Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Munya’s compensation for depression

TOP del.icio.us

I had told myself I was not going to comment on the Zimbabwe Big Brother candidate – Munyaradzi Chidzonga’s loss conundrum. I mean, enough criticism already. However, for someone who supported the state’s parting with $1.8 million for the Warriors-Samba Boys friendly, I have recently been accused of hypocrisy for not supporting the Munya (as he is affectionately known) money initiative by some close friends. I have defended the former by saying; at least over 40 thousand people were involved, versus just one person. But that is fodder for another post.

When I watched the unprecedented meet with the president on the news yesterday, I was motivated to highlight that the kerfuffle around Munya and his subsequent reception of 300 thousand USD in ‘compensation fees to cushion him against depression’ served at least one good purpose for me; the opportunity to witness our leaders demonstrate their ability to raise big funds in a considerably short space of time.

One word from a flaky professor and another from an obscure land tycoon and just like that, on a whim, thousands were raised in less than a week. If this were to be done on a sustained basis for more meaningful things, imagine what that would do for our country’s development. Imagine what 300 thousand can do for the non-working traffic lights and potholes littering Harare’s streets; hundreds of needless deaths would be avoided. Imagine what a similar initiative would add to the lives of the displaced folk living and scavenging like animals at Borrowdale race course…

Hopefully none of that money was donated from the collective taxpayers’ pocket.

As I watched the news, I vaguely couldn’t help drawing thin parallels between the big rush for the ‘Diamond boy’ and the diesel n’anga circus. Quite an embarrassment to see such big men getting caught up in such silly things. As someone I know would say it, it just somehow feels super-stupid.

When the First Spin Crowd set to work, the Munya fundraising campaign seemed to suddenly precipitate into something of a publicity gimmick masquerading under the guise of wish granting, with Munya in the centre as the oblivious pawn. Words like youth empowerment, sovereignty, and son of the soil interestingly found their way into the President’s speech at the colourful reception at state house. Talk about grabbing slight opportunities.

And who would have thought Gushungo was a fan or even had the time to watch Big Brother. Perhaps we can put this down to the work of an excellent briefing by the First Spin Crowd, who are we kidding? But one thing is for certain, they conveniently neglected to inform the president that the son of the soil had just come back from a house that harboured totemless, nicotine addicted youths among which were women who often kissed each other full on the mouth. The First Homophobe would have rather died than be remotely associated with such.

For the icing on the cake; asked (Big Brother style) what he was going to do with all that cash, the ever grinning young man looked into the camera and said, “I’m going to use the bulk of it to market and promote my movie,” referring to some obscure production in which he featured, that we are yet to know the full details of. Let’s just say it was a relief to know that speech was going to end and that he was courteous enough not to abuse the redundant and clichéd charity card. Now that would have defeated the whole idea, wouldn’t it?

13 comments to “Munya’s compensation for depression”

  1. Comment by Delta:

    This is definitely well-said Natasha! You couldn’t have put it in a more succinct way. Serious grand standing there and Munya being a pawn a bigger international stage where Zimbabwe gets to show that it will damn well reward itself and do so to the tune of USD$300k!!!
    My, it certainly says a lot about our priorities… (or lack thereof) – when did reality TV become such a big deal in the bigger picture of this continent’s very real and ever-present dire challenges, not to mention Zimbabwe’s own more pressing matters like the average 20 women who die giving birth daily in this country (if statistics are anything to go by).
    Since we have been informed (not very reliably) that these are dollars coming out of the lining of individuals and well-wishers and not tax-payer’s funds… I suppose it’s a question of who got to say all the right things! Seriously, we have real achievers in this country and to equate their astounding accomplishments to the truly unspectacular feat of being in a Reality TV show is stupefyingly dumb… the message being put across is that Reality TV is larger than life… can we deal with the real bread and butter issues and leave the “make-believe” world of a show that does not contribute in anyway to alleviating the suffering of African masses.

  2. Comment by diamond girl:

    haiawo, tsvaga dzimwe nyaya dzekunyora. uri kuidawo here mari yacho tikutsvagire.

  3. Comment by brenda:

    Natasha ukwane!


    I am a Nigerian Student in the United Kingdom and have been following the Big Brother Africa Show for about 5 years now. That Uti Nwanchukwu won the USD200,000 (N30m naira) is a good development on his part and will go a long way to empower him economically. Two years ago, Ofuneke (a Nigerian) was the first runner up in the competition that saw a Tanzanian win the competition. The Nigerian President at that time did not compensate Ofuneke for loosing to Richard as it was of no consequence.

