Gone now are the dry, dull days of winter. Summer has sprung back into action and this evidence is not only apparent in the warmth, but also the blossoming foliage around us. Our capital City is truly a vibrant, colourful place to live. I just took it all in for a little longer than usual the other day on the school run and was amazed to notice some of the beautiful colours and dynamics of this city, which we wouldn’t see if we lived in a different capital city of the world.
Take the Jacaranda tree-lined Avenues as the first example. Most people are in awe of the lilac canopy that covers some of the roads right here in town, especially when you notice the stunning range of purple hues, both above and below you where a sprinkling of lilac also meets the dusty earth. Other dramatic red and hot pink bougainvillea’s and poinsettias are also dotted around the town, adding their piece to the overall scene. The once boring and dull brown and grey branches of all other trees are now bursting with vivid greens as they form full new leaves.
Then you may notice some of the colourful characters around too. Most shopping areas have more than their fair share of vendors selling anything and everything from boxes of fresh fruit, to bright pink feather dusters, loud patterned maids uniforms, or big bunches of bright colourful flowers. The men selling the wire frame beaded animals always stock an interesting display of dazzling crafts. Both my kids love playing with these, we have everything from a funky red crocodile to pink flamingo, guinea fowl, zebra, and red elephant. I think it’s pretty amazing that these are all made out of colourful little beads, by someone right here living and earning a living through this colourful little enterprise.
Even the fruit and veggie stalls, or should I say vehicles parked on the roadside piled high with fruit and veg, are abundant with colour as they stack their potatoes, onions, watermelons and squashes sky high. It’s almost contradictory to the faded tones of the old pick up trucks, complete with their dents, scratches and odd rusty patches.
If you live in Harare, then you are probably familiar with the guys at the intersection of Churchill and Borrowdale Rd. You can’t miss them as they all stand there with their loud, bright inflatable poolside toys, balls and flags. It’s a wonder how they don’t float away as they honestly have a ridiculous number of things to show you. I guess when you can hold everything by string, and there is no weight to it, it makes it easier to have so many. Although my partner and I have a theory about these guys, that makes them a little combination of bold and shady at the same time. But this is a whole new blog one day so if you are interested in our silly conspiracy theory let me know and I will definitely write about it soon. However as many shady character there are out there, there are also the seemingly angelic too.
Maybe your mind doesn’t automatically conjure up images of bright colours when I speak of the next lady, but she is a colourful character so despite the all white attire she adds plenty of colour to our city. From what I have seen, heard and experienced first hand she is as one lady put it “wired to the moon”. These days you can see her positioned at the Chisipite roundabout, although she always used to catch me by Borrowdale School. She always wears white clothing, sometimes it’s a transparent nightie, sometimes it’s something that wouldn’t look out of place at one of the famous all white parties in Ibiza, but my guess is she is a couple of decades too old for this scene anyway. With ivy and pearls wrapped into her hair she is the epitome of odd. She has been known to diagnose issues, like children that have radiation damage, meanwhile they have just been collected from sports, or she tries to sell strange little cakes and goodies at ludicrous prices. Just another inhabitant of our colourful city, or a colourful inhabitant in our city?
If you venture further into town, you will really get a feel for this vibrant burst of colour I am talking about, it’s always going on right in Mbare. One of the first things that greets you and makes you take notice are the collection of murals that Dutch graffiti artists Roy Valk and Oilivier Schimmel have painted on the side of buildings and blocks of flats. Even the residents of one of the city’s poorest communities can enjoy art and colour as they go about their day.
You will also find rows of baskets filled with lemons, nuts, sweet potatoes, and virtually everything and anything else in Mbare food market in itself. Big warm smiles also greet you from most of the vendors or stall owners and all are quick to try get your attention and start offering you the best deals.
So if you truly want to appreciate where you live and all that is around you, maybe sometimes you do have to look through the world through some rose or other colour tinted glasses and take it all in. Sure there are a lot of things you can view with a critical eye around any capital city too, especially ours, but it’s enlightening and interesting to just see the beauty of it all once in a while.
With special thanks to Lesanne Photography for her beautiful images of Mbare. To more more of Lesanne’s amazing work have a look at http://www.lesannephotography.com
And also thanks to Melany Caruthers for the very cool Jacaranda pics.