This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of ways to be a good Zimbabwean. These are just ten tendencies I have observed over time that seem very effective in increasing popularity and more importantly, acceptance into the league of good Zimbabwean sons and daughters of the soil.
So fam, I hope you read these points well and find a way to make them work for you. Because, when all is said and done, no one wants to be that bad Zimbo of suspect principles nhai ka…
1. Be ‘humble’
Even if you do your weekly shopping (which includes that Swiss luxury muesli that’s half a civil servant’s salary) in the plush environs of your neighbourhood supermarket, always be ready to disavow your privilege.
Money? What money? Where?
In the face of questions about how you are doing, flick your Peruvian weave out of your face and reply, “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeh, ende zvinhu zvakaoma mufunge,” adding select hand and facial gestures of alarm. Never ever be too prepared to admit, in the words of Elnathan John, that God is blessing your hustle, as this goes against the virtues of good Zimbabweaness and is considered rather tacky. If it comes up, claim that the weave on your head was a gift from your Maiguru in Dubai, and that new Benz you are driving is errm… well, just drive off before the conversation reaches such levels of interrogation.
Another way around this quandary is to engage in the ‘humble brag’ tactic. Put simply, this is finding a way to brag about how good your life is while appearing to just be another Zimbabwean on that hustle vibe. Like, say, posting pictures of your deluxe seven star hotel room, featuring a four poster bed, personal manservant, walk in closet, gigantic flatscreen TV, antique furniture and finishings, balcony overlooking the azure waters of some ocean and accompanying the pics with a comment like “Just checked in. And I am already missing sadza 😦 ”
2. Have a strong opinion on politics or the economy or EPL, and if possible, all of them
My friends, there is nothing worse than being irrelevant. What with the wonders that social media has opened our lives to, there is actually no excuse for any Zimbabwean to be a nobody; each and every one of us can have our 60 seconds of fame.
To achieve these high levels of personhood is pretty simple. Talk politics or economy or football. Look, it doesn’t really matter if you have never read ZIMASSET or don’t know the difference between a penalty and a free kick, just get yourself in there and join the conversation, work the hashtags, move with the nyaya. Get emotional about laws you have never previously heard of and which you don’t really understand; pretend like you’ve known about them since your folks introduce solids to your baby diet. Work the lingo of the latest fiscal policy and tweet “Goaaaaaaaal” when they score. Yours will be the earth, my sons and daughters.
3. Be ready to always be right
It is very unZimbabwean to publicly admit to being wrong about anything. Very. Tell me when you last saw a politician wrap their proverbial tail between their legs and ask their constituency’s forgiveness for a misjudgement or any misdoings?No, friends, it does not work this way. Defend to the death! Don’t ever back down! And if needs be, blame someone else.
This strategy applies in all situations. When they have tried to corner you in an argument with that ‘logical explanations’ nonsense, call them stupid or of suspect political affiliation (the latter is like hitting the jugular, I tell you). Yes, just go ahead and denounce all reasoning that does not qualify your own, because only people who are idiots OR on the other side of the political fence can ever possibly think this way. Even in the face of evidence that your stance on something is completely misguided, do not back down. Blame their ancestors. Blame Cecil the lion. Blame Gollum. Blame, blame, blame! And then tell them to retract their argument/ pull down their comments or article/ block them/ whatever you need to do avoid their poison.
You are ALWAYS right, my friend.
4. See every situation as pro versus anti
Even though it’s nigh impossible for any human being to be resolutely for, or against, all things across the board and spectrum of all human existence, we Zimbabweans are one of the rare exceptions to the rule, especially when it comes to politics. Accept it, we’re just special like that 🙂
This point ties in quite well with point 3 in that as you defend your stance on things, one of the surest ways to gain relegation to the naughty corner, where suspicion and soul-piercing side eyes abound, is to take a ‘middle of the road’ stance.
In other words, you can’t really be a good Zimbabwean and think all our political parties are crap OR gasp, like policies from more than one party, or faction, or whatever else there is after that. No, no, no! This is unheard of and punishable with serious questioning like, “But iwe, which party do you support/ Whose side are you on?”
So please keep to your pro or anti lanes, my friends. Nuance? Complexity? Shades of grey? For who? For why? There is nothing like that.
5. Focus on ‘bread and butter issues’
As we all wait for the Zimbabwe social media police to compile a comprehensive list of conversational offences against the nation’s ‘bread and butter’ issues, allow me to explain my understanding of this term for the uninitiated. Bread and butter is the supposed basis of our subsistence, though I think ‘bread and marg’ is more likely for most of us, and would like to propose a complete overhaul to ‘sadza and veggie issues’ as this more aptly captures an inclusive Zimbabwean reality.
As a result, ‘bread and butter issues’ are those issues that pertain to the general subsistence of Zimbabweans, chief among them the economy and politics. (Sorry, the EPL doesn’t qualify on this point… but I’d advise you to creatively think of EPL/ football analogies that might fit. You may just get extra cred for wit, who knows!).
As a result, it has become a heinous crime to be caught talking about certain issues when, to quote the social media police, “we have bread and butter issues to focus on right now.” Posting about Toni Braxton when the State of the Nation Address is going on? How dare you when “we have bread and butter issues to focus on right now.” Asking Zimbabweans to contribute content towards documenting local history? Whatever for when … you guessed it, “we have bread and butter issues to focus on right now.”
So keep your focus, my dears, on the bread and butter. Even if you have nothing to say relating to such issues, say something. Anything. (And no, it doesn’t matter if you have no real solutions to offer either… that you said something is all that counts for you indeed are a morally upright and good Zimbabwean for doing so). Show you care about the right things.
PS: Talking about the EPL does not qualify as a crime against bread and butter issues.
PPS: The social media police force is always looking for new recruits.
Real talk. (Image shared from http://www.zimbokitchen.com)
6. Feature on a list
I advise you to make this one a life goal. Add it to your bucket list (see, another list!). Work towards it with diligence and passion. And every time a new list comes out, question it, especially if you or none of your friends feature. Query the selection process, label it elitist, trash talk it. In short, disregard all those lists until you feature!
The good news, however, is that today there is a list for just about everything (including this article, of course), so don’t tell me you can’t make it onto one;
– 50 Zimbabweans Who Were at Tocky Vibes’ Last Show and Wore Polka Dot Underwear
– 100 Zimbabweans With a Mole On Their Left Cheek
– 500 Zimbabweans Who Live in Nkayi
Trust me, those lists are coming. And if you are fast enough, you can beat them to it and get your own out there first, making sure to add fam everyone else is failing to recognise. We need new lists, and of course new names on those lists.
7. Threaten to boycott things you have no real intention of actually boycotting
You have decided you have had it. So you take to social media to declare that you are finally giving up your Econet line. “Varikutibira mari dzedu!” you cry. Within 10 minutes, your status has 50 likes. Friends comment and say they are joining you too because they’ve all had it. A groundswell of solidarity rises and the air feels pregnant with possibility as you log off for the night, mapping your itinerary for tomorrow which now includes a visit to an Econet shop.
But tomorrow comes. And you know, in your sleep you had a rethink. Eish man, you’ve had this line for what now, 10 years? And Telecel… what if they get closed down? And how high are NetOne’s game levels anyway? Hmmm, plus it’s a busy day today and you might not be able to get this done. So yah, let’s take a rain check and re-evaluate…
Which is the same way you reasoned out the whole boycott of South African products after the xenophobic attacks. Because even after your sermons about how evil our near neighbours are and how you wouldn’t be touching anymore of their wares, you haven’t quite figured out how to wean yourself off things like South African alcohol.
Sha, I feel the struggle. But as has already been said, paying lip service to something is always better than not having an opinion on important things at all. No one who’s not in your phonebook needs to know what SIM card you have and all your drink buddies will have probably forgotten your ‘boycott South Africa’ posts by now.
8. Hold tightly to the belief that we are Africa’s best
If Zimbabweans had a sound track, it’d probably be Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’.
“We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the worrrrrrrrrrrld.”
Well, maybe not the world… but certainly Africa. Don’t believe it? But we have the highest literacy rate on the motherland, we speak ‘proper English’ (and so does our president) and we certainly don’t ever get Ebola in these parts.
In other words, if there was a contest to see which of Africa’s British colonies resemble their former master the most, we’d probably win the trophy…. and then celebrate with cucumber sandwiches and a spot of tea. The Pioneer Column did not trudge through these parts for no good reason.
Never mind that our economy is stagnant and that Zimbos continue to abandon ‘sovhreneti’ for pastures beyond our borders. Those ones are just sellouts. My dears, we can read and write and count and enunciate, which is all you need to make it in this world of ours. Let the xenophobic ones hate and tease us… they are just jealous.
We are the best Africans there are in this worrrrrrrrld, baby! One day they’re gonna recognise!
9. Comment based on title to articles
In this world of work and Whatsapp, who has a good 3 minutes to dedicate to reading an entire article before commenting on it? No one, I tell you. Besides, a title sheds light on everything the ensuing 1 000 odd words will reveal. Titles can never be, say, witty or satirical or just plain deceptive. After all, who has time for satire when…. drumroll… “we have bread and butter issues to focus on right now”?
No, everything should be taken literally. As a result, reading the title reveals all. So when you see a title you don’t like, don’t doubt yourself. Don’t venture into reading the article. For who? For why? Just get in there and take a stance. If someone asks if you actually read the article, say “Of course” even if that isn’t true. (I hope folk who share this article actually read it before they do…)
10. Drink Mazoe
This one goes without saying. And it’s just here because while I don’t have a 10th point, I am doing things true Zimbo style where this list has to get to 10 items by ginya! If we agree on nothing else, let us at least break bread (and butter) and drink some tangy orange stuff together, eh?
Unity is ever ‘impontent’.
*Sips Mazoe* (Image shared from http://www.schweppes.co.zw)
Main image shared from www.ih1.redbubble.net