A parable of talents

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In many ways the story of Zimbabwe is very much like the famous parable of the talents.

The parable of the talents tells the story of a man who went away for some time, leaving his servants with various quantities of talents (equivalent of cash in modern times).

Two of the servants invested their talents and doubled the original investment, but the one who had been given the least simply hid the talents away for safekeeping. On his return, the master rewarded the two servants who had invested their money and punished the one who hadnt.

Laden with riches, resources, skills and all manner of wealth, our nation awaits the fulfilment of all that promise to its people. One wonders whether we are in fact similar to the servant who was given just one talent and decided it was so precious that he should put it away until the rightful owner came back to get it. Experts tell us that a talent in those days was equivalent to a years worth of wages for an ordinary servant.

I can imagine the poor guy thinking, Heish, this here is a lot of money. Best I make sure I dont lose it or the boss will fire me! I like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous person and I want to believe I would have been one of the two who took the plunge and put the bucks to good use, hoping for high returns.

But still, I see where the man was coming from. I mean who wants to mess around with other peoples money? (OK, dont answer that!)

While we are talking about talent, last week I attended a production of Harares Got Talent 4 held at Reps Theatre. After the first act I thought to myself: If this show is a measure of the citys talent then we will have to conclude that Harare does not in fact have talent!

Fortunately, however, things did improve and the audience was able to enjoy a variety of singing and dancing numbers and even one would-be comedian. I guess the moral of that story is one has to try, no matter what anyone else says. If you think you have a gift, you should go out there and share it.

Who knows, you might actually edify someone with it.
I was certainly impressed by a young lady called Briony Pasipanodya, doing a Tracy Chapman number. Poised, polished and professional, she is definitely the one to watch in my opinion.

Similarly Emmanuel Nyaume, a young Mozambican guy, did such a brilliant rendition of Michael Jacksons dance moves that the audience was left quite breathless.

What a pity he wasnt allowed even to say hello on account of not being able to speak English. Two hip-hop dance groups (RolX and the Diplomats) also wowed the crowds, while pale, pretty and pure 14-year- old pop/country singer Cara Ann left us filled with nostalgia and all the sweet feelings that country music engenders.

In the Christian faith the parable of the talents is generally used as an exhortation to encourage believers to use their talents to serve God and his followers.

In many churches this is extended to include using ones personal aptitudes and endowments as well as possessions. Many Christians interpret this parable to mean stewards are supposed to take risks and that not to do so is not to be faithful to Gods purpose for us.

The masters scolding to the risk-averse steward include the words wicked and lazy slave and this reminds me of an article I read later in the week on the Times Live website titled, You lazy intellectuals (www.timeslive.co.za)

The author of the article (a Zambian medical practitioner living and working overseas) recounts a conversation he had with an American in which the latter accuses educated Africans of being lazy intellectuals who spend more time in bars and on golf courses than they do applying their minds to help their countrymen.

He raises the point that in villages all across Africa poor and uneducated Africans work hard doing menial work that should long since have been mechanized. He charges that the educated elites should have borrowed ideas from the West and used their intellect to support their local communities.

You dont care about your country and yet your own parents, brothers and sisters are in villages, all of them living in squalor.

This is not really a new argument and my colleagues have already commented on the article in this very paper.

What interests me, however, is the parallels between this parable and the story of Zimbabwe and the parable of the talents.

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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