This and that. Hungry for scud and other stories


🔴 Scud: our traditional ‘food and drink’ beer.

Fifteen young and middle aged men are in the Kudenga rural store. The proprietor has put in a free-to-play pool table because there’s little else to do around here and no money to do it with.

One player says they are all “hungry for scud.” Scud is our brown plastic mini barrel of traditional opaque sorghum-maize beer nicknamed  after the ballistic missiles Saddam Hussein first threw at Israel and used in the Kuwait/Gulf War 1 back in 1992.

Our scud  costs $1 for 2 litres and the nutritional beer is milky in colour,  sometimes lumpy and always odorous and biting of flavour. It ferments in the container – and the stomach – and settles down to about 3.5 percent alcohol content 72 hours after preparation. Lager is known here as “clear beer.”

Seven of the pool players are unemployed farm workers. They say they sit around Kudenga store for several hours a day, one or two more sit under a tree across the road. They grow basic food outside their shacks.

‘Hungry for scud’ says two will do for them to share. Scud is like manna from heaven. Four litres of manna from heaven for $2.

🔴 Kudenga store is in a once prosperous farming area on the back road to Hwedza past Chitungwiza and Epworth. The narrow tar strip is crumbling away – as are the manners of drivers. It was once common practice to move over so approaching traffic can comfortably get by. But it’s a game of chicken now. The oncoming kombi taxis and big 4X4s won’t give way, forcing others to swerve into the dirt. In times of dog eat dog, ordinary courtesies on country roads have gone to the dogs.

🔴 Saddam’s scuds were once claimed to have had chemical warheads that could fry the brain.

From Mutoko Madness by Angus Shaw, page 15:

“That week, a hyena tore off the face and plucked out the throat of a man who had collapsed comatose on the long walk home from a beer-drink in his chief’s village. The traditional beer still fermented inside him. He wasn’t drunk when he set out for home. Tear off your face, that’s what hyenas do, if you let them.”

🔴 If you can’t buy it, steal it.

Down in the south of the country last week, the defendant told the court “we are not employed and there is nothing much to do except turn to beer drinking.”

Amid the economic crisis, it is “the only source of comfort” for those who have been dismissed, retrenched or couldn’t find jobs in the first place. “If people don’t offer you a drink, the last resort is to steal,” he said.

He was convicted of breaking into a store and taking $112 worth of beer which he and friends drank at a night club until morning. He was caught with the few bottles that were left.

🔴  The West meddling with our weather?

Mr Mugabe’s former education minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu has a new twist on the West causing another year of failed harvests.

“The West says we have failed. We have not; we are saying to them bring the weather patterns to order and we will produce and even export to those countries,” he told a political meeting.

Ndlovu, who was also an erudite information minister for a while, couldn’t possibly be referring to rainfall patterns sabotaged by the West under its sanctions regime, could he? Surely he was simply talking about global climate change? And what about our big buddy China and the other major world polluters?

🔴 Fear of flying these days.

The airline crew arrive at Harare airport and go through to take charge of their flight. I am asked: “Do you think any of them look depressed or suicidal?”

🔴  This is how we advertised scud way back, when there was more money about. The store has run out and he listens to the road outside for the rumble of a  beer delivery truck.




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