SOMETIMES the things I write about don’t sit well with some people. Still, because the column’s following is growing, I am persuaded that this column is resonating with many. I do tend to go for the jugular, but I try to lace my writing with humour.
Here is my mission: to inform, activate, inspire and enlighten. Therefore Culture Beat has given itself a wider berth to comment on not only the arts, but on the cultural crucible as a whole. In other words, there are forces shaping the arts sector which derive their potency from the prevailing norms and customs in our contemporary society.
Gangsters in suits: Fire on their heads!
Word on the streets is that a group of young artistes are set to release a powerful protest song protesting against the graft and corruption in our society.
The song with a working title Gangsters in Suits is a knockout one. Steering clear of politics, the song takes aim at malady of rampant and unbridled corruption that has been unearthed in recent times.
Artists need that juice!
I have been waiting for our glory-mongering prophets to at least pronounce fire on the heads of those that have been mishandling public funds. Alas, it has not happened! I suppose the fire would then alight on some of them.But I must say that a local paper just yesterday carried another intriguing prophetic jaunt. The prophet “juiced” people’s foreheads with one dollar airtime! What network was it by the way?
Moreover, they allegedly juiced the members’ electricity prepaid meters with amounts varying between $75 and $100! We all know that the arts sector in Zimbabwe is poorly funded at government level. Maybe the government is broke or the money is in the hands of a few looters. Whichever case, if there are prophets who can juice people’s accounts with dollars, why do the prophets not juice the bank accounts of all Zimbo artistes? Include journalists in that picture. Here is a word to the prophets: “We are waiting!”
A culture of looting just can’t keep flying
Let me share with you what I discovered in my research after stumbling upon Harold Robbins’ old masterpiece entitled The Carpetbaggers which just reminded me of days of yore when I was a voracious reader.
The book is about corporate greed in America. I realised that I had really never looked up the word carpetbaggers. The following is what I found out:-
In United States history, carpetbagger was a pejorative term Southerners gave to Northerners (also referred to as Yankees) who moved to the South during the Reconstruction era, between 1865 and 1877.
The term referred to the observation that these newcomers tended to carry “carpet bags,” a common form of luggage at the time (sturdy and made from used carpet).
It was used as a derogatory term, suggesting opportunism and exploitation by the outsiders. Together with Republicans, they are said to have politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for varying periods for their own financial and power gains. In sum, carpetbaggers were seen as insidious Northern outsiders with questionable objectives meddling in local politics, buying up plantations at fire-sale prices and taking advantage of Southerners. (Source : Wikipedia)
May the president’s wrath be upon the carpetbaggers as well
Now, I couldn’t help thinking about President Robert Mugabe’s repeated statements against corruption which are obviously resonating with many of us. It’s disgusting how fortunes are made overnight just because of someone’s proximity to power and position. Now I wish that the diamond polishing plant they are setting up in Mt Hampden in Mashonaland may not be built there. Instead, it must be built in Manicaland.
This makes sense to me given the unnecessary transport costs involved in transporting the diamond ore from Chiadzwa in Manicaland to Mashonaland. Let the factory be set up where the diamonds are mined and let our children there be employed there. I would further recommend that Mutare Polytechnic institute jewellery design and diamond polishing courses so the community’s artistically inclined children can be benefit from their natural endowments. In short, can it found out how a people remain scraping for crumbs when God has blessed them.
Children are our future
In the song The Greatest love of all, the late Whitney Houston sang that the children are our future and it was heart warming to read an e-mail about a bright Binga girl receiving a full scholarship to study in the United States from my colleague Sizani Weza. The girl, Chiza Ngachize Mwinde received a $61 000 per year for four years scholarship to study at Smith College, a top women’s college in the United States.
After receiving exceptional passes in her ‘O’ levels, she participated in the United States Achievers Programme, an initiative of the United States Embassy Education Advising Centre designed to assist academically gifted, but economically disadvantaged students.
“It is very hard for students in Binga to know, let alone, get such opportunities because of our geographic location which is far away from the big cities and because of the fact that most of our parents never got the exposure beyond what is happening in Binga,” Chiza is quoted as saying in the e-mail.
It takes a village to raise a child
The eighteen year old former Guinea Fowl High School student was part of the group that attended the Careers Fair held at Binga Government High School on February 28 where she outlined how students in the remote town of Matabeleland North can attain her feat.
The Career Guidance Fair was initiated by Binga High School alumnus and former student in the United States, Dominic Muntanga to give students access to opportunities to learn more about career options as well as provide networking and mentorship opportunities between students and professionals.
Chiza leaves in early August. In the mean, she spends most of her time teaching science and mathematics at Manjolo Secondary School, about 25 kilometres from Binga town. Schools in Binga lack qualified teachers who prefer the major cities and towns.
Another success story from Mpopoma High School
May I also mention that a local company Econet is also to be commended for the sterling work it is doing in awarding thousands of talented young Zimbabwean kids scholarships to further their education.
One such child is Hazel Sibanda a former Mpopoma High School alumnus and winner of the Intwasa High Schools drama contest’s best actress category in 2012 who is currently undertaking her law studies at the University of Zimbabwe.
The girl is a precocious young talent and will definitely go very far in her chosen career. With the scholarship, she has wind beneath her wings and we are rooting for her.
US Embassy honours Black History Month Young Writers
The United States Embassy has announced five winners of the fourth annual Black History Month Essay Contest. The national winners are:
- First — Zibusiso Mtunzi from John Tallach High (Bulawayo),
- Second — Rutendo Madziwo from Monte Cassino Girl’s High (Macheke),
- Third — Ruvimbo Dzurumi from Hellenic High (Harare),
- Fourth — Amanda Machingura from Guinea Fowl High (Gweru);
- Fifth — Ennie Soromei from Kyle College (Masvingo).
The five ranked top out of roughly 60 finalist essays submitted from over 30 schools from all 10 Provinces in Zimbabwe and received certificates signed by Ambassador D Bruce Wharton, African American literature and history books, as well as gift bags of prizes.
Each school received sets of Zimbabwean English and vernacular literature published by Weaver Press.
Zimbabwe, I am now convinced, is a rich country but the money is currently in all the wrong hands. May all the looters surrender their largesse to fund our children’s education and our cultural industries.