Sunday, January 15, 2017

Zimbabwe ... our heestoree

We Zimboons have all kinds of complaints about the White man, real and imagined. It is as if the White man thundered in, driving armoured cars, and robbed us of everything good. We imagine that this is the reason why we do not have a fancy house, a car, an ipod, lots of cash ... etc.
So here I want to put the record straight ... by taking an honest look back at our history.
The maBreeteesh (British) are the ones that colonized us. They traveled by ship from England to Cape Town. It was a very nasty journey that lasted 3+ months in stinky, rat infested mouldy wooden ships. Some ships did not make it and the bones of the occupants are forever lying in the sands of the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. I have been there. They were also prone to suffering from scurvy, a really nasty disease caused by a lack of vitamin C.
At Cape Town, they did not jump onto the Blue Train and trundle up to Zimbabwe feasting on the best of food and wine. They had to jump into ox wagons. There were no ox wagons in England. For months thereafter these creaking, swaying, bumpy monsters would be their home, day and night.
Africa was very different from their home country of hills, dales, brooks and a serene rolling countryside full of bunny rabbits and nothing more fearsome than a fox. Here they had to contend with bush, full of thorn trees, rolling scