Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Headline news

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I’ve just spent a week in Las Vegas. Not my first choice of destination but an award ceremony took me there. As a Zimbabwean I got a variety of comments, like:

- Zimbabwe? You don’t live there do you?

- What’s in your bag – all your money?

- Ag shame man, how do you cope?

When I checked into my hotel I was charmed by the young receptionist who looked at my passport, and then at me, and exclaimed:

No Way! When I was at high school my friends and I used to talk about where we wanted to visit and I always said Zimbabwe because it sounded cool and I didn’t know where it was.


Then at a clothing store when I handed over my ID, the sales assistant said she’d quite like to live in a place like Zimbabwe. But she changed her mind when I said that there wasn’t a Starbucks.

One of the aspects that I found difficult traveling as a Zimbabwean was how I became so identified as Zimbabwe the country and all that’s wrong with it. Whilst it is certainly appropriate that horrified looks accompany any mention of Zimbabwe, because of the truly appalling situation here, I’m looking forward to the day when our country isn’t headline news because of violence and sadness.

The vast amount of email that I came home to revolved around the high levels of violence that we Zimbabweans are experiencing. The violence is being orchestrated by Zanu PF. But in The Standard published on 25th May, there’s a full page advertisement placed by the ruling party which says that Mugabe’s fist is against white imperialism, not against Zimbabweans. Apparently, according to Zanu PF, “support comes from persuasion not from pugilism”.

The kind of persuasion that cuts off a person’s lips, and cuts out their tongue? This is what was inflicted on Tonderai Ndira, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist who was abducted, tortured and murdered recently.

One comment to “Headline news”

  1. Comment by Amani:

    Sadly, African affairs do not register on the average American’s radar. I promise you, not all of us are so ignorant!