With the COVID-19 lockdown still going on, our busy lifestyles have taken a back seat and Zimbabwe is slowly integrating. We have been stuck at home for over a month now. Unless you live on an estate somewhere in Mash-East or the Green Roof burbs’ burb, everyone has to have a neighbour and you have already determined who are your best and worst neighbours.
To help you communicate them better, ENTHUSE assembled a panel of researchers, academics and the idle women who always win the argument at the beauty salon (but are pessimistically stuck at home now because of Miss ‘Rona) to rank them. After much parley, a few intense altercations and one incident when Amai Jordan pulled a serrated table knife and threatened to cut another panellist, Sis Shamie for calling the baby-momma syndrome overrated, we now present our ranking of the greatest and worst neighbours we have noticed.
14. The Problem Creators: These neighbours are just too finicky about everything you do from moving a chair at your home to having a party at your home- every single thing of your action bothers them. They are the ones who are unhappy about everything about their neighbourhood and would constantly keep bickering. The city cleaners, the water flow, the air pollution, the tree stretching out to their back yard…you name all of it.
13. The Harunas: Loud neighbour and they are all pretty puzzling. Is it’s a lady, she is always yelling whether it is on the phone or at her boyfriend. She needs a serious chill pill, and you can’t figure out why she doesn’t think she’s disturbing anyone let alone why she isn’t worried that everyone is eavesdropping on her drama. If it’s a guy, he somehow creates the most bizarre sounds in the apartment upstairs from you. Like you know it’s just one normal-sized person but it sounds like a herd of tap-dancing elephants are dragging around soggy couches all night. In fact, it’s so weird that you’ve wondered if something illegal or creepy is going on up there even though that makes you feel like a paranoid weirdo because you know it can’t be. But what are they doing up there?!
12. The Conspiracist & Politically Woke – I bet there is always that neighbour who come and sit on the porch with you at night telling stories about how they are pissed off at the government and is always strategising on freedom and resistance. I have not taken a formal survey, but I am going to pronounce this as the “wokest” neighbourhood ever. They will explain to you about all the theories and conspiracies about coronavirus, 5Gs, New World Order models in the only way the Vigilant Citizen can articulate. If they don’t drink or don’t vote, chances are that they are Adventists.
11. The Peeping & Snoopy Tindos: Don’t we know that one person who is looking at us through their window? These people are the ones who seem to be interested in every nitty-gritty of what we do in our house. They seem to receive an alert, the minute we step out of our houses. They keep track of everyone who comes to your house and also have updates on everything you do. They wouldn’t come and talk to you directly but want to keep a tab on everything.
10. The Cde Kumbirai Kangai: It’s a pleasant Saturday morning and you hear somebody knocking at your door. Surprise! The same neighbours who keep asking you for something or the other are here again asking you for a cup of sugar or a Kombi fare. They will hit you with the, “Sorry, I will reimburse you with Ecocash”. These are the neighbours who make complete utilization of the word “help” and would constantly keep borrowing things from you. If you have these type of neighbours, consider adding a separate list in your monthly groceries called “Neighbours list”!
9. The Copy Cats/The Me Toos: If you are noticing a pattern of your neighbours having the same things you possess from quite some time now, then you can rule out the option of it being a sheer coincidence – it’s called copying. These are the type of neighbours who have no clue about what they want to buy and would just end up buying/doing the same set of things that you do, just to fit in. They would scan everything in your home if invited for a chat and there you go a replica of it would be in theirs too.
8. The Crackheaded Dealer: That homie who always have cheap electronic goods to sell at 3 a.m. He sells anything and I bet one out of 3 households can admit that they have bought something from him without asking where they got it from.
7. The One Who Cooks Weird Food: There is always a neighbour around who seems to be cooking some really intense-smelling food. This sort of makes sense around dinnertime since dinners tend to be a little more elaborate, but for some reason, this neighbour seems to pull out all the stops and cook some giant meals at odd times during the day like say 10 am. There you are doing your running exercise and something serious is going down in the kitchen of unit 105 making you all kinds of hungry/and or appalled. You never actually get a glimpse of this neighbour since they seem to spend most of their time cooking, so you don’t know how you feel about them otherwise.
6 The Weed Man: Pot is a dirty word, and it is so tightly controlled. A single joint could land a smoker behind the bars. Stoners know that sometimes marijuana is so hard to find in the neighbourhoods that regular smokers need to know someone, usually a guy with connections to the right people. A reliable pot dealer is worth his weight in gold and his phone number beyond top secret. No, not the gang-affiliated dealer whose skirmishes with rivals have driven much of the violence that has given your hood a national reputation. I’m talking about the random dweller discreetly selling little baggies. The college student selling “dubs”, or the short-order cook selling “sticky green” to pay his rent. Or the factory worker selling “loud” (potent, aromatic strains of weed). Or even the grandmother supplementing her fixed income.
5. The Fine-ass Neighbor: Whether you are male or female, we’ve all had a neighbour who is so fine, but a little too old, good-looking and out of our league. Sometimes we even call them “kamother or kamface kepa next door!” Maybe it’s your friend’s older sister. Maybe the captain of the football team lived next door to you. The worst part of it is–in your head–that neighbour will always be fine as hell to you. Never ruin that dream. At some cases, if it’s a woman, she is basically a combination of a fine-ass neighbour and a “mother,” who is always at your house, talking with your mama, borrowing two eggs.
4. Amai & Baba Chisamba: There is an old lady or man who is always good for some candy or mint. She is called Moms or Gogo, and he’s called Uncle or Sekuru, here and there, they will remind you that it’s time to “settle down”. No one really knows how old they are, but they are endowed with universal whipping privileges. I believe the problem with Zimbabwe and new Africa and those pants-dropping and boobs-hanging, scantily-dressed young people in general, is that there are fewer Sekurus or Gogos around with the respect and parentally-authorized beating rights to keep kids straight. You know what they say: “It takes a village to raise a child, and a ‘gogo/sekuru” to whip kids.”
3. The Cool Kid: If you live in an apartment building, you may or may not see a lot of families around, but there always seems to be at least one cool kid hanging around the building. Sometimes you can manage to have a conversation with them but mostly they’re so busy skateboarding and growing their social media status that they don’t even have time to talk to socially.
2. Solo & Mutsai: The perfect young couple with a hot, sweaty relationship who are so good together. They may or may not have kids. If they do, their kid is always in the stroller or the backseat of their car. They have a relationship close to perfect and they don’t necessarily associate with other folks around beyond the morning, afternoon and evening greetings.
1. Biko: Oftentimes our friendships are not based on mutual interests or personality types–they are mostly based on proximity. We’ve all have playmates, buddies and lifelong friendships built from relationships we made growing up in the same neighbourhood. And Biko (no relations to Steve) is the greatest homeboy ever. The thing about male friendships is that they are unbreakable and unshakeable. A real friend will roll with you through thick and thin, even if you plan on doing something stupid like sitting in the yard smoking weed all day, or–even stupider. Biko is always down for you, even when he is roasting you for having peanut butter with no jelly and ham with no burger. That is a real homeboy. Unfiltered truth and loyalty.
Special mentions go to the babysitting neighbours, the young problematic couples that always fights and the holier-than-thou religious neighbours.