HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsA tonne of talent, arrested development

A tonne of talent, arrested development

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What were you doing last Sunday? Remember last Sunday? It was blazing hot, with scorching temperatures, and no sign of rain on the horizon.

So chances are you were lying down in a shady spot, sipping on something cooling and thanking your lucky stars that you didn’t have to be out in the heat.

Well, that’s really nice for you. I, on the other hand, did have to go out. I braved the heat and made my way to Chitungwiza with a bunch of near strangers.

Luckily for me they were all very nice people and when we got to Dzudzai School I got even luckier. I got to hear, live and direct, the Chitungwiza Harmony Singers rehearsing for a big performance.

What a treat that turned out to be!
Zimbabwe really does have a wealth of talent, not the least of which is demonstrated by the heavenly music produced (all performed a cappella, by the way) by the Chitungwiza Harmony singers.

I’ve not been to heaven and at this rate who knows what my chances of getting in are, but I imagine the sounds coming out of there will be just like the sounds produced by these amazingly gifted folks.

The one thing that makes me sad about them though, is the fact that not enough people within Zimbabwe have enjoyed their talents. If you have never heard the Chitungwiza Harmony Singers, then I dare say you have not fully lived.

These people are awesome. Humble as anything and most unassuming, but when they open their mouths in one accord — wow! They will blow you away.

You may be one of the lucky people who are invited to the NewsDay People’s Choice Awards dinner, in which case you will get to sample this incredible choir while at the same time celebrating an altogether different kind of talent.

The NewsDay People’s Choice Awards celebrates ordinary Zimbabweans who have gone out of their way to help others in their communities.

While many of us are facing social, economic and personal challenges, there are, however, people who are doing extraordinary things to help others and who contribute to their communities in various meaningful ways.

The NewsDay People’s Choice Awards is an awards programme that seeks to reward the unsung heroes in our communities, by allowing NewsDay readers to identify them, giving them prominence and presenting them with resources to enable them to extend their reach.

Judging by the hundreds of entries received, there is no shortage of people in Zimbabwe who demonstrate a spirit of volunteerism and who selflessly seek the welfare of others before profit. It’s a different kind of gift and one we should be proud of.

While we are on the subject of national pride, how cool is it that the Warriors beat Bafana Bafana this week!

Of course the South Africans may cite the failure of our floodlights which prevented them from completing their training session on Monday night, and rightly so, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that we feel extremely pleased with our national team.

In view of the contempt with which our southern neighbours generally regard us, I reckon we acquitted ourselves well.

While the Warriors were doing us proud on the football pitch there was disappointment and despair at Harare Central Police Station as two of our colleagues from The Standard were charged with theft and criminal defamation and locked up for the night.

Nqaba Matshazi is an award-winning journalist who recently won an award for reporting on children’s issues and Nevanji Madanhire is a seasoned journalist, editor and published writer. If you are looking for talent, you are bound to find it in one of our newsrooms.

Just a few weeks ago, we were celebrating the fact that The Standard journalists, under the editorship of Madanhire, scooped five top awards at the annual National Journalistic and Media Awards.

The tragedy is that as with many facets of life in Zimbabwe the talents in our journalism community are expected to go largely untapped because of fear of reprisal.

The term arrested development in its original sense refers to a condition in which physical growth in the human body stops before someone reaches adulthood.

One can’t help thinking that in each of the scenarios highlighted in this piece, there is an element of arrested development of an altogether different kind.

We boast such talent in the arts, as evidenced by the multiple award-winning Chitungwiza Harmony Singers, but not enough is done to promote and celebrate them.

We have a football team that shows promise, but simple issues like floodlights on the football pitch are just a small example of the many challenges they face.

We have recognised journalists and editors who must work in fear because they can never be sure of what will happen once they publish.

While Alpha Media Holdings has launched the NewsDay Peoples Choice Awards in an effort to promote the positives in our society, and while we recognise that a few other people and corporates are also making complementary efforts, there is so much more that needs to be done before we can really begin to flourish; before we can make arrested development a part of our history rather than our present.

Thembe Sachikonye writes in her personal capacity.

Readers’ comments can be sent to

localdrummer@newsday.co.zw. Follow Thembe on www.twitter/localdrummer

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