You just have to marvel at us Zimbabweans! Perhaps it is in our stars, nature, our culture and education, but you cannot miss the creativity and adaptability of the people.
The best attribute is the ability to laugh away our misery and troubles — to laugh off hardship as if it were comfort — and generally cope with whatever is thrown at us by the gods.
And, where we encounter a situation, pose as experts and thus thrive therein. Or to hook upon a fad and live it up until a new one comes up: a fashion, a joke, a trend — and in the new nomenclature — a meme!
But let me leave the rest to those with specialty in ethnography. I haven’t said I am an expert in the field, by the way. But that does not prevent us from noticing and indeed remarking on some elementary and rather trite points. You may know that the high political noon is upon us.
Zimbabwe, being a political nation, is witnessing a lot of activity in that ambit by way of the formation of political parties, statements from existing parties, hallucinations of political morons and, best of all, quite euphonious theses couched in lofty verbiage all captured in catchy acronyms.
We all have heard about Zim-Asset.
We have heard about JUICE.
Tendai Biti and his band gave us ARREST and HOPE (the former standing for “Agenda for the Restoration and Rehabilitation of the Electoral Sustainability” and the latter “Holistic Programme for Economic Transformation”).
It is now in the public domain that a group that appears to be led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru recently gave us the “Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development” (BUILD) manifesto.
Could there be a more creative nation than us?
Add to that mix the postulation, permutation and speculation on alliances and coalitions which, from the look of things, can be of everyone with anyone all with the intent of a certain political outcome.
The story is much intra-party as interparty.
The ruling Zanu-PF party never ceases to provide drama, what with some natural actors in its ranks, while on the other hand it cannot help being the central player in this polity.
But who can fault Zimbabweans for all this political rigmarole?
We all think politics is the be-all-end-all.
Perhaps we are right, after all.
Was it not Aristotle who taught us that politics is the master science?
So, dear reader, in the middle of this maze, someone bright enough like all of us Zimbabweans had a brilliant idea: perhaps we need a white man, preferably a former colonist, to bring us to the higher glory we seek!
A newspaper hunted down one David Coltart (or is it vice versa?), a lawyer and former Education minister David who helpfully told us that “whites have a role to play in Zimbabwe’s politics”.
We do not quite remember when they were ever banned.
In fact, one song actually noted with nationalist regret that whites shunned all important national events and functions.
However, David Coltart proclaimed: “Whites have a role to play — every citizen has a role to play — in the politics of Zimbabwe, so long as we remember the role that we have played in creating the bitterness that exists in the country. In other words whites who have an agenda of re-creating Rhodesia belong to another age and cannot make a useful contribution to politics.
“Whilst they have a constitutional right to pursue their own agenda — so I am not saying they can’t — that sort of involvement is not constructive. However, those whites who have a vision for a tolerant, multi-racial, democratic and free Zimbabwe have an important role to play.”
We are not too sure if Coltart is not one of those yearning for the return of Rhodesia, alongside the likes of Eddie Cross.
You see, they are the guys you always find with the bold writing of “Rhodie” on their foreheads and they are typically called as such.
How it came into the mind of this particular newspaper to conclude that whites are our saviours is not clear.
But it is to be expected.
It is called mental colonisation and some people have not been cured of the disease, which is worse than chains — chains of slavery.
But one cannot escape Coltart’s obvious relish at the prospect of becoming a knight in shining armour.
He is even thinking of a civilising mission, or in Kipling’s language, the White Man’s Burden.
For those of us who are uninitiated, Rudyard Kipling was a British novelist and poet.
He wrote the poem, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands”, in 1899 urging the US to take up the burden of empire, as had Britain and other European nations.
It is accounted that Theodore Roosevelt, soon to become vice-president and then president, copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, commenting that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.”
It has been noted historically that from then on, the “White Man’s burden” became a euphemism for imperialism.
The poem contains lines like these:
“Send forth the best ye breed/Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need/To wait in heavy harness/On fluttered folk and wild
Your new-caught, sullen peoples/Half devil and half child
Take up the White Man’s burden/In patience to abide”
It is not surprising that such people as Coltart would like to take up what they imagine could be the “White Man’s Burden”.
What is actually surprising is that some black folk out there think we need white gods to save us.
By the way these are the same devils we defeated only yesterday.
They are the people who stole from us, confiscated our land and animals, raped and killed us.
For his own part, David Coltart is said to have been part of the murderous Selous Scouts.
How can somebody think that Coltart can be the face of our liberators?
No, it can’t!
We are better off with our own ‘devils’!
But then, who can stop a Zimbabwean from thinking and probing?