Friday, October 18, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Take yourselves less seriously, Zimbabweans
25/09/2013 00:00:00
by Tendai Biti, MP

AS A general rule, Zimbabweans take themselves too seriously. They are a group arrested by haughtiness, lack of humour and a permanent state of unhealthy aggression. Life, I can assure you, is too short for anyone to wear a permanent statue of burlesqueness.

Despite and in spite of the sin of July 31, this is such a beautiful world, worth every minute of life.

My heart bleeds at the high levels of road rage and anger on our roads. A slight deviation is met by a pointed finger and all kinds of foul-mouthed ranting. To put it literally, civet cats died in our mouths. Pure, undiluted skunks!

To be fair, drivers of taxis, kombi drivers as we know them, are a temptation on their on. They behave as if they come from Zvimba and harangue all of us as if they have a patent for bad driving. The trick is to watch them, let them through and get on with your life. Otherwise you will get wrinkles before you are forty.

Indeed and again to be fair, I have seen drivers in our roads who think that they are driving at the Monaco Grand Prix competing with Sebastien Vettel. I have seen drivers who think that, like America, Zimbabwe drives on the right.

But the most pernicious are those that get so inebriated that they think ghosts drive them home. Or that their car has capabilities of automatically driving them home under the fuel of an alcohol-filled breadth.

But what about the multitude of police officers that are permanently glued to our roads, pretending to be serious whilst harassing particularly taxis and any dented wreckage in the road? And my God don't we have a lot of those! Ugly, smoking jalopies that look like reincarnations from the First World War. How they are still driving, or more accurately crawling in our roads excludes one’s wisdom.

Back to police officers, we must have the highest number of police officers per capita in the world. Every way you turn there is a police officer. The air we breathe is full of cops. One is never too sure what they do though, but they are ubiquitous.

I must say that the standard of sartorial tastes has gone up in the country particularly among members of the superior sex. Maybe it is the influence of a huge Diaspora populations but this lot know how to shine and glide.

The times of petticoats that sneaked out longer than the dress, and high heeled shoes that kept breaking down in High Streets are long gone. The times of those long voodoo skirts with untidy slits or wet and smelly "perms" that Marshall Munhumumwe must have had in mind when he sang "Rudo Imoto" are now dumped in sartorial archives.

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Newspapers are a record of history. They freeze time on their pages and no wonder every historian spends time in a dust-filled archive poring over their yellow memories. If newspapers are history, then future generations will laugh at present generations who cannot laugh at themselves.
Take a few stories. NewsDay of September 24, 2013:

Man Axes friend to pieces

"In a bizarre incident that left Chivhu villagers she'll shocked ,a local man axed his long time friend to death before chopping his body to pieces and taking away the deceased s left foot after allegedly accusing the friend of failing to visit him..."
If I were the prosecutor, I would be curious to know why the man, Kimpton Shereni, took the left foot and not the nose.

This one from the Daily News of September 21, 2013, is worth a look:

Wives embroiled in conjugal row

A Mabvuku woman has dragged her husband’s wives to court for mocking her and withholding conjugal rights to him after he suffered a stroke.

Mario Gumeyo dragged her husband’s senior wives – Magaya Emerita and Zvitaike Mapiro – to court seeking a peace order for alleged verbal abuse...

"I have been staying with our husband since 2002 when they abandoned him because he suffered a stroke .They refuse to have sexual intercourse with him demanding money..."

The disputes allegedly started when Mapiro and Magaya discovered that Gumeya would quiz their husband about how good his sexual encounters with the other two were.
This is the stuff of a Shona novel.

Now check this one from the News Day of September 21, 2013:

Man Killed over $9 debt and sadza

A heated debate over a $9 debt and the preparation of sadza between colleagues, both gold panners, turned nasty when Tichaona Mwenda allegedly struck and killed his friend Pedzisai Dhenya with an iron bar accusing him of refusing to settle his debt and putting out the cooking fire.
The incident occurred at Zebra 14 Mine at around 2AM on June 19 last year.

I found this one from the Daily News of September 21, 2013, totally bemusing.

Photographer offers $20 maintenance

A man refusing to fund his children’s education reportedly told his wife they would not die from not attending school.

Misheck Matiko was brought before Harare Civil Court by his wife Catherine Mambo who sought maintenance of $400 for their five children.

Now in my 18 years of practice as a lawyer, this is the most unique defence against maintenance I have ever heard. Rather it is the most insane I have heard.

The Herald has a darker sense of humour. Take their September 18 headline: "Ex ZMDC boss in $6 m scandal". Or the one on the next page of the same newspaper edition: "Calls mount for chiefs to adopt circumcision". I am not sure how, though.

I liked the opinion piece in the Herald’s edition of September 21, 2013, by Beatrice Tonhodzayi Ngondo. It was headed: “Live within your means". Very sound advice, but no-one will listen to her.
But do not forget the small ads too. They tell a lot about the state of the nation.

Here are some delightful ones:

"Dr Munto - For all your marriage, lost lover problems, impotence due to diabetes and business boosting."

"Dr Mapeto - Traditional healer with 30 years experience, specialist in bringing back lost lover within a day and solving other problems. 100 percent guaranteed."
Or try this, I saw it in virtually all the newspapers: "For best singles, phone best professional agency on ..."

A million small ads are virtually Bohemianism personified. There are ads on private masseurs and all kinds of fetishes which some of us thought only happened in the first world.

Try the ones about people with capacity to enlarge all kinds of things which my Christian faith says I cannot reproduce in a family page such as this one. But if there is a sad story that told me that we had lost our sense of being and Africanhood but had become Godless charlatans, it was this next one.
Man uses Mugabe poster as toilet paper

A 26-year-old Masvingo man recently landed himself in trouble after he allegedly used President Robert Mugabe s campaign poster as toilet paper.

Takura Mufumisi appeared at the Masvingo Magistrate Court last week charged with violating the Electoral Act or alternatively destruction of political material.

Public Prosecutor Mukai Mutumbe told the court that on July 24 this year, Mufumusi entered Landmark Bar in the city with the intention of relieving himself in the bar toilets.

While inside, he was spotted by the informant, Osman Musengi, tearing up President Mugabe’s poster which he found inside and allegedly using it as a toilet paper.
Musengi immediately effected a citizen’s arrest on Mutumisi and took him to Masvingo Police Station.

Court papers however do not state if Mufumisi was arrested after he had already relieved himself. Magistrate Tinashe Ndokera adjourned the matter indefinitely as the State could not identify the witness.

What on earth have we become? I wrote the other day about the state of our mental capacity, but I suspect it is a worse condition.

The world owes us nothing. Lets us put the smile on our faces. Let us not die of stress from things engineered by cadavers and zombies. Lets us take the joke on us and stop behaving as if we are little demi-gods.

It is such a happy, happy world.

Tendai Biti is MP for Harare East (MDC-T) and a former Finance Minister

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