Madhara at 52

11 03 2012

I was not too impressed the first time I was called madhara (old man in the Shona language). However, in Shona culture it is a term of respect for someone who has achieved old age, against the odds. Perhaps this originates in the not so distant past when getting to old age was not the norm. In the much more recent past Zimbabwe’s average life expectancy plunged below 40 years for both women and men but I see that now it is  back above 50 and ahead of such countries as South Africa but with a ranking of 214 in the world that is not a lot to crow about.

Not so long ago I was asked at a local supermarket if I was a senior citizen and therefore qualified for a discount. I feigned indignation and got a laugh. I recounted the story to friends and they thought I was silly not to take the opportunity, but there is only so far I will stoop. Then two weeks ago I was at the CD launch of a local group in town where Oliver Mutukudzi, Zimbabwe’s very own music superstar, was the guest of honour. He was introduced as Madara Oliver Mutukudzi and suddenly being “madhara” didn’t feel so bad. Though I should point out that my musical ability does not even approach his – I have yet to master the air-guitar. Mhdara at 52, yes I think I can live with that.



2 responses

11 03 2012

I’m the same age as you, give or take a month and I can tell you I got quite a shock when one of my pupils got confused and called me “granny”, but when I found out how old her mother was I got over it quite easily.

12 03 2012

I saw somewhere that the definition of old is someone who is 15 years older than oneself. I guess the problem comes when you don’t know anyone who qualifies!

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