Diary of a USAH: The Zimbabwe US Dollar – Tsitsi Tsopotsa
A COMEDY-SATIRE SHORT STORY ABOUT ZIMBABWE’S CURRENCY SITUATION.
The story depicts a mythical journey of a United States Dollar note through various hands and scenarios. The setting is present day Zimbabwe where many different currencies replaced the Zimbabwe dollar following its collapse.
The cover was painted by Barry Lungu.
This ebook is the first product from Setseno which will soon be selling short stories from developing countries. Setseno works with writers to develop their skills and encourages collaboration with artists so that together they can raise their profiles to sell their work to wider audiences in the rest of the world.
Part of the proceeds from this ebook sale will go towards supporting Setseno programmes including the mentoring programme. The mentor programme will launch by supporting writers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
It’s dark and hot in here and I’m bound into place by a thick elastic band. The band is wearing thin in places, which means I could be free of my neighbour a smelly, worn out note. It’s difficult to make out his value or even where he is from. I inhale deeply and lean forward, the gaping hole in this picket ventilates the area. But this only happens when the man is walking about outside in the early hours. Later in the day, the heat boomerangs back up from the hot tarmac, intensifying the smell of dirty money. Peering down, I can see the ground and wish the band would snap and release me – the road doesn’t seem so far.
I try to remember the conversation I overheard at the mint the day I was printed. Some old notes had just been brought in off the street for retirement in this thing called an incinerator. I guess it’s some sort of rejuvenation thingy. They had been in circulation for the last two years. The one man, Buster had a deep resonating baritone.
“Will I get a voice like that one day?” I had asked him, aware that mine sounded squeaky and devoid of any personality.
“Kid,” Buster had said, “it was the drink that did it. I used to spend my time in strip joints and bars. The women were sweet and the whisky was neat. I could write a book about what I’ve seen out there. You’re young kiddo, don’t be in a rush to grow old. It’ll come soon enough.” He responded to the admiration in my eyes.
“Well at least if he can grow-up in this here the United States then that would be something. These days notes are going to some far flung places. There’s Afghanistan for starters and different African states. There’s a new one now – Zimbabwe, I think they call it. Once you go out there, you’ll be lucky to get back home.” George his friend started what I thought was a fascinating contribution, which we didn’t finish as they were hustled off on the conveyor belt.
“I won’t let them take me there!” I had shouted back defiantly, foolishly believing that I held my fate in my beautifully crisp body.
About the Author
Ms Tsopotsa was born in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe in a small town called Mutare (Umtali as it was known then). She spent her early childhood in London with her family. She finished her education and completed a nursing diploma in Zimbabwe.
Her nursing career left her creative ambitions unfulfilled and she therefore sought a part-time position writing a general interest column in Mahogany Magazine. This was a lifestyle monthly magazine for women. She unveiled the mystery behind Rastafarians in her first article, post meeting Bob Marley who sang at Zimbabwe’s Independence celebration. Following that she tackled national interest articles, such as the absence of a Zimbabwean national dress.
She went back to college to study public relations and marketing, which led her to the first ever public relations post for the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Zimbabwe. As spokesperson for the ministry, she found her duties extended to writing informational articles about the work of health care workers within the ministry. Most of the topics created awareness of disease and medical conditions that were prevalent in Zimbabwe at the time.
Ms Tsopotsa worked briefly for an NGO where she marketed the first mass marketed female condom in Africa. Her job brought her public speaking skills to the fore and she quickly established herself as the face of the brand. Her efforts and success achieved international recognition within practitioners working on HIV/AIDS programmes.
Personal circumstances took her back to the UK a few years later where she set up several small businesses, after completing an MBA in project management.
During frequent contracts in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, Tsitsi started to write again. The isolation encouraged her and she began and completed the first draft of her debut novel, The Zebra Crossings.
“It was cold and very windy, writing enabled me to create a world that I could escape to. Each time I sat down to write, I could almost feel the warm Zimbabwean sunshine!”
Her latest short story, Diary of a USAH, was inspired by the economic situation in Zimbabwe where the US Dollar has been adopted, after the collapse of the Zimbabwean Dollar.
Part of the proceeds of the book will support writing projects in Zimbabwe.