Lizwi Lenox Mhlanga
Unless you have been living under a big rock, you should know by now that a certain Zodwa Wabantu has certain people’s knickers in a knot.
And I am being modestly literal when I say this. In fact, a full Board of Censors plus a government minister have conspired to bar the differently talented South African lady from landing on these shores once more.
The beef with Zodwa Libram is that she prefers to strut her stuff without underwear, and this, according to Mother Grundy types, is “against our culture”. I will not argue on the merits and demerits of that statement, apart from saying that banning her outright is an overreaction.
Former Studio 263 actress, Anne Nhira of the Vimbai Jari fame, torched a social media cyclone of sorts by writing to several ministers expressing her objection to the upcoming Harare International Carnival giving a pantyless Zodwa a cameo role. Her argument being that the money spent to pay and bring her to Zimbabwe would be better spent on poor local artistes who deserve better. Why bring Zodwa, who would lower the moral compass of the nation at the expense of local content, which I assume, included her.
Hot bloodied males have called her names and even told her where to get off. They believe she is jealous of the fact that Zodwa’s famed assets, and talent eclipse hers. When males are pumped up with testosterone, you can barely get anything past them. So, Anne discovered to her peril.
Nhira’s “prima facie” argument is that why import such people for the carnival when we have local talent, the likes of Bev to fill that role. Not that Bev herself was complaining. But her detractors, including Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Karikoga Kaseke believes there is more to this than meets the eye. He points to faceless detractors who are bent on sabotaging the hugely popular Harare International Carnival. He can’t phantom why acting tourism minister Patrick Zhuwawo would stick his neck out, and agree to the ban when it’s tourism that will lose out if that happens.
Yet the whole saga has divided the nation and diverted critical brains and productive time to an issue which I personally feel is inflated beyond the bounds of rationality. To say we are divided is not being modest, yet the wave of emotion in favour of Zodwa coming, is overwhelming.
Without giving away where my loyalties lie, I would like to pose a few questions that need straight answers. Why wasn’t the same amount of concern displayed against the Samba crew from Brazil, or the much more “dangerous” Cubans, to use Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s CEO Karikoga Kaseke’s own words?
Arguably, the Brazilians bare more acres of flesh than Zodwa, and leave very little to the imagination for that matter. Bev does worse things to her female anatomy with a bottle, along with her perennial nemesis Zoey.
If I got Kaseke right, Zodwa was invited by an entertainment concern, who will host her in the private confines of one of their nightspots, away from the prying eyes of the thought police. He even went on to state that if she ever wanted to be part of the parade, she would have to keep her under-things on. If she has them, that is.
When Zodwa was in Bulawayo, there were muted complaints, but her tour went unhindered, and everyone went home very happy. Lazarus Boora aka Gringo got to meet his “sister”, harking to the similarities between the two. The paparazzi was abuzz and the local media fell over each other to cover her visit to the City of Kings and Queens.
In a nutshell, her much touted tour went on devoid of the kind of brouhaha we are witnessing now. And all in aid of what?
I am tempted to believe what Kaseke is saying and add that, it’s not everyone who agrees with the ban. Zodwa should be allowed to come and give domestic tourism the shot in the arm that it sorely needs. I don’t expect some people to interfere with our constitutional right of choice. Perhaps one would agree that certain conditions would have to be met for Zodwa to join the parade. But as for a private club that wants to make money from her attributes, there should not be sanctions for people who have watched the likes of Bev and Zoey.
Those are the tenets of a democracy, and I hope that my pastor is reading this.