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Zodwa's no-panties trademark divides Zimbabwe

09 Sep 2017 at 15:32hrs | Views
Zimbabweans recently woke up to a panties debate involving South African socialite Zodwa Wabantu that has roped in Cabinet ministers, the Censorship Board of Zimbabwe and the country's Tourism ministry.

The debate was triggered by an invitation extended to Zodwa by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) for the controversial socialite to take part in the ongoing Harare International Carnival.

Zodwa has been invited by Devine Assignments to grace Private Lounge on Friday, September 8, this being a private invitation which has nothing to do with the carnival.

The ZTA, however, wanted to ride on the presence of Zodwa in the country for the Private Lounge party, so they extended an invitation to the beau so she participates at the carnival, a proposal that has divided the nation.

Zodwa prides herself for not wearing any under panties wherever she is invited as this has been her trademark brand, something which has angered a cross section of Zimbabweans who want her banned from partaking in the carnival parades.

The ZTA had said she could only participate in the parades if she has her panties on as they were expecting traditional leaders and chiefs at the carnival.

Actress Anne Nhira wrote a complaint letter to the Tourism ministry whose acting minister Patrick Zhuwao quickly responded to say Zodwa may be banned at the carnival. The Censorship Board also threw their weight behind Zhuwawo and ruled that Zodwa was banned at the carnival.

After the said "bans" thousands of Zimbabweans responded angrily on social media venting their anger at Nhira, Zhuwawo and the Censorship Board.

The Daily News on Sunday spoke to several social analysts and commentators who believe that Zimbabweans have stooped so low to be debating whether Zodwa should wear panties or not when we have serious problems affecting the country.

Lawyer Jacqueline Chikakono said from a social point of view she is equally amused at the amount of attention and emotions the banning of Zodwa has had on the Zimbabwean public.

"Social media has been blazing on this issue and while it is quite amusing reading and seeing the emotions being poured against Anne Nhira and those on why Zodwa must come to Zimbabwe, it is also equally disturbing that such a matter is even receiving such public attention.

"This is more-so considering the gravity of issues other countries are collectively engaged in for example, hurricane Harvey in the US, the annulment of the presidential election results in Kenya and floods in Sierra Leone.

"The fact that as a society we are expending so much emotion on this Zodwa issue is indicative of our excitable nature as a country and perhaps our failure to channel our energies and focus on more critical issues that the country is facing. On the other hand, though with the hardships people are facing who can blame them for focusing on such lighter issues?"

Media practitioner Patience Zirima believes we are making mistakes basing national decisions on a moralistic body such as the Censorship Board to make determinations that seek to control women's bodies.

"In addition, Zodwa's panties are not an issue of national importance. If people want to talk about it on social media and in bars, that's fine, but when the media, Parliament or Cabinet wade into this debate, it's irresponsible.

"Let women be free to determine the nature of their conduct and how they wish to clothe their bodies. It simply shouldn't be up for debate at a policy level," said Zirima.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said this unwarranted focus on Zodwa is quite shameful. "It is nonsense upon stilts. Zimbabwean authorities and the public at large should focus on more pressing issues of national importance which are many as a result of the Zanu PF government's ruinous economic policies. "Has the Zimbabwe government resolved the issue of the need for credible, free, and fair elections in 2018?

"Or the cash shortages crisis and the massive levels of unemployment and destitution across the country?" Dewa added that Zodwa's panties situation does not bring bread and butter on our tables, "it is a non-issue that has become a convenient decoy and red herring for a political leadership bankrupt about solutions to the myriad of challenges that confront the our country."

Social commentator Rebecca Chisamba told the Daily News on Sunday that this issue has exposed the lack of occupation among Zimbabweans.

"How can we spend time talking about it? Ndazvake izvo (that's her issue) if she wears or doesn't wear underwear.

"We have bread and butter issues to deal with. We should use our time to concentrate on things that build our country. What is so important about someone's underwear? We are belittling ourselves — that is the truth."

Member of Parliament Jessie Majome said the debate is a typical symptom of the tragedy of the Zimbabwean crisis.

"The indolence caused by a 98 percent unemployment rate, a less than 40 percent use of industrial capacity resulting in the underemployment of the two percent employed all arising from a failed economy has led us to degenerate into such ridiculousness at a national scale.

"It's the same miasma that causes thousands of able-bodied people to throng repeated political rallies whose only point seems to be leader worship during business hours on a working day," said Majome.

She added that as Zimbabweans we simply have nothing much either better or productive to do.

"It doesn't help that the stifling of media and information channels by the regime in exchange for propaganda contributes to the frenzied recycling of ‘information' and social jibes on social media which fills the vacuum that should be occupied by real media and information."

A media practitioner who prefers to remain anonymous said: "This is a nation that is on auto-pilot, no serious leadership mobilising it towards inspiring goals that can leap-frog the country into an orbit of irreversible success.

"When a country is in such a state of ‘radarlessness' then non-events will in fact become headlines. "Trivia will become the framing lenses on which topical issues are pushed to the sidelines while the whole country is taken for a garden stroll.

"Zimbabwe deserves a competitive leadership! We have a serious economic meltdown and a fragile state in our hands yet the ‘leaders' are busy analysis panties? Zimbabwe surely is a cursed country!"

Social commentator Maxwell Saungweme said the attention given to this simple dressing issue yet we have more pressing economic, political and social issues that deserve Cabinet and ministerial attention go a long way to show the level of tomfloolery in Zimbabwe.

"A nation of fools, we are. We should be busy petitioning government for electoral reforms, aligning laws to the Constitution, finding solutions to the current financial crisis, addressing the economic crisis and partitioning for availability of ARVs.

"Here we are, we play into Zanu PF diversionary tactics and allow our attention to be taken off from these crucial issues and get seized with Zodwa's underwear.

"This betrays our high literacy levels as a mockery. Educated people should focus on finding solutions to social, political and economic issues not someone's decision to put on underwear or not," said Saungweme.

He added that the ministers who also got entangled in this underwear drama are jesters who don't understand their priorities. "We are a shame!"

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: "We are now majoring on minors! Surely, who the hell is Zodwa to grab our national attention?

"Zimbabweans should be engaged in more serious issues such as reviving the comatose economy and solving the crippling liquidity crisis in the country as well as sorting out electoral reforms.

"Why have we become so petty? Whether or not Zodwa wears panties, who gives a damn? Let us be more serious and focused for a change."

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Source - dailynews
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