If anything, Zimbabwe’s winning contestant in the 2011 edition of Africa’s most popular reality TV show, Big Brother Amplified (BBA), Wendall Parson, has proved beyond doubt that Zimbabweans have not been corrupted by the legacy of politically motivated racial hatred.
Against a background of what most Zimbabweans felt was rigging in last year’s BBA competition, it is not surprising that Zimbabweans from different walks of life are celebrating the wine. As the losing finalist, Munyaradzi Chidzonga put it, it was time that a Zimbabwean won the reality show.
Over the years of participating in the competition, Zimbabwean contestants have proved they have sharp acumen and can hold their own against any other nationailities on the continent.
Judging from all the contestants, it is beyond doubt that Zimbabwe are strong contenders.
Most importantly, Parson’s win proves that Zimbabweans can honour their own in spite of race, colour or creed as social networks such as Facebook, and the micro-blogging site, Twitter, have been abuzz with Zimbabweans congratulating Parson for making the cut in the popular contest.
Hate speech, especially against white people, has been a bane to Zimbabwean society. The impact that hate speech can have on society, especially if a large amount of people believe in the hate speech being transmitted, can be atrocious.
In comparison to the other Zimbabwean contestant, Vimbai Mutinhiri, Parson is just as equally Zimbabwean — after all, they went to the same schools and he has spent more time in the country. He also exhibited a down-to-earth character and humility which is a typical trait of being Zimbabwean.
The impact that Parson will have on the rest of the world is to show that Zimbabweans do not necessarily harbour any racist tendencies as has been projected in some media quarters, both locally and internationally. Also, it proves that the world is slowly warming up to Zimbabwe, in spite of its oddities.
From writers, to models to Big Brother contestants, Zimbabweans must continue to celebrate positive successes. Such celebration must not be blinded by myopic notions of race, tribe or creed.
In fact, Zimbabwe has become a cosmopolitan society made up of people with different backgrounds.
Instead of our diversity becoming a source of weakness or a tool in the hands of wily politicians, Zimbabweans must learn to both celebrate and build upon it. The problem is that contests such as BBA — while they build a sense of national camaraderie – are fleeting and will be forgotten.
It is our hope that politicians will not jump on the bandwagon and use Parson to whip up for their failing fortunes.
From Chidzonga’s experience, this trick will certainly not resonate with the majority of Zimbabweans. The biggest question is: What will Parson get, if we can give a runner-up $300 000 and diamonds?
How much more should our country’s first winner in the seven years of the competition get especially someone who comes from a community that has been ostracised?
Already some people are beginning to dismiss Parson’s win simply because he is white, but just like swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry, he has indeed taken the Zimbabwean flag to a new level.