Ignorance that is disturbing


AS much as we say the ignorant must be taught, vasingazive ngavadzidziswe/abangela lwazi kabafundiswe, there is ignorance that is very disturbing.
Going through the Harare International Carnival-Events Schedule, I was impressed to find an event titled ‘Carnival Bira’, but in the very same breath I was shocked and flabbergasted.
The name of the venue for the Bira was presented in a manner that brought and will bring bad memories to every self-respecting Zimbabwean.
The Carnival Bira was held at, according to the schedule, ‘Fort Charter’-Chivhu.
If there is no one who finds anything wrong with presentation of the name of the venue, then we are doomed.
There are just no excuses for the use of that despicable name, Fort Charter, despicable it is for that name came about as a result of arrogance and disrespect of a people.
By giving a place an English name the settlers effectively appropriated the place zvese nemidzimu yacho/konke labokhokho and it became totally theirs.
The place before the coming of the invaders was called Chigara, thus the name should have read Chigara-Chivhu then organisers would have gone to explain that when the white invaders came they gave it that despicable name I will not repeat.
The Harare International Carnival I would like to believe is a Zimbabwean story, one seeking to highlight to the world what the country has to offer.
And we remind the organisers that names are all important and I will not hesitate to repeat what I have said in the past regarding names.
That is why bitter Rhodies still talk of Rhodesia and Salisbury, at this point in time, never mind Rhodesia crumbled decades ago.
I do not take the issue of names lightly, I have been pondering about names for most of my academic career.
Volumes have been written about this curious phenomenon called the name.
While some may say what is in a name, there must be something in it if people cross seas and oceans and among the first of their tasks is renaming the place they have invaded.
The ‘error’ on that events schedule is not small for the manner in which we map and name our physical spaces in our discourse is a matter of critical concern.
The act of naming is an act of possession, the name-giver claims physical, social and political space.
To name is to control, redefine and demystify and by naming a thing, we make it knowable and controllable.
It is a fact that in giving a colonial name, the imperial power wiped and was attempting to erase the histories and cultures of the indigenous peoples.
Thus we cannot, no matter what circumstance or occasion, revert to using colonial names.
Our names came about for specific reasons, they carry weight, our names were not just for aesthetic value.
Places that our ancestors dwelt were named after significant events and great occurrences, natural and supernatural.
They are names that preserved history, heritage and victories.
The names were celebratory and were a reminder.
Every name carries with it a package of meanings, assumptions, myths and legends that narrate all aspects of our endeavours.
Dzivaresekwa, Mbire, Dande, Muswewenhede, Chipuriro and many other names in the country are not mere narrations of topographical features, but they carry a history, culture and tradition with them.
A name is a social beacon, an anchor that places a person or an entity in some cultural or historical context.
We hope the error will be rectified and will not be repeated in the future.
We hope that the Harare International Carnival will be a big success and achieve intended objectives.
Ours is a beautiful land and we welcome visitors who want to share and enjoy our abundant resources.
We are definitely a destination second to none and we hail organisations such as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority who continue to tirelessly work to promote and support the country’s tourism industry.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here