In the end, if the girl happened to get pregnant during the two lovers’ secret time together in the bush or the valleys, she eloped to the boy’s village with Tete’s full knowledge. My grandmother, Mbuya Va Mandirowesa, said we should always marry someone whose family she had known for a long time, following the age old tradition of marrying among your own, rooranai vematongo.

Mbuya warned us to watch out for poor young men with nothing to their name, vasina chekubata.

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Shamiso is my niece, the one who is married to Philemon and they have a baby called Prince.

Sometimes they come visit me from Chitungwiza and Piri always comes along too.

He gave her a knife or a catapult as the pledge of his love to the girl.

Likewise, the girl gave him a handkerchief, a bracelet or a necklace to show her love.

These guys with no cows, goats or chickens to pay for the bride price were likely to kidnap a woman they loved through an operation called musengabere.

Mbuya used to tell us a story about the kidnapping of her friend around 1900 when they were still living in what became the Charter Estates, during the time when the British South Africa Police under Cecil John Rhodes were settling down to mine and farm Rhodesia.

But when caught, she said “no, no, no” for a very long time. Just when the guy was beginning to give up hope, she smiled and said, “yes, I love you”.

A girl was expected never to admit to love on the first or second chase.

It will show you what you ask for, even people who are quite indecent and behaving in a very unbecoming manner.