Friday Fictioneers – Mugabe’s Gone

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Mugabe's Gone 171122

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Historical fiction

Word count: 100

Mugabe’s Gone

The television booms in the background.

He’s gone. Mugabe’s gone.

I can’t believe it. My breath comes in gasps. My legs wobble as I stand.

I go to my little store room. There is the clock, exactly where I threw it at 11:15 on the evening of January 15th 1983. Shuddering, I feel for the photograph, hidden under some cloth.

Yes. Here it is. I hardly dare look.

My beautiful boy, my son, my Joshua.

“Don’t view the body,” they said. But how could I bury him without looking one last time?

Tears flood down my cheeks, my own Gukurahundi*.

      *       *       *

*According to Wikipedia, Gukurahundi is a Shona word which loosely translates as “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”. It was the term used by Robert Mugabe and his supporters for the purging of political opponents during the 1980s.

77 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Mugabe’s Gone

  1. It’s easy to shift the blame onto the dictators, but they would never have risen to power (let alone retained it) without the former colonial powers and the CIA. Imperialism in any form naturally spawns the worst sorts of evil. Good story.


    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading, and for your kind comment. The clutter of the cupboard made me think of something that had stopped time, an event that meant that the cupboard’s contents had never subsequently been touched. The clock just reinforced that impression.
      With best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Varad
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you found the tale beautiful. I feel that for some of those who lost loved ones to Mugabe’s reign of terror his resignation may come as some sort of catharsis. I hope so, anyway.
      With best wishes


  2. I wonder how many people have had these feelings over the last few days? The man was a despot, a murderer, heartlessly killing his own people, impoverishing his country. You wrote this so well, with such heartfelt words and small, telling details – the clock set at the time she found her son had died and the photograph under a cloth, to painful to have in plain view perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. You are exactly right about the photograph. She couldn’t bear to see it but she couldn’t bear not to have it, so she hid it.
      When we hear the television news talk of 10,000 of his political opponents being killed, this, though fiction, is the reality behind every one of those deaths.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Penny
        Of course it works, in your prose. I am struggling to understand the other stories this week, everything seems so… I don’t know. It is the first time in three weeks that I have attempted to comment on all the stories here as I did for twelve weeks or so when I first encountered FF. I feel out of my depth. But I shall continue, sink or swim. I hope my comments are helpful.
        With best wishes


    • Dear Yarnspinnerr,
      Thank you for reading, and for your lovely comment. I found ‘Gukurahundi’ when I was using Wikipedia to check my memory of the events. I couldn’t believe my luck! It was the perfect word to describe the mother’s tears, with the implication that they were the start of a process of cleansing and healing. I’m so glad you spotted that and approved.
      With best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bjorn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I fear you’re right; Zimbabwe may just have swopped one despot for another. Still, the news was a little more positive this evening. At least the new president is using the right words.
      With best wishes


  3. Interesting approach to a topical subject. “Gukurahundi” so much conveyed in one word.

    Smith’s rule was also colonialism in a different form. While Mugabe came to power in 1980 in a free and fair election, all later elections were a sham. As they say it was just inherited oppression under an indigenised façade. Lets now see how the crocodile smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I agree – Smith’s rule was pure colonialism. As with all colonialism, it has left a legacy which is prejudiced against the former colony.
      Unfortunately, while the 1980 election may have been ‘free and fair’, wasn’t it split largely along tribal lines? And it was very soon after the election – months rather than years – that the torture and murder of political opponents began.
      The sad fact is that those with a lust for power can cause so much suffering as they pursue it.
      With best wishes


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