Congratulations in Shona. Shona being one of the spoken tribal languages of Zimbabwe. I was born in Mashonaland so it’s the other word I know for celebrating a job well done. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to write it, but here it is. Makorokoto.
It might have happened last month, and like most headlines that hit the International stage, it had to batter the shit out of any competing performer to hold the spotlight for a fleeting moment. A story that broke from behind the curtain, having been cooped up in the abyss of backstage for too long, flung itself in front of a global audience. And even though the topic of its appearance had been in talks for some time, no one really saw it coming. News broke, the dance was done, the audience gave a standing ovation, flapping and clapping about the theatre, pleading for an encore. But after a few loops and laps of repetitive commentary, the spotlight shifted its focus and the story fell off stage, down the stairs of the emergency exit, into the archive of African news.
And it’s a given. There’s lots to report. There are loads of performers all bidding for a say in the play, and it all depends on the mood of the Director. And those who sneak past his blindspot.
So when the news hit Der Spiegel, that Mugabe had been taken into custody by the military and was under house arrest, I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Is this real? Can it be? No. Whaaaaaat? Every news channel confirmed it in a bold spotlight and it was being held centre stage. His time was up. Who would’ve thought this to be possible? What shit is really going down? What does this all mean exactly? So what…it’s happening. Clap, clap, clap, clap. Just stop telling me he’s safe and sound. Irrelevant. Clap, clap, clap, clap.
I’ve always had a sense of self righteousness to what I inherently know about my own perception of the country that I come from. Our opinions and perceptions are surely only relative to our chosen understanding, education, nature, boat-float orientation, imagination and reality. It’s experience that is unique and belongs to you, and your relative awareness, only. We all have the liberty to describe a place that we come from and how we would like it to sound to others. We’re entitled to.
I come from Sweet Ballyballooba and this is what this place was all about, then. We had some orange, pink and yellow folk who planted some seeds and nurtured them to life. We all trusted the soil, and often went out dancing with the rain. We knew the blood that eventually came from the granite and the respect required by the sun. We picked the stems above their roots, and turned the leaves into gold. Then we boxed them up and sent them all over the world, reaching other shores by the wonky wheel that had been invented for its journey. Some boxes of tobacco and some maize, some diamonds and some cotton, some textiles and some tax. So many boxes, so many wheels, built by so many people. Gradually, the export exceeded import. The wheels wore away the country’s roads, the soils weren’t to be trusted, there was no beat from the rain to dance to, and the stone had completely changed its tune. Only the tax boxes where leaving the country, without the use of the wheel that had been invented by the people, instead by being inflated in hot air balloons to secret destinations. So the folk of Sweet Ballyballooba got wind of the blame game and pointed fingers, ripping up the roads, burning down the last of the golden leaves, cursing the rain and relentlessly bashing the granite for blood. For years. But in those years, those who still chose to trust the soil, clawed onto their roots and persevered. Amidst the madness of methods, amongst the madding crowds, an ethos was maintained. Make a plan and make it happen.
And this is what I know about the folk from where I come from.
So upon a coup, not a coup. Resignation, not a resignation. Change, no change. I still only want to say Makorokoto! Why? Because of politics not being politics. Because of patriotism. Because it should still exist. And because of naivety being an onset of hope. Not vice versa. Whatever Trevor. Change has occurred. The boat has been rocked regardless of direction. The waves are high and the waters are mirky. There is a crocodile lurking beneath the surface. Everybody has their eyes on it, as well as all of his little friends snapping about his jagged tail. Not that that will steer or influence its modus operandi. But perhaps fewer this time, will jump in and test his waters.
There is Change. Mugabe has gone. Allow this to reverberate for a moment. Let it be what has actually happened. By a means of whatever motive. By a way of whatever forward flow. Zimbabweans know all about a rapid or two. So it’s good to be confident about the power of nurturing the soil you are entitled to trust. And start growing your own gold.
I am happy for Zimbabwe. For this rightful victory of witnessing the dethroning of a calamitous king and his callous queen. I implore the clapping, the standing ovation, the pleads of an encore. It is the prerequisite for a follow through on empowering entitlement in a nation. It’s your country. Make a plan and make it happen.
Don’t fall down the stairs of the emergency exit at the mercy of the late leader’s scarlet letter carved on your own crowns. You are not being naive for celebrating. That’s for pessimists. Hold yourself centre stage and dance your dance.
For what might come? Who the fuck knows. Hey, I’m living in Quaint Quallamanga and it’s no paradise. There’s no telling what’s to come. Many folk here sharpen pencils and laminate rule books. Precision is the price of life, but nothing is certain. Whatever the facts are, let them be figures for the time being. There’s a dance to be done into the sunset, a howl to made to the moon. I’m an export from Zimbabwe and I’m delivering a parcel. If you believe that change is good then keep that good changing.
No matter where we are living in the World, whether it be Germany or Jamaica, we all have our issues to deal with in terms of how we choose to follow those who have decided to lead.
As Oscar Wilde adequately wrote, ‘Cynics know the price of everything and the value of nothing.’
I’m Happy for Zimbabwe.