David Mungoshi Shelling the Nuts
It’s all over now. The four-yearly carnival is over and done with, and France are World champions.
Much as I hate to have to say it, France continues to reap a rich harvest from its neo-colonial ventures.
Social media people have been circulating the following list of names together with their places of origin:
- Presnel Kimpembe (Congo)
- Samuel Umtiti (Cameroon)
- Paul Pogba (Guinea)
- Kylian Mbappe (Cameroon)
- Ousmane Dembele (Senegal)
- Corentin Tolisso (Togo)
- N’golo Kante (Mali)
- Blaise Matuidi (Angola)
- Steven Nzonzi (DRC)
- Steve Mandanda (DRC)
- Adil Rami (Morocco)
- Nabil Fekir(Algeria)
- Djibril Sidibe (Senegal)
- Benjamin Mendy (Senegal)
We see from the list that the so-called French team is largely African. Something is wrong somewhere.
Why are stars from the DRC on the French team? Their country has no colonial ties with France, except indirectly through language. Angola speaks Portuguese!
African players must learn from Croatia, Serbia and even Brazil (with the exception of Diego Costa).
Players from these countries play international football at club level, but are proudly always available for selection into their national teams.
France is infamous for its suppression of African nations and for seizing the proceeds from their resources for her own benefit.
Thus, until France can be made to let go of Africa, decolonisation will remain incomplete. What is saddening in all this is French-speaking Africa’s complicity in its own subjugation.
Sekou Toure and Thomas Sankara are turning in their graves.
I have no problem with straight cases of emigration and naturalisation, or when a player wanting to participate at the very highest level of the football prism takes advantage of FIFA provisions that make that possible, especially when they see that back home they probably have no chance of making it into the team.
Diego Costa is a case in point. His bustling style of football is not Brazilian, so he plays for Spain instead.
So every four years we go through the same cycle of hope and enervating disappointment.
African teams crash out as usual and African players excel for non-African countries like France and willy-nilly we applaud our impoverishment by celebrating the “French” win.
In all seriousness, we ought to try for some litigation before the next World Cup in 2022. We must make a case for TeamAfrica, a continental team of select African players.
The jokes doing the rounds now are about males surrendering the TV remote control to the lady of the house and to the children. It appears that there will now be order once again and we can all get back to a recognisable routine once more. Till the next World Cup of course!
The interesting thing is that as we grow older and slip into the next dimension of existence, those that once were children become the mothers and fathers of the day.
They become the fundis, the leaders, the gurus and the luminaries of the day. There will be other Ginimbis and other Captain Fiascos in time.
Everything returns to the beginning; it goes back to where it all started and those whose world it then is, marvel anew at old familiar things re-packaged. That is how life goes.
We take our turn in the queue. And we hum in unison to that haunting melody from Tom Jones about funny, familiar and forgotten feelings.
We, yesterday’s children, are today’s greybeards. We walk around and exhibit our stiff gaits and our flowing beards. We have earned the right to squint at people due to the failing light in our eyes.
How surreptitiously time passes! I remember being at school and being naughty with other boys when the carpentry teacher was not watching.
But who knows? He probably knew and let us think he didn’t because no harm was done. Anyway, it was a popular pastime to fashion makeshift wooden smoking pipes in the carpentry shop and to stuff them with shavings that we then lit.
The pipes would then look like we had really had some tobacco in them.
Each naughty boy then took joy in biting the fake pipe and pretending to draw on it. If you were lucky, you came across a few boys with “pipes” in the corners of their mouths, and if you were luckier still, you saw and heard them speak from the corners of these mouths of theirs, the way seasoned adult smokers of the ngidi did.
What a drag it is getting old, one might say. You leave behind the games and pranks from the years of your sweet innocence. And it all seems to have been so very long ago when you did these things.
I used to say mudhara wangu (my old man), when talking about my father, the very engaging and sporty, Mr Luke Bhunu Mungoshi. My father was at one time chairman of the Mazezuru Boxing Club of Bulawayo from which came the likes of the stylish lightweight boxer popularly known as Antony, and later the loquacious Ringo Starr who liked aping Ali, the Louisville lip.
After a stunning loss to Kid Power (Constable Mutambisi), the then Light-Heavyweight champion of Zimbabwe, and feeling that he should have won (being a heavyweight himself), Ringo Starr in his acquired American drawl said, “Man, he’s a bad guy, man. He can’t beat me. I’m the people’s champion.”
This Ringo Starr was one of ours, and not one from The Beatles. I remember him frothing at the mouth from the centre of the ring, resplendent in an expensive boxing robe. Rumour had it that his American “chick” had furnished him with it.
These are the oddities our celebrities seem to thrive on. And we, the lesser human beings, must drool and marvel. We get to feel that in the presence of these special people, we acquire the privilege of breathing with them the rarefied air that only they can conjure.
My children now call me Mudhara. Yet I recently heard my nine-year old grandson make reference to “his” old man.
The times they are a-changing, Bob Dylan says, but everything remains the same. It is just a matter of nuances.
Those complaining today about the inaccessibility of the “remote” during the World Cup will be doing the very same thing one day – monopolising the remote when it is FIFA World Cup time.
That we all duplicate each other’s experiences in some way or other goes without saying. That mundane fact is the source of such perceptions as are associated with Bakhtin and those who think like him.
According to these sages, originality is a myth and we all mine from the same shaft of life.
That’s putting it very simply of course, but the beauty of all truth is that it usually is very simple. The tragedy lies in our wilful blindness to it. We choose not to see what is right there before our very own eyes.
Our people say, “Takabvako, Kumhunga hakunapwa.”
In other words, no matter what it is anyone may be going through at any given moment in time, it is never really new.
Someone else somewhere is going through the very same or worse. That reminds me of the look of consternation on my granddaughter’s face following what I said when I heard her sing:
A-mina, amina kadeya
Simoreya, amina wandishamisa
P.O. Box Marondera, Marondera
When I told Mazoe (a nickname of hers derived from the incident at birth when her mother, alarmed by the delay in her lactation, tried to feed the newly-born infant with Mazoe Orange Crush) that her mother, like her, had at some time in the past played the same game with her friends and done the same engaging routine with her palms and her wiggling, she looked absolutely incredulous.
I made things worse by telling her about the rest of the children’s games that her mother had played and which her grandmother too had played. Lesson to be learned: there may be nothing new under God’s heaven.
Spoil-sport, some will clamour. They probably have a case too, I dare say. At the level of the individual, each person experiences what they experience for the first time as a fresh and new thing.
It matters not that others are already familiar with the experience. That is the beauty of life and of it all. Duplication does not kill our zest for life.
Meanwhile, we continue to say the big one is coming and that the inevitable must happen for Africa.
A team from Africa will be world champions, like cannibalistic France, one day. That dream, however, remains elusive, like the hallucination of a black Pope at the Vatican. We who live in hope, wax lyrical nevertheless, and chant:
The big one is coming
It is on the horizon
That natural canvas
On which passion and hope
Linger and dance shyly
Demure in their reticence
With hope, focus and fresh resolve it must all happen one day, unless the dice are loaded