27 May 1927-30 January 2008
She has been ill for a while now but I doubt that anyone who knew her was prepared for Gogo ("Grandma") Muramba's departure from this life. She was too large a figure, too lively a character. Not only that, but with several great-grandchildren already in their twenties and the elevation to the status of great-great-grandmother around the corner, we all assumed that she would live forever. In a country where the average lifespan is such that few will live to see their own children in seventh grade, Gogo Muramba was a throwback to the days when our people either enjoyed good health or when they fell sick, it was so serious that they died from it a few days later; a sharp contrast from the modern Zimbabwean who is plagued by something or the other if not AIDS. Her own mother passed away about two years before I was born, she was a young girl when the first British settled here.
While a throwback from a bygone era, Gogo was very much with our hight-tech online world. I remember watching Star Trek with her, while even today some of her grandkids, my cousins, can barely follow an intelligent TV show.
Her relationship with her grandkids was exemplary. She loved us all, and saw the good in us- even when the rest of the family, let alone the world, made it quite clear that it did not see any. There was, to her, no difference between the grandchild by a so or daughter. For many reasons, most mothers have a problem with their daughters-in-law and often this dislike extends to the daughter-in-law's children. Not so with Gogo Muramba, who would give a daughter-in-law an earful, and sling that same woman's child on to her back and take her to her bedroom.
Many are the anecdotes from the times we shared with Gogo. I remember one time, on a visit to the countryside. I wasn't really an outdoor person, preferring to find a tree to sit under and read, while my siblings and cousins went off exploring etc. Gogo called me, and pressed a handful of sweets in to my palms. It was our little secret, she said and I was not to show them to anyone otherwise they'd all want some and God knew how many kids there were. However, later that night I decided I wasn't going to be selfish and told the other boys that I had been especially favoured. I was anxious that it be understood that it was only because I happened to be the only grandchild around, and not because I was a favourite. Then, I realised that I was indeed the favourite grandchild- and so were the others. Because each and every one of them had also received secret handouts of sweets and warned against telling the others.........
I cannot imagine anyone who can quite fill Gogo Muramba's shoes. And when I look at her legacy, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I earnestly believe that she lived a blessed life, even as the Psalmist said,
The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.-Psalm 128:5-6 (KJV)
There is no peace upon Israel, but that is not her fault, is it? But she did see her children's children and her children's children's children, and enriched their lives till this day when the Most High did see it fit to call her to His Mercy.
Comfort all those who weep.....(from the Enda Kidane Meherit)