The Rebirth

‘There is a shadow that follows me everywhere. It creeps on me when I am not looking. Could that be me? Am I a two-spirited person or I am cursed? That’s just my beliefs playing tricks on me. I am Dexter Chapungu. I know who I am”

Dexter grew up in the rural community of Makoni, in a village called Amberwell. He went to a local school called Dope for his secondary school, today if you were to search the school system for his records you will not find them.  Your mind might already be in overdrive, wondering what exactly happened. Maybe your sixth sense is already telling you that he never attended the school. You probably have a  whole list of speculative answers. No,  his records were not lost in the fire that gutted the headmasters’ office five years ago and the year 2000 hailstorm had nothing to do with it. You are probably thinking, maybe he didn’t write the exams after all.

This is how it all happened..

“I will never wear this skirt again”, Sarah threw her skirt by the gate of the school. “How I hate this place and these formal rules”. She looked at the buildings and students milling around waiting for class,  turned and flounced off.  She smiled to herself as she walked towards home. She had written her final exams and was looking forward to finally getting  independence, after all, she had turned 18 years the previous week.

Sarah had an athletic body and was good in sport, she hated netball and but liked to play soccer with the boys, besides there was no soccer team for girls at their school.  For behaving differently from other girls at the school,  she was always bullied and called names by other students. Teachers labelled her a troublemaker because she always wore trousers underneath the school skirt. For Sarah, winter season came with freedom as she could comfortably and freely wear trousers without being punished by teachers.

Apart from the constant beatings, and derogatory names her mother and sister used to call her, she was constantly forced to perform house chores with the hope that her behaviour would change. “ Why don’t you act like other girls, wear a skirt do the dishes what is wrong with you, are you a demon or my child,  her mother would often say. At church, they had openly criticised her for wearing trousers and given her the option to either wear the female church uniform like other girls or choose another church.

The time had come to leave this misery, she was leaving for the city, away from the gaze of the village gossip mongers, the hate and ridicule from family, teachers and other students.   as she strolled down the road thinking about her trip and new life in the city she couldn’t help but sing “Freedom is coming tomorrow, Aahaya! Aahaya!” she was kicking the dust, skipping and dancing.

            The Rebirth 

“Excuse me, sir. How may I help you?” Dexter replied with a deep voice, “ I am looking for Chipo. Is she here? “ No Sir she went to town”, said Tobias the Gardner. “ Tobi, Tobi ewe!” “Maa!” “ Who is out there?” “I don’t know `Maa!” replied Tobi. “ “May I know who is asking sir?” “ My name is Dexter, I am a friend of Chipo”. “Don’t tell her, I will come tomorrow or I will call her on her phone”. “Ok, I will let her know when she comes in, in case you fail to get hold of her” said Tobias. “Thank you man, I owe you”. Dexter left the gate and walked towards   Musasa road where he was to board a commuter bus and head to the city centre.

Chipo’s phone rang, She took it out of her bag and answered. “ Hello Dexter, I am so happy to hear from you. When am I seeing you?

Yes, come tomorrow. At 10 am. I will be home waiting for you.“  I have missed you, and  I love you too.”

Chipo  smiled as she placed the phone back in the bag and took out a mirror to check how much  her face was beaming.

It has been five years since Dexter has  gone back  to the village. The identity ‘Sarah’ had been thrown in Rusape river and Dexter was born. The day he got to the city of Bulawayo he changed his looks.  He was tired on living a lie. He  had never felt like a woman. Dexter looked at his naked  body in the mirror.  A layer of bandages flattened his breasts, he has started developing pain and dark scars, he was getting worried but scared to approach anyone for help. The thought of enduring pain brought back traumatic memories of the horrors if being raped by his uncle, falling pregnant and having to undergo a backyard  abortion…

The revelation 

“You lied to me. How could you? What will I tell my best friend Maggie? What about my parents? I am going to be a laughing stoke”, she kept on crying wiping her tears with serviettes that were on the table. “Why me, why Dexter, why did you choose me?” “Because I fell in love with you the day I saw you at bus stop”, replied Dexter trying to comfort her. “ I have to come clean about who I am to you. Please don’t leave me now. Stay with me”

(Not all love stories have a happy ending. This could be anyone of you in your personal journey reconciling the self and finding love)



by Samuel Matsikure   Zimbabwean Human rights defender, Educator, Fashion Guru, Artist, follow his blog :