    It was unfortunate that the Zimbabwean Government would dish out the sum of USD300,000 to a youngman who did not deserve it. That sum of money will go a long way in empowering the 100 Zimbabweans if they were given micro credits for their businesses. It could as well be used to procure medicine for primary healthcare in Zimbabwean Hospitals. This action goes a long way to show the level of mediocrity in the Leadership of your country. President Robert Mugabe has ruled the country in excess of 30 years and it not ready to quite. Zimbabwe used to be the bread casket of africa, however, today it can not feed itself. You may be wondering why a Nigerian should be writing this piece, after all, Nigeria is not better-off in governance.

    In conclusion, that the Zim government gave out USD300,000 to Munya is to say the least unnecessary. President Government Jonathan congratulatedUti for coming first in the competition. He could as well have given him USD1m that he won. He could as well not given him anything if he narrowly lost to Munya. Zimbabwe should learn to accept defeat like sportsmen and not politicize a show that was supposed to be for entertainment.

    Thank you.

  5. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Mixed opinion on Munya – Zimbabweans speak out:

    [...] Natasha’s blog about Munya, the Big Brother candidate who got more money from Phillip Chiyangwa for losing the [...]

  6. Comment by bba:

    get a life. Jealous pple thats why africans will always remain poor.

  7. Comment by Jealous Down!:

    “A consortium of businessmen and friends in the corporate world have come up with a consolation fund that will give Zimbabwe’s representative and Big Brother Africa All Stars housemate, Munyaradzi Chidzonga US$300 000 for coming second in the reality show.
    The consortium is headed by businessman, Philip Chiyangwa and Chairperson of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, Mr David Chapfika”

    I did not read anywhere in the quote above that the money donated is from the Zimbabwean government. Let people use their money the way they want to. Just like you choose to donate or to buy a car for youself, or pay for your studies in the UK. Why did you opt to study in the UK and not in Nigeria so you can allocate the money you are using in the UK to micro credits?

  8. Comment by Fungai Rufaro Machirori:

    Enough respect Natasha,

    Thank you for being brave enough to say this. I still can’t get over the fact that people felt they had to appease this boy’s loss by paying him even more than the BBA prize. Do we feel like the Nigerians have once again dominated us? Can this all be interpreted as a battle for national supremacy?

    And you are right, if our president is so ant-homosexuality and sexual excess, then his being involved in all this is really confusing.

    I respect your voice my sister.

  9. Comment by Piper:

    From Nigeria and in Nigeria. From what I’ve been reading through on internet I found out that the zimbabweans are passing through a bigger hard time than I think. Most Zimbos are not happy with this $300k of a thing,they know its all about politics while some are happy cos they think is about BBA5,Nigerians UTI,compensation and fun. THINK! This’s madness at its peak. When there’re children sitting on the ground in the primary school with 20 or more students sharing one text book,no beds in the hospital, people dying of hunger everyday,and so on. Those people that put up the campaign of compensating Munya should as well do it for the poor children in the streets that can not afford $5 school fees. Is it not the same Mugabe that detest anything about british? Why should he partake in anything concerning the show by handing the money (raised by others) to Munya? I think a day won’t be enough for what’s in my mind.
    Am just having pity of sympathy to the poor Zimbabweans.

  10. Comment by Global Voices in English » Zimbabwe: Big Brother Africa, Mugabe and US$300,000:

    [...] Msonza reacts with a post titled, “Munya’s compensation for depression.” She says that the news of Munya's compesation demonstrated the ability of leaders to raise big [...]

  11. Comment by Global Voices in English » Zimbabwe: Big Brother Africa, Mugabe and US$ 200,000.300,000:

    [...] people use their money the way they want to,” says Jealous Down: “A consortium of businessmen and friends in the corporate world have come up with a consolation [...]

  12. Comment by Zimbabwe: Big Brother Africa, Mugabe and US$300,000 :: Elites TV:

    [...] Msonza reacts with a post titled, “Munya’s compensation for depression.” She says that the news of Munya’s compesation demonstrated the ability of leaders to raise big [...]

  13. Comment by cecillia chimbiri:

    nigerians must be out of this countrythey utter rubbish and say what they do not know,munya was awarded that money because he was a good ambassador of the country and of GOD