HomeEditorial CommentThe drum beating louder

The drum beating louder


OF all the land’s idiomatic expressions, there is one about the fate of percussion drums.

The idiom states that when a drum begins to beat louder, there is a possibility that the drumhead or drumskin is about to rupture.
In Zimbabwe’s political arena the beat of the drum has been growing louder and more intense with each passing day as the nation is engrossed in political song and dance.

The drum is beating ever louder with renewed zeal and unimagined gusto as if the drummer is in a trance. The political atmosphere is humid with mischievous expectations of the drum rupturing into instant silence.

Of late the drum has been played in countless parties and ceremonies and many people wonder if it can sustain the pounding from the enthusiastic drummer much longer. Soon the drum may succumb to the beating it has been enduring. With the drumskin always being tightened, that provides an indication of the only possibility left.

The drum has been pounded in many parties and gatherings. It was played during the infamous witches’ séance in that contentious attempt to establish some degree of contact with the voters.

During this gathering of political witches, the drum played, played and played. And the drum beat was loud and invigorating for the dancers. Thanks to the excellent workmanship of the drum maintenance staff, the drumskin was saved from ripping into oblivion.

After the voters had danced positively to the tune of the drum, the expectations were that the drum would be retired in honour of its service to the loud music industry.

That was not to be as the drum soon found space and time to traverse the globe so as to feature at hastily organised appearances.

The music went on, and the drum played on and on and on. As usual, after the expeditions around the globe the drum-skin had to be serviced to render it turgid for more tunes.

As implied by the idiom of the drums, the tightening of the drumskin renders it susceptible to tearing away when the drummer hammers on it with no letting.

The international expeditions did not result in the drum getting rested. Instead more localised dance and song meetings were organised and the drum was called into action.

Visibly over-used, but with some signs of renewed loudness, the drum was played. It was played at the party of all parties; it was played at the funeral of all funerals and it was also played at the wedding of all weddings.

Each time it was played, there were expectations that it was going to be the last beat; yet it survived to play another beat another day.

As if the percussions of the drum have not been enough, there is more work planned for the drum. As if in honour of its long service to the loud music industry, the drum has been requested to play at more heavy weight musical concerts consisting of a host of other musical instruments.

The African Union Orchestra has offered the drum a chance to provide the lead percussions at a date to be advised. This is a challenge the drum has accepted with glee.

The inclusion of the old drum in the huge orchestra smacks of ignoble intentions to make the drum buckle under musical pressure. The music promoters seem to be hell bent on seeing the drum breaking into a deafening silence. They have added to the misery of the drum by giving it a leading role in the Sadc symphony.

This appears as one sure way to test the resolve of the old drum. The sidelines will be watching and listening for any cacophony in the symphony.

If the drum does not come to a screeching silence during the orchestra, then it will certainly do so during the symphony.
But then the drum has to face the music!

Zimbabweans, friends and comrades, the drum that has been calling the tunes for so many years may be on its last beat. The fact that there is so much attention directed towards the drum means that everyone is genuinely concerned about its impending fate.

Everyone knows that it will not be long before the drumskin ruptures. Music promoters are on the prowl for any opportunity for the drum to strut its stuff before the last post. Some musical lovers will reason that the unkind world is being relentless in its effort to tire the drum by planning so many challenging engagements for it.

There is no honour in these punishing schedules. A whirlwind tour around the world or inclusion in an orchestra can be hardly be considered an honour at all. A drum that has seen the best of times and the worst of the music can only be honoured through retirement.

As concerned audiences of the drum beat, Zimbabweans can only speculate that silence will soon dawn upon them as the drum-skin ruptures.

Most people would have wished the drum to be retired with honour instead of it being dishonourably discharged from the scene due to irreversible wear and tear.

Someone please relieve the drum of its misery.

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator

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