HomeFeaturePeaceful Demo: Part Five...who defines values?

Peaceful Demo: Part Five…who defines values?

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A BUS carrying peaceful travellers out of town had been stopped and was being hijacked by violent marchers to a ‘peaceful demo’ in town.

A peaceful marcher to the peaceful demo was strutting alongside the bus akapakata chombo chehondo – a cocked AK 47 with the safety cache pushed away from the position of peace.

An observant passenger in the bus thought that the safety cache on the peaceful marcher’s weapon of war should never be in that position unless the intention was not peaceful.

A message from Washington pointed out that the pictures the man on the ground had sent were not of Zimbabwean police but South African police killing black miners at Marikana.

It also noted that the soldiers burning a ‘bloody’ African village in other pictures were not Zimbabwean soldiers. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces did not have white soldiers among their ranks.

A young Rhodesian Army officer wields a bat to a blackman during interrogation outside an abandoned schoolhouse in Southern Rhodesia in 1977.

And, in the living room, the wife of the man on the ground was about to cry. A youth had knocked on the kitchen door and said: “Amaiguru tiudzireiwo mukoma kuti boyz ririkuramba richi-feature saka masinhi apera.”

The husband had asked the wife to tell them: “Two minutes.”

And the wife had noted the husband was nervous and sweating.

She had also noted that the song of agitation had grown louder:

“Vatipa doro ka2-litre

Ndokumona mbanje ye-centimetre

Tinodhakwa here vakomana?

Tinodhakwa here boyz dzangu?

Manje hameno


Manje hameno

Hameno  ikoko…”

The wife went back to the man on the ground and implored:

Baba vaNatasha, please call the police before things get out of hand.”

The man on the ground snapped at the wife: “Do you know what you are talking about?”

“Listen to me baba vaNatasha!Tinopazirwa imba yevaridzi tikasara tiri pa-zero,” the wife implored.

The wife did not know that the money from Washington had been far more than the man had declared.

The wife had told her friends: “Mufunge these days baba vaNatasha is spoiling me.”

She had borrowed the words from baba vaNatasha who had in turn wanted to sound like a whiteman he had watched on Telemundo.

The man on Telemundo had said to a wife he wanted to appease: “I want to spoil you.” 

And he had kissed the wife.

And kuMastones, the man on the ground had bought the family lots of fried chicken, pizza, a few clothes and a microwave oven.

And when he had wanted to also kiss the wife like the man on Telemundo, the wife wekuMastones, Highfield, had been surprised and chastised him saying:“Imika imi! Ndikwanirei semari yebhazi.”

The man on the ground had half-expected it and walked away without insisting.

Later on, he thought he heard the sound of the brushing of teeth in the bathroom.

And very much later on, the wife had come to him and just lingered around his desk talking nonsense

And when he ignored her, she had said: “Kana musingade ndava kuenda hangu.”

And he had said:“Handiti wati ndikwane semari yebhazi here? Ndangosarirwa ne five sense chete kuti ndikwane.’’

And the awkward stand-off had been broken

The wife had liked to also call their new life ‘living large’ and splashed the pictures on her status and facebook.

When she had wanted a selfie of them kissing, the man on the ground had said: “No.”

But still, a legion of followers had liked her show-off.

A few haters had insulted her.

Some crazy follower had posted pictures of a red VW Polo and a double door fridge fully stocked with fancy eats, perhaps hoping kumufinhura.

But in the flood of likes, the pictures of the red VW Polo and double door fridge fully stocked with fancy eats had not stood out and passed the wife’s notice

The man had promised her: “This is just the beginning. Next time we will go and eat nemavet kuSam Levy.”

And now this!

The wife had never expected the frightening peace brewing in their backyard would also be part of the new beginning.

The song of agitation grew louder.

The wife grew more nervous and locked the kitchen door.

There was a knock soon after.

The door handle turned.

A voice called out: “Gulez tisheedzereiwo blaaz vataure nemaface!” 

While violent peaceful marchers continued to snowball into town from the south, all was apparently quiet on the northern front.

Harare had been designed that way, right from its Fort Salisbury days.

