More violent and distressing news yesterday evening about a cousin, an IT specilist from Penhalonga, arrested, beaten up and tortured. Later released, no charges, with severe kidney bruising. Others around Mutare and Odzi beaten up, clubbed and locked in overcrowded cells without water in the heat, for hours. The opposition has beaten Mugabe’s Zanu-PF but there needs to be a run-off, accompanied by increased intimidation.
Living in southern Africa. The quiet stony hills and mountain ranges, the flood plains and lowveld and savannah, the grasslands, thorn trees and deltas, and rainforest. Human settlements, the scourge of terror and fear like a current leaping across the bushveld.
I could not sleep and lay awake last night with Thomas Bernhard, thinking about Amstetten that was once a women’s concentration camp under National Socialism. Frantz Fritzl’s boarding house scarcely a 90 minute drive from the house where Adolf Hitler grew up. Coincidence.
Natalie Kampusch, held in an Austrian cellar for 10 years, says under National Socialism, there was no respect for women. Naming a connection. I read Thomas Bernhard and think about how we drug ourselves with social pleasantries and pieties and the refusl to look, the stunted apathetic neighbourliness and nul curiosity. An Austrian woman lawyer went crazy and shut up her children in a dark cellar for seven years.
Life on life’s terms.
Turtle doves loud when I woke, the neighbour’ border collies brking for their work. I have been dreaming up the life of a young woman, an ex-dancer who met a man outside his gate in a narrow drk street where he knelt before the gravestone of one of his children. Her women firnds believed she had beeb abducted like Presephone, but there was nothing they could do. A slideshow of her marriages, two marraiges with joys and homemaking, the deaths of children, a slow extingushing of self. A women hurrying past each day on a dark street, her hair caught up, face averted, living out the choices and embracing regret like a friend.
A vision needed, a glimpse of the sacred eland, women circle-dancing in a meadow, a single blue gential flowing near a flinty half-hidden rock. Possibilities and the impossibility of chooosing.
Practically, a wheelchair-bound friend is not well and I am busy making her Elizabeth David’s chicken soup, delicious and wholesome. Cutting up celery, grating sweet carrots, slicing leeks, picking a bay leaf or two. Decanting stock. Putting in chicken thighs and a glass of dry white wine. Letting it all simmer together — then I shall add potato. Weak sunlight like pale lemons tumbled into the kitchen. The dog following me around. The fragrance of chicken soup filling the house. Practical love matters.