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A philanthropic spirit encompassed with an entrepreneurial mind, I am passionate about technology and the things technology can help people to achieve.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

There is a "Maneta" In All of Us?

As I gazed into rising sun, Eminem’s song "Stan" blares and can't help notice how emotionally charged & visually stimulating it is. The obscenities remind me that these are ghetto people indeed, the place we all grew up. I can identify with everything he is singing, but one line catches my attention, when he says:

"But she don't know you like I know you Slim, no one does, she don't know what it was like for people like us growing up"

That line made me realise how we are much a product of our families, our communities or our nations we are. And that rant by Eminem just sums it up; often we loathe to be judged based on present state of affairs because the other person has not been in our shoes. It’s like telling someone I don't like the use of swear words but yet listen to songs with expletives. They just would not understand without the Chapter 1, 2, 3..... of my life.

Nowhere is the line above more vivid than the life of Maneta Mazanhi the Big Brother Stargame housemate. The only chapter of her life I have read & seen is the 44 days she was a housemate, might as well say we started reading the story of her life at Chapter 21 which is her age at the time, albeit only a snippet. To me Maneta was an emotional person but within that emotion was her source of strength, the stamina to fight her own battles. The scant details I have of her life are that she was orphaned at a young age so possibly she is a PRODUCT of her family circumstance & community. That Maneta is a hated person right now in Zimbabwe is beyond doubt. But is Maneta not typically Zimbabwean? To me she is a metaphor of everything that is a Zimbabwean right now.

Maneta, in a prayerful moment

Having been one of the page administrators for Rockford Josphats a.k.a Roki’s campaign, I saw nothing in Maneta or what she did to warrant us lampooning her on our page, much to the disdain of majority of fans. Harsh exchanges with fans was the order of the day, I saw fellow administrators being abused and called expletives by the fans and wondered how my people have changed. We were once a quiet nation, a peace loving nation and a caring people, but looking at Zimbabweans presently I see none of those qualities. The past decade had a toll on our socio-economic well-being moulding us into a different people. Where we had peace we took up vitriol, where we had love we took up anger. Our recent political environment moulded us into a different character, a sort of hardening. Recently I read of a burglar who was beaten to death after being caught stealing and then there was a famous urban grooves musician being implicated in a similar murder of a burglar. We used to hear of thieves being necklaced in South Africa and wondered how it’s possible so I am sure now we know. The kind of fury vent on Maneta is replicated in almost every facet of Zimbabweans’ lives. A quick look at the Facebook page “Kuzeya Dzese na TeteRose…..” will show, a person posting for help or expressing a need will not escape a harsh comment or two from the page followers. We have lost the mental faculty responsible for pity or philanthropy.   

Our people struggle daily for clean water, electricity and stable income. After going through the hard work to eke a living, people have to find something or someway to release all the bottled pressure. All things being equal, the rightful way to vent our anger would be at the politicians. They are the people holding citizens to ransom. Almost all of the problems being faced by Zimbabweans stem from the political situation which has poisoned the socio-economic situation affecting everyone within society. However previous confrontations with the state were met with brute force so the people have to make do with something, a punching bag, in this case Maneta was flogged for the sins of ZANUPF, MDCT, MDC and all the other ills that our society face, she was the effigy of Zimbabwean problems. She was an aggressor and a victim at the same time, like every other Zimbabwean she needed her moment of “venting” to let out what was on her chest. Perhaps she juxtaposed the abundance of electricity, clean water and balanced meals inside the house with the dire situation she would wake up to once out of the Big Brother house. This is enough to cause frustration for a young woman trying to find her feet in a country with an unemployment rate of 95%.

Caught in a Zimbabwean Storm

So Zimbabweans need to look themselves in the mirror and ask, “Which part of my/our behaviour in a day/week has resembled some of the things Maneta did inside the Big Brother house”? It might not be pouring bleach into your neighbour’s face but could be a fight with someone for water at a community borehole or a harsh comment on a Facebook page where someone was looking for advice. The victim of such abuse could have replicated the abuse on someone else with varying degree of vengeance. Put that together from person to person and you have the whole country of people who are angry, roll the clock to 19th of June 2012 and you have a perfect coincidence of Maneta becoming a single point to vent against, ironically, the same week we read that Zimbabweans were a happy people & contented. Most fans of the show who are not Zimbabweans thought we were taking the anger too far, but they don’t know us like we know each other, to borrow from Eminem’s words, they don’t know what it’s like for people like us waking to a week of no water, electricity or an income sufficient for a month’s supplies. The same way we never understood how apartheid gave birth to things like necklacing.
So Zimbabweans must love & forgive Maneta as she is typically one like us, a prototype what our society has moulded us into for the past decade. She has been convicted of a crime for which her judges are equally guilty. Zimbabweans as a whole have changed; the people I grew up amongst are no longer the people I see around. The faces might look the same, the voices might not have changed, their domicile might still be that house on a street of Mufakose, but we cannot run away from the fact that there is a “Maneta” in every one of us! If we love ourselves the way we are then we should equally love her for mirroring our behaviour. We must channel our anger to the right place, vent at the politicians for putting us in this mess, hating our people, beating up our wives, children, neighbour’s cat or dog is only a temporary relief. Because when all are gone from the beating, we will still realise the elephant is still in the house. God bless us all!!!

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