Arthor’s childhood photo
“The photographer took my childhood photo in the rural area of Chihota at our family house, where I was born. The village is a few kilometres away from the capital city, Harare. Around the 1990s, photographers would pass by the villages taking photographs, mainly on Thursdays because that’s when most people could rest and not indulge in any farming activities. They were few people who could afford to buy cameras, which was way back when people didn’t have phones with cameras.”
“Chisi [sacred day of rest] is practised on China, and the Shona people observe it. China is the native Shona name for Thursday. Shona is the name of my tribe. People believe that it is taboo to work in the fields on such a day. The Chisi practice is a law enforced or was designed to allow rural dwellers to rest and only focus on the household chores.
My mother’s young sister, my aunt, has the original photo, and she is the one who gave me the picture through WhatsApp […] in the year 2016. I was lucky that a certain Galway-based photographer had a project to recreate old photos, and he edited and printed the photo for me; that’s when I managed to get a hardcopy of the picture nicely done.
The picture connects me with my mother; considering that she could work hard on her farm and buy a boys’ suit for me, I am humbled by that. I am still a smart person, and I like to dress up well. I have a gentle character, which was instilled in me by my mother’s parenting style. I still have the same manner; I always put my hands in the pockets like in the picture. I realised that I started loving to put my hands in the pockets since childhood. By just seeing the photo, I always remember what was happening those days. The picture brings back the funniest childhood memories; for example, the photographers’ camera used to have a strong flashlight when capturing photographs and I used to be scared a lot when I was a child.
I respect my mother for all her hard work. The background of a picture shows my mother’s garden. My mother is a hardworking entrepreneur and a smallholder farmer for years in Zimbabwe. My mother supplies horticultural produce in the capital city’s big market Mbare Musika Market and Lusaka Highfields Market, including tomatoes, cabbages, covo, rape and green peppers. The photo amazes me with my mother’s hardworking because she generates sufficient income for her family through farming.
That is the only childhood photo I have with me. I keep the photo in a frame, and when people enter my house, that’s the only photo they will see.”