Of Flashback thoughts: Growing up in the 90s

I grew up in Masvingo, which back then was only a small town in Zimbabwe, home to the ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe. My parents weren’t rich, but they did have a house in the low-density suburb. I went to a government school and almost everyone treated everyone else with respect. We didn’t have fast food nor eat out mainly because there wasn’t anywhere to go and bills had to be paid. Homemade meals had a menu usually featuring sadza accompanied by one of the following green vegetables, cabbage, potatoes and sometimes with meat.

$1 Zim dollar could buy you a freezit (a slushie like beverage in a plastic pack) and maputi (popped corn snacks).

Maputi and Freezit

We saved money to buy jelly babies and smarties candy. There was this weird candy from Arenel Sweets which looked like cigarettes. I played pretend as I smoked the sweets.

I grew up during a time when the TV would start broadcasting at 4pm and TV “ended” just after 10 pm with an epilogue and national anthem. Before TV “opened” the TV just showed the big circle of the broadcasting signal while playing music from Radio 3 station.

After school, we came home, did homework and chores, before going outside or having friends over. We had plenty of time to play in the great outdoors and the holes in our clothes, we got them the hard way, through skinned knees from play.  We played on swings in the park, pushed bricks pretending they were cars then graduated to toy cars crafted from wires. We hung out with friends, played hop scotch, hide and seek, cops and robbers using sticks as guns. When the street lights came on you knew you were late and should have been home an hour ago.

We drank water directly from the tap water and didn’t need to boil it first… bottled water was a TV construct. Coca-cola was so fizzy if you shook it all of it would empty on the ground… Soft drinks were only available in glass bottles that needed to be returned for deposit. Coca Cola had a promotion which got you jumbo mugs and drinking glasses. Calypso Juice came with a puzzle game- stay cool with Calypso.

Calypso Puzzle

Family prime time on TV meant watching 227, Paraffin, Mukadota, Mvenge Mvenge, Dougie Howser, Family Matters, Alf, The A-Team, Macgyver, Knight Rider, Different Strokes and Full House. We watched WWF and did the stunts we were told not to do at home, at school, the logic made sense. The censorship board worked overtime, you never saw people kissing for more than ten seconds without a commercial break interrupting.

Parents were to be feared and obeyed. What they said was LAW you did not question it and you did not talk back. In school, we stood up and sang the National Anthem, Ishe Komborera Africa (God Bless Africa) and listened to our teachers. Please and Thank You were part of our syllabus.

I think we turned out ok…

~B

17 Comments

    1. Skippy The Bush Kangaroo!!!!! I even remember the whistle that went with it… too bad cant add a voice note to a comment 😂
      ~B

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  1. Freezits? I think Zambia imported a lot of things from Zim back then. But we had similar upbringings and tv routines. We even have similar national anthems

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe share a lot similarities its uncanny, you cant even really say what started where or when… I think back when the three countries where under a federation there was a lot of diffusion of not just products and services but also customs and traditions.

      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking of puzzles I spent a long time trying to solve a rubik’s cube… could solve only two colours until a found an algorithm which was similar to a cheat code, I was not practising to solve it with my eyes closed 😂
      I should see if I can find one and polish up my skills they are a great party trick
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, I couldn’t do more than two, either. My cube wasn’t easy to maneuver. You would have to align everything perfectly for it to work, which frustrated me. Those two things led me to just toss it to the side. Like you said – once you know the algorithm, there’s not much more fun left. That’s why I just like jigsaw puzzles more (and the slide puzzles are fun, too, but only for a limited time, I feel).

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  2. This post really made me nostalgic! I remember how cheap snacks used to be when I was child! Now they’re so expensive! Lol. I also remember right before the news at night they used to play this announcement “Do you know where you children are?” They played that announce lament in cities all around the United Stares during the time because a lot of children in the cities were going missing. That announce used to scare me, and right around the time they played it was when bed time for me! How was I suppose to sleep! 😂 Childhood was great though! I have a lot of beautiful memories of trips to parks and museums with my parents!

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  3. Down memory lane.
    From the little big town of Chitungwiza back in the 90s, I can relate in almost all aspects. 14inch black and white TV in the corner. Early 90s.
    Thanks for a great journey back into memory lane

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t even begin to imagine how the family was able to gather round a 14 inch black and white TV 🤣
      My laptop screen is bigger than the TV grew up watching.

      Glad to have you along this journey
      ~B

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  4. I love nostalgia posts like this with many similarities but different cuz I’m a girl and I played with plastic horses and Barbies! 🤣🤣🤣 In all seriousness, we all turned out great and I do believe there is no such thing as perfect parenting!! 💞😁👍 Fun post B!!

    Like

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