TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
IF YOU thought cholera is the only thing with an epicentre, you are mistaken. In fact, in the aftermath of the introduction of all kinds of terms to the cholera crisis in Lusaka, people in the hood have just discovered that everything in life has a central point of difficult or unpleasant situation.
This is why they have found the word epicentre fascinating. Some teachers in community schools in the hood are eager to use the term in their questions on current affairs.
The questions are part of an aptitude test to see if the potential pupils can quickly read and write without giving their teachers reasons to go to the bar early.
Well, in the questions, an area mentioned doesn’t need to have cholera to be designated as an epicentre, but one thing is true, pupils are challenged to note things which are peculiar to that particular place.
On this warm afternoon, a community school teacher is educating one ambitious prospective pupil on things with an epicentre.
Teacher: Which football club in Zambia is the epicentre of internal wrangles?
Pupil: City of Lusaka Football Club.
Teacher: Which road in Lusaka is the epicentre of prostitution?
Pupil: Addis Ababa Drive.
Teacher: Which street in Lusaka is the epicentre of clandestine business activities?
Pupil: Katondo Street.
Teacher: Very good. You are doing well so far. Okay, let’s try some more questions. Which township in Lusaka is the epicentre of marijuana trade and smoking?
Pupil: Chibolya township?
Teacher: Wonderful! You also need to know that a man called Seven Spirits is the epicentre of trouble in Chibolya.
Pupil: Yes teacher. I also know that he was the epicentre of drama in court when he appeared there last year.
Teacher: Which township in Lusaka is the epicentre of beer drinking in chikapu (big cup)?
Pupil: Kabwata township.
Teacher: How do you know?
Pupil: My uncle drinks from there and he once invited my father to go and drink from chikapu.
Teacher: You are on the right track. Let’s continue with more questions. Which township in Lusaka is the epicentre of internally displaced persons?
Pupil: Mazyopa township.
Teacher: Which court of law is the epicentre of divorce cases?
Pupil: Local court.
Teacher: Which room in the house is the epicentre of gender-based violence?
Teacher: That’s correct. I hope you did not learn that from your parents.
Pupil: No. I always hear the wife of our neighbour next door shouting his name at midnight.
Teacher: You should be careful with what you listen to next door at midnight. Anyway, I will ask you some more questions, you seem to be challenging me now. Which city in Zambia is the epicentre of Jerabos (copper carthode thieves?
Pupil: Kitwe on the copperbelt.
Teacher: Which province is the epicentre of mice-eating?
Pupil: Eastern Province.
Teacher: Which group in class is the epicentre of dull pupils?
Pupil: Group three.
Teacher: At least you are not one of them. You are brilliant. You’ve answered all the questions so far. Try this one now: Which road in Lusaka was once upon a time the epicentre of a fight between police officers and motorists?
Pupil: Kasangula Road.
Teacher: But don’t fight with traffic police officers even if you hear them at a roadblock asking your aunt for a date in exchange for paying a fine at the wire (Central Police Station). But let’s move on to another question. Which place in Lusaka is the epicentre of goat meat trade?
Pupil: Chibolya abattoir.
Teacher: Who was the epicentre of supu ya mbuzi (goat stew) trade in Lusaka?
Pupil: Joe Mbuzi.
Teacher: What do you say about supu ya mbuzi now that there is cholera in Lusaka?
Pupil: I will tell my father to stop buying supu ya mbuzi from dirty places. I don’t want our township to be an epicentre of cholera and open defecation because all our pit-latrines are full.
Teacher: You have just reminded me of one more thing; which township on the copperbelt is the epicentre of open defecation?
Pupil: Masala township. I heard some women saying “boma iyanganepo (government should do something).
Teacher: You have a very bright future, and without doubt we will enrol you in our community school. With you in here, our school will become an epicentre of examinations.
Pupil: Oh! You mean an examination centre?