In a widely published part of her memoirs Flora long regarded “The Marechera Authority” reveals in the excerpt that when a doctor told her Marechera was HIV positive in 1987 she went on to get tested and was afraid to tell her husband.
“The news set me into a state of panic. Three weeks later I get my test results: I am HIV- positive,” Flora candidly wrote.
Flora writes with fondness about her days with the House of Hunger genius who died a destitute:
“While I have generally come to be known as ‘The Marechera Authority’, there have always been two narrative strands behind this persona — the public and the private. While the public one has stood out as strong and clear, my private life has been interlaced with love and passion, loss and pain, with illness and the threat of death. Yet, what I have gained is so much more than what I have endured that I am filled with gratitude and, I might add, with laughter.”
Flora traces Marechera’s history after his return from London in 1982 and the aborted filming with Chris Austin.
She speaks of how he would visit the University of Zimbabwe where the students “venerated” him.
“They let him sleep on the floor in their dormitory rooms. They called him Buddy. Albert Nyathi, now a well-known imbongi, was among them, as was Tendai Biti, right hand of Morgan Tsvangirai and minister of finance in the ‘Unity Government’ of 2009.”
She traces her sexual relationship with the author with a frank discussion on their first night at The Seven Miles Hotel.
“The room is a rondavel with a steep thatched roof. It is sombre inside. It is quiet. Now we are far from the noisy crowd, just me and him. When we lie on the bed, I see a dove rustling up from its nest. It escapes through the opening into the night sky. As I close my eyes, the roof starts spinning in my head. I hear a voice murmuring, ‘This is magic, this is pure magic.’ The voice is mine.”
The memoirs might bring closer the intimate private life of an author who remains an enigma to most.
Dambudzo Marechera was born Charles William Dambudzo Marechera, June 4, 1952 in Rusape, and died on August 18, 1987 in Harare.
Marechera was born in Vhengere Township, Rusape, Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia) to Isaac Marechera, a mortuary attendant, and Masvotwa Venenzia Marechera, a maid.
In his novella, The House of Hunger (1978), and interviews, Marechera often falsely suggests that his father was either run over by “a 20th century train” or “came home with a knife sticking from his back” or “was found in the hospital mortuary with his body riddled with bullets”.
Such incorrect accounts may be part of Marechera’s penchant to revise even the “facts” of his own life. German researcher, Flora-Veit Wild seems to give too much weight to an account given by Marechera’s older brother, Michael about the destructive element in the younger Marechera’s life.