The north-south divide was also a division of black and white; a division of rich and poor; a division of peace and violence; a division of employers and employees; a division of slave-masters and slaves; a division of the pristine and the polluted; a division of the individuals and the masses; a division of leadership and followers; a division of legislators and voters; a division of stability and volatility; a division of order and chaos; a division of commerce and industry; a division of management and labour; a division of commanders and fighters; a division of angels and demons; a division of dignity and vulgarity; a division of solemn Sunday morning services in cathedrals and loud open air all-night prayers kumasowe; a division of affluent soft-spoken pastors and maporofita emashura, anodzura neanoita get-back-to-sender; a division of movie-style courtship and instant ghetto sex; a division of Jazz and jiti; a division of neat shopping malls and dingy tuck-shops; a division of large houses, swimming pools, big cars, servants and small houses ‘in’ small houses;  a division of planned lives and hameno ikoko.

A not-serious person playing on the irony said: ‘Hanzi ku-South kwaita noizi.’

The ‘N’ of cardinal North seemed to stand for ‘Silence.’

The ‘S’ of cardinal South seemed to stand for ‘Noise.’

The south was boiling.

The north was watching … closely monitoring the situation on the ground.

On TV, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was flaying an African BBC representative of British interests in post-colonial Africa.

She had read the usual human rights abuse charge sheet against African sovereignty and the African president was taking exception to the affront:

“I think checking of facts is a serious problem with the very institutions which should be reliable to inform the general public about some of these facts.

Whether the facts themselves or the interpretation.

Let me start with the issue of values.

Who defines the values?

Who doesn’t actually have values?

When people talk about values sometimes it is one part of the world that has assumed the sole responsibility and the monopoly of defining values.

 The rest of us have no values. We have just to keep learning from these ones who define the values …

And, by the way, the danger also is it doesn’t matter how long you take learning, you will never qualify. You will just always be branded somebody who has no values and who comes from a place where there are no values.

So, I want to put this case clear.

Those from the north who always assume (where BBC comes from) … who always think they are the face of values … the rest are to follow … It is a big mistake.

It is not true. 

We have values too. We, here in Rwanda, in Africa. 

We do.

No question about it.

Second, there are some of these problems we have had in our continent.

In Rwanda, those from the North who define or want to define values have been part and parcel of these problems we have been facing. Some of them have actually been the cause of the problems we face … Like the genocide here that took place here in Rwanda where one million people (over …) were killed.

Well, I remember (if your memory serves you well too … I am not inventing anything) the debate that went on at the UN.

It was like, … these developed rich countries – those who define values – simply took it like, these are just Africans killing each other.

These debates were in the open.

But (do) you think that is true?

You think the divide that actually led to this genocide was just a creation of Rwandans (and) not the people from the North who actually divided this country (and) told people to think of themselves as belonging to one ethnic group and the other to think as belonging to another  ethnic group and therefore, (they) should kill each other? … Not only are they different but they should kill each other?

Would you believe that?

Would you tell me that the 20 million people … (This is documented by other people … not by me) who were killed in the Congo were killed by other Congolese in the old days of King Leopold?  

And you think all that just disappeared in a moment (and) then you had the savages coming over and taking over their own countries and killing each other?

And then the others assume the higher ground.

They are up there in the North and they keep pointing fingers at those of us and think we have no values and we are just there to … you know … we don’t respect freedoms; we don’t respect human rights; we … Sure?

You think so?

BBC you think so?

You take time … You broadcast from morning to evening.

This is literally just abusing people.

You are abusing Rwandans.

You are abusing Africans.

Values … values …values …?

What values do you know my dear sister on behalf of BBC?

I want to assure you, there is nobody in BBC or anywhere else thereabout who’d be holding values better than we do here in Rwanda. Except if you just want to cover up the mistakes of the same people who want to define these values for us.

So, when you are saying that, you may tell somebody else or people who don’t have time to think or who don’t have history where they have struggled with these complications … Yes, they will listen.

But here, those of us who have faced what we did; who have gone through what we did, we take our responsibility.

Of course, the genocide would not have happened just on the hands of others who brought it to us. No. We Rwandans have responsibility. We have our share of the blame for it. But there are others who should take responsibility for that.

I just want to let you know that these issues of upholding values and so on as far as I am concerned and as I know, as far as Rwandans are concerned, we don’t need any lessons from BBC or from anyone.

I tell you this with firm conviction.”

To be continued…

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