A Fragmented Mind

A Fragmented mind was inspired by my grandmother who passed on in 2016.  She had dementia in the last three years of her life. It is written in honour of elderly women who are suffering from mental illness.  The woman in the poem suffers from dementia and as a result she has lost her memory. She cannot remember her name, where she is from or if she has any children.  She does not have control over the memories that come back to her. Most of the times they are memories from a long time ago. The society in which she lives in is not very understanding or at the very least tolerant.  They blame all their ills on her. A miscarriage is blamed on her, poverty and unemployment are blamed on her. The assumption and conclusion is that she is a witch.


It is a cold winter morning in the Savanna

The grass is dry and brown with no life 

There is dew all over it

She walks barefoot on the grass 

Oblivious and numb to the cold

She walks with no life in her, as if she is deep in thought elsewhere

She is just a shell of her former self

Gazing into her eyes is like looking into the abyss

There is no life

It’s like a void is staring back at you

She cannot recall her name, where she is from or if she has any children

At night time, she sets off on a journey to an unknown destination

Much to the chagrin of her society

Murmurs of her being a witch are not uncommon

She should be burnt

She should be banished

She brings us bad omen

She is taking our riches and giving them to her tokoloshes

Our women are miscarrying because she is feeding herself with our unborn

An owl was seen resting on the thatch of her hut

To make matters worse, there are cats at her homestead

Her being old and not being herself makes her perfect fodder for the witchcraft theories

There once was a beauty in her

The wrinkles on her face are like the dry and cracked earth in the Namib Desert

Of course her face would dry up and crack because she is no longer herself

As a rose pops up through the desert crack once in a while

So does a gentle smile occasionally radiate on her face

Showing the gap on the front of her teeth

When she is at home she talks about cooking for the freedom fighters

But the war has long been over

At times she gets up to go to a field with her hoe to plough the land

But it is winter and there are no ploughing activities in winter

Hers is a fragmented mind 

With memories fragmented into tiny little pieces

With the seemingly long forgotten memories intermingled with the present memories

With no distinction between the past and the present

What was done many years ago, what is being done and what is yet to be done

With no distinction between different times of the day and different places

Hers is a fragmented mind with no control over her emotions or what memories are triggered

Wadzanai Tadhuvana is a poet from Norton, Zimbabwe. She is a graduate of the Nelson Mandela University and an accountant by profession. Wadzie writes as an extension of her feelings and to express her thoughts.

Pen name: Wadzie Tads

Social media handles: Twitter - @WadzieTads

Facebook: Wadzie Tads