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Zodwa and the carnival

01 Sep 2017 at 06:41hrs | Views
I long ceased to be a fan of America. I have come to associate America with war, hypocrisy and a high level of superciliousness born of its claim to a divine mission in the world, so-called "manifest destiny" and exceptionalism. This has often led to policy decisions which bring a lot of grief to so much of the developing world. Africa being one such victim.

But broadly, it is difficult to think of a man-made catastrophe in recent times which doesn't leave America with blood on its hands. Think of images from Afghanistan. The recent heartless destruction of Mosul in Iraq. The ongoing havoc in Syria and Yemen. Closer to home in Africa, we mourn the extinguished potentials of Patrice Lumumba of the DRC. This was crowned by the destruction of Libya which has led to the death of more people from the ensuing chaos as militias slaughter more. Yet others drown in the Mediterranean sea as they try to flee the devastation. Count America in there.

Wherever America has tried to impose its will and values, innocent people have paid with their lives. Nowhere is this most starkly demonstrated than the havoc which followed the killing of the legitimate leaders of Iraq and Libya, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi respectively. Blood has been exchanged for oil. One mirage both nations were promised was democracy. Thousands have died without the foggiest chance of turning that illusion into a lived experience.

For nearly two decades we in Zimbabwe have lived under the plague of American sanctions for daring to be materially sovereign, never threatening to fight any nation or unjustly lay claim over other people's resources. All Zimbabwe did was take full possession of its natural resources, locally.

America claimed this posed a "threat to its foreign policy". Thousands of lives have been lost needlessly under those sanctions because Zimbabwe cannot trade freely with the rest of the world. American exceptionalism dictates that no developing nation should challenge its hegemonic plans and live happily after. Its manifest destiny makes America God's messenger on Earth.

It is this American arrogance which has earned it millions of enemies across the globe. More importantly, the way its sanctions regimes curtain global prosperity and human happiness. It enjoys flaunting its own prosperity by destroying the economies of other nations through sanctions, and creating maximum suffering to promote its values as God-given.

Beyond the illusion of youth and its Hollywood propaganda, that is the reality of America we poor of the third world have come to live with: a cruel superpower which selects friends according to how they further its own interests. It has lived up to its proclaimed doctrine: no permanent friends, only permanent interests. This is a lived experience for the third world.

Enter Harvey

Yet one thing which can't be denied is that underneath the political establishment, Americans are ordinary humans like the rest of us. Well-meaning Americans who are victims of propaganda and lies like the rest of us. Witness how they were told lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and how that foolish Bush war has cost thousands of ordinary American lives and billions of dollars.

There is nothing exceptional in flesh and blood about being born American. As Shylock would say, they bleed, they cry, they die like the rest of us.

A point driven home with ferocious intensity by whimsical nature in a manner that makes some of us weaklings question the veracity of Noah's Covenant with the God of Israel about the rainbow. That God promised never again to kill humanity by flooding, hence the rainbow as a constant reminder of that Covenant.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in a manner human intelligence failed to predict, showing the limits of science. I have been shaken by the scale of suffering from just watching those grim images shown to the rest of the world by America's own instruments of propaganda. Meanwhile tonnes and tonnes of rain water appear to move languorously across the devastated cities of Houston and Beaumont, apparently unconcerned about the suffering it's causing; people drowning, stranded on rooftops, trapped in vehicles, families and cars being swept away, stately homes slowly being submerged in water. It's torrent upon torrent of rain.

Never before have I witnessed such heartrending scenes outside of the infamous tsunami which hit Indonesia in 2004.

In all this we witness the valiant efforts of ordinary people collaborating with the State to save lives. Ordinary people mobilising themselves and resources and leading efforts to rescue each other, to minimise suffering and prevent loss of lives. These are tear-jerking scenes one can't resist. No room for schadenfreude. A reminder that perhaps humanity is one; there are no children of a lesser or higher god.

You forgive and momentarily forget the ills America has wrought and continues to cause in the world.

Ordinary Americans can be assured of our prayers in their direst hour of need. Even as we, like Job, are forced by our frailty to question God's plan and destiny for his puny creations. A tragedy of superhuman proportions.

Hello Zodwa!

The South African entertainer who excites a new moral sensibility in Zimbabwe, all couched in prurient imagery about a panty-less dances at a carnival.

In March 2015 a Harare magistrate sentenced two touts to 12 months in prison. They had been convicted of undressing a young woman for wearing a mini-skirt in Harare. Honourable Majome, representing a number of rights activists, said the touts should have been jailed for at least five years to deter like-minded scoundrels. There was a mini-demonstration in solidarity with the woman who had been publicly humiliated.

Zimbabweans agreed the behaviour of the touts was offensive, repulsive, despicable, traumatising and against our African culture.

But the crime aside, the demonstrators argued women were free to wear what they want. They argued men had no right to dictate what women should wear, so long as they (women) felt comfortable. I was one of the few who objected to this individualistic, Westernised cultural decadence, because we belong to each other and what you do affects the next person.

Two weeks ago a local entertainment concern Private Lounge invited Zodwa waBantu to perform in Bulawayo. Before then some of us knew precious little about her. I still would not be found paying to watch her.

Yet she seems to have caused "a storm" in Harare.

The same Private Lounge has invited Zodwa to come and perform in the capital on September 8. The invitation coincides with the Harare International Carnival which brings in barely dressed performers from Brazil and Cuba. We will have our own Bev and Zoey on show, themselves strip dancers. What hypocrisy.

Beside the objection to Zodwa's participation by one woman, herself apparently based in South Africa, it is not clear what the furore around Zodwa is all about. The same women who tried to convince us in 2014 that women are free to wear whatever they want today want to tell us "Zimbabwe is a conservative society". Really! A conservative Zimbabwe which gives school kids condoms!

The pettiness and hypocrisy stink.

So when women dance all we look at is the crotch to see if they are wearing panties? Are we that serious about our culture, our moral probity to ban a South African socialite from performing in Zimbabwe!

In the name of tourism, how many "conservative" African tourists would be offended if one Zodwa walked down Angwa Street completely undressed during a carnival? Where have those conservative African tourists been hiding until now?

Are we suicidal or something? South Africans can raise any number of reasons to kick Zimbabweans out of their country. Not to mention that we have so much needing to be done to serve the people.

What a circus!

Source - chronicle
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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