The play Pane Nyaya (loosely translated all is not well), by Aaron Chiundura Moyo, has attracted different reactions from readers because of some of its controversial subjects that do not sit easily with the reality of Zimbabwean life.
Pane Nyaya is a cynical critique of a contemporary society in which teachers, just like the majority of civil servants) are paid peanuts and children are granted previously unheard of liberties.
Moyo captures a generation that has been turned inside out by moral decadence and poor parenting values, gross unprofessionalism by teachers.
While Moyo spares the police his wrath, portraying them as somewhat clean, certain sectors of society will obviously have a bone to chew with him regarding that as some accuse them of having also jumped into the bandwagon of corruption.
Moyo also looks deeper into the long-running social cancer of “sugar-daddies” and “sugar-mummies”.
School children and their teachers engage in wanton sexual affairs and Moyo decries the unprecedented depths to which the once-noble profession has sunk.
And the cheekiness of the modern youths! Here Tafadzwa is captured boasting that she had an affair with her teacher while she was still in Form 2, and now, two years later, she has since “entrapped” an assortment of different men in her love snail.
The million dollar question is: why has the Zimbabwean society degenerated so terribly! First, it takes the student to blame for lack of self-control, lack of respect for the teacher and probably the parent for lack of strict moral guidance.
Tafadzwa’s boasting is a clear indication that she knows what she’s doing and, in a way, the reader feels she is the predator rather than the victim!
Chasemore, one of the notorious students says she would do everything it takes to seduce a teacher until he falls for her.
But, as Moyo shows, such teachers need to beware as such actions can spell the end of their jobs! In a way, however, Moyo seems to suggest that these could be symptoms of a demoralised, underpaid teacher.
It is not surprising; therefore, that Mr. Gibbs, one of the teachers, is perplexed when he finds out Tafadzwa owns a phone (which he cannot afford!). The teacher actually borrows a phone from the students and this redefines the teacher-student relationship.
The issue of children who commute to school is another case in point. Is the parent aware of what happens between the times the child leave home for school and knock off.
Some school girls engage in sexual relationships with rank marshals and omnibus operators in exchange for material goods.
The rate at which students lose morality, succumb to peer influence, engage in multiple sexual partnerships is not only alarming but tragic as well. In most cases, students jeopardise their careers and risk contrasting HIV like what eventually happens to Chasemore and Tafadzwa.
The playwright also hits out at students who lie to their parents that are going for extra lessons when they will be gallivanting in beer halls and night clubs.
Moyo is also takes issue with modern youths’ general lack of respect for elders. In the past, and in the African society, a parent was a figure who deserved respect from any child and could institute punishment for misbehaviour by any child.
But here children, as shown through Tafadzwa stand up to grown ups, claiming that they will not take advice or a beating from anybody other than their biological parent, or else they would retaliate.
Although the play raises more questions than answers, the long and short of Aaron Chiundura Moyo’s offering is that the young generation needs moral guidance. Parents need to understand their children by closing the generation gap.