God expects from us maximum responsibility on our waters, mountains, rivers, wild animals, our clean air and also to love one another for everlasting life in return. Zah and Jabu this advise must not be a missed opportunity. I have been the man your mom loved and I brought security, freedom and hope into the three of you.
You have grown in National Parks. I have changed your life slowly with all this from the wages from National Parks. The animals must peacefully survive and when you are grown up you must do your part and save them from danger.
The noise of the landing helicopter made me realize that I had not written any letter to my kids Zanele and Jabulani. The situation never accommodated constant barrage questionings like Zanele does at the age of four. How how high was the answer when asked to jump.
I quote: “im not comfortable sitting and watching a species become extinct during our watch. We must be responsible – the world is changing but we’re changing it ”- Ian Craig in the TELEGRAPH MAGAZINE. (RHINO WATCH): An article I got to read from Lynne Taylor. Craig was born in Kenya but went to school in England. A professional hunter I went through the touching article reading it as if Craig seemed to say what was needed was “
Well paid, well – motivated, well – resourced, well led protection of wildlife.”
The helicopter set off the undisturbed soils of Kemurara due Ume, the boundary river where foot prints had been seen by Chief Nebiri Villagers who had alerted our new Area Manager, Mike Jonasi who was driving into the park from a Campfire meeting.
Four barefoot spoors of prospective gold panners. We are now equipped with the right tools. I thank Pete Clemence and Bryce grade A instructors, in the aggressive tracking techniques course I went through recently. The Tashinga Initiative was putting a balanced diet on the empty table. Even to the work of the author of this article. No time was wasted in tracking poachers to bring them to justice.
As I write to the world, Matusadona is tightly protected. The park rangers are happy with the income, well trained, well motivated with a well focused manager in respect to protection of wildlife, in these natural communities, BUT, needs to be well funded. Funds are needed.
The school is eyed by wishes of the Tashinga Initiative. On 1 December 2012, my daughter Shanna Zanele, will be graduating from Zero grade. She has been attending a pre – school that overlooks Tashinga Springs.
Impalas come and graze in the chools playgrounds. The animals are social and respect these young future Park Managers. Matusadona is gaining its state as a well-balanced ecosystem.
May the following friends in wildlife management be saluted.
Some passed away.
Mutare Bope (R.I.P), Givemore Masenda (R.I.P), Sgt Agripa Nhamo (R.I.P), Dr Moris Zororai Mtsambiwa, Edmund Kapyola (R.I.P), Warden Mafu (R.I.P) Mr Jakopo the pilot (R.I.P), Simuguga Wankie (R.I.P), Benard Zunza (R.I.P),
Rupert Fothergill (R.I.P), Biggie Naibe (R.I.P), Felix Chimeramombe and etcetera. They watered the hard soils of the Gwembe valley with their sweat tracking footprints to safeguard the Park estates.
Hey you child abuser
Why do you abuse us?
Stop abusing us
We are the future leaders
Zanele Mafuka is my name.
NB: A poem to be recited on the 01 of December 2012 by Shanna Zanele Mafuka on
her graduation, at Tashinga Pre- School. A school also being assisted by the Tashinga initiative and Lynne Taylor.