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Protest poet pens social satire

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Mzingaye Dube, a local exponent of protest poetry, has come up with a hard-hitting story that talks about Zimbabwe’s past economic and political turmoil.

Entitled Zimbabwean Blues, the story — which Dube narrated in a performance during a recent press conference at Bulawayo Agenda — revolves around the life of a character called Charlie, 18 months after the signing of the Global Political Agreement by Zimbabwe’s three main political parties.

Through narration, Dube recounts how he meets a long lost friend at a garage just after the economic crisis in 2009. The two meet in a pick-up truck and his friend Charlie, wonders why Dube goes around carrying a large number of books.

“I am an engineer,” he tells his friend, “a social engineer.”

“A Charlie is also somebody who stuck around here during the economic and political crisis from 2002 up to 2009. Those are real heroes for they went through untold suffering,” he says as he tells his story, sometimes quickly and slowing down in other instances to deliver words in poetic form.

“I seek answers via Zimbabwean Blues, the answers that pertain to who led the country to sink into that dark pit. I lost my wife to a tout during the crisis as she was finding it difficult to commute to work. She then fell for the tout so that she could have free transport. Whenever I see touts, I remember my wife,” he recounts in the story, punctuated by comedy and serious drama.

Dube’s story then turns political. He talks about what has been referred to as Black Friday, when the Zimbabwe dollar crashed in 2007. He also talks about the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme.

“Thabo Mbeki also visited us frequently but said Zimbabwe should handle its own problems,” he says.

“Then we had Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Murambatsvina and Anna Tibaijuka came to tour the destroyed homes,” he said.

“Zimbabwean Blues is a calling to say no to violence. We must all unequivocally say no to violence. It must not decide our destiny,” he said.

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