The art of cowardice


Considering the new wave of xenophobic attacks against black Zimbabweans, some black South Africans now have to concede that they are a brood of insecure, spineless cowards. I have literally grown up with these cowards, lived with them in exile, attended conferences with them, drank and shopped with them in their fancy boulevards and arcades.
Under that veneer of happy-go-lucky hypocrisy, their limited intellect seethes with nothing but venomous contempt for other Africans, especially us Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Zambians and Malawians.
You encounter sales assistants in South African shops and all you see is contemptuous hatred in their eyes, spite for your money as they peer suspiciously at it as if it has been puked by a dragon. Even when I check into five-star hotels at Rosebank, I have to grope around for ideal seating while the receptionists scurry around for the attention of Japanese guests in anticipation of a miserly tip. I guess we need to appreciate that their Ubuntu deserted them as a result of three hundred years of plunder and mental abuse by the Boers.
To them, anything white is God-sent. But I have good news for the enlightened few; it is only an insecure, good-for-nothing pea brain that would kill someone solely on the basis of ethnicity. Just like Hitler, Amin, Stalin, Bokassa and Sadam Hussein, Paul Kagame, Zanu PF hooligans in June 2008 et al – xenophobic South Africans are a pathetic excuse for humans.
This week, I hear, is national science week in that country, but sad to say, xenophobia is not rocket science, otherwise there would have been a genius from some village high school in Tlokoyandou with a perfect wonder cure. Unfortunately, it is neither a medical condition nor physical deformity, but plain stupidity. I guess I am asking for too much to expect an average primary school dropout from Soweto to notice how the world has moved ahead riding the wave of human diversity. Sadly, there are millions of such second grade humans in that country, from the dry lands of Limpopo to the wet sands of The Cape.
These idle minds are too busy worrying about where to get their next glass of home-brewed bear; pondering which shebeen will be first to play the next big Kwaito song, instead of creating own jobs. Their obsession is what Zimbabwean stud sc***s which South African woman, and what sort of punishment matches the “transgression”. If they had a morsel of intellect, I would remind them that the world’s best civilisation – United States of America – is a potpourri of ethnic diversity. If Americans had continued agonising on how to perfect Adolph Hitler’s poisonous doctrine of Aryan purity, they would still be living in tin shacks and using bucket toilets in New York like South Africans do in Khayelitsha! Good gracious me, which planet has these clowns tumbled from?
Considering that in the 1990s, scores of Zimbabweans lost their lives and property harbouring these social rejects, the blame lies purely on the African National Congress’s (ANC) political ideology of false promises. But unlike our own Marxist-Leninist dunderheads in Harare, true ANC cadres no longer beat up those who do not agree with them. The remnant legion of Zimbabwean-haters thrives on a mentality of cowardice and fear, and then convinces equally gullible neighbours that poverty is caused by African aliens. The net result? Xenophobia.
Fear and cowardice are the twin evils of African politics. Here in Zimbabwe, after thirty years of violent repression, a typical Zimbabwean will not say much against political order or any system for that matter without glancing over their shoulder. The consequences are devastating. We have become so accustomed to service delivery abuse that mediocrity and compliance are now part of the menu of our social behaviour. Last week NewsDay received an avalanche of comments from readers on my outburst of Econets’s declining customer service. It is easy to be a cult leader in this part of the world! The serious side of this observation is how Zimbabweans wait for someone to say something, and they join with a “we knew it all along” chorus. Fear and cowardice mentality!
This reminds me of a politician called Dzikamai Mavhaire who, at the height of Zanu PF’s one party state euphoria in the 1990s, bravely defied all political odds and said something to the effect: “Mugabe must go; he should give way to new party leadership.” There was inevitably immediate recrimination and excommunication from his delusionary party, but he became an instant cult hero in the “alternative movement”. As you read this rebellious treatise, twelve million consumers of progressive political ideology would want to show Mugabe the flashing political exit, but we have had absolutely no clue on how to go about this noble democratic exercise since 1985. Villagers have been pummelled into prostrate submission while urbanites are routinely reduced to dysfunctional robots that worry too much about day- to-day survival at the expense of long-term political wisdom.
At petrol service stations, councils, churches, schools, public buses – Zimbabwean citizens are abused, but the most they can do is to wait and see, hoping that the next day will bring better tidings. Grocery supermarkets compel us to buy merchandise we do not need because they stock no loose change, and we take this punishment without so much as twitching an eyebrow. Are we cabbages or what! No wonder South Africans and Tswanas trample on us – we have learnt – or rather more accurately, Zanu-PF has taught us to take a beating with a smile. In the crowded lounges of London, Washington and Sidney, Zimbabwean Diaspora cower behind superficial self-reassurance that it is impossible to return home and rid ourselves of the myopic scourge of Zanu PF politics: “Hee bakithi, sizophindela njani ekhaya uMugabe esabusa?” (No translation please, Mr Editor. If someone cannot read this simple Ndebele phrase, they are on the wrong planet).
My advice to the ANC government is that xenophobic attacks on my countrymen are not an illusion, but direct result of false promises of jobs and housing. Those attacking Zimbabweans will have to wait another hundred years before a government can deliver jobs. Governments do not deliver, they devour. For my fellow citizens in Alexander, Kya Sands, Soweto and England – I say swallow your pride, rid yourselves of fear and return home to fight against fascism. The battle is about to be won.

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