Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Silent waves

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One evening after a great day, I sent an SMS message to a friend.  ZESA is not my friend tonight, I typed with my thumbs.   This was my way to whine about a power cut at my flat.  As anyone in Zimbabwe would do, my friend replied with empathy for my predicament.  She encouraged me to find something to do that did not require electricity.  She made many viable suggestions.  I remained firm in my anger and refused to take up any of her suggestions.  I just sat there in the dark.  As we continued exchanging SMS’s, I noticed that the sounds emanating from my cell phone were the only sounds I could hear.  Otherwise, I was contained by a silent space.  Made ever the more silent by darkness.  I was sitting in a hollow respite, that damn ZESA muted my evening.

The silence was a departure from the loudness of my day.  A day which had been inspiring with its many voices, movements, interactions, and images.  The day had been like a series of waves, which hit and inspired me.  Like when at the beach.  You first see waves in the distance.  Watch them take shape and gain strength as they move forward.  Then the waves hit.  You feel enthralled and energized by the way the water feels on your skin and by the uplifting power the waves possess.   Before you know it, waves make their way to shore; they crash and peacefully blend into the sand with a sound of accomplishment.   Many more waves follow this same path.  Waves almost never stop.  Throughout my busy and loud day it was like being in the waves.   Then in the evening it was like all waves were gone, blended into the sand, but creating only silences.

I’m thinking this contradiction of my day­loud waves and silent spaces­lends insight into understanding Zimbabwe.  This combination, however contradictory it is, also is not.  The fight to be heard is at one point loud and at other points silent.   Zimbabwe is a place of silent waves.  In sight are Zimbabwean waves forming paths toward visibility and weight.  However, uncontrollable forces drive the waves astray.  You are absorbed by the certitude of Zimbabwean waves, one that incisively convey the problems which bedevil the country.   But so much renders these waves into a world of what is explained away as the new norm.  The body feels and experiences the forward moving momentum of Zimbabwean waves.  Yet these waves have a way of retreating, without crash or sound, into the sand.   Zimbabwean waves persist, but they seem to follow a dual path.  In bringing the contradiction full circle, at once Zimbabwean waves persist in both their loudness and in their silence.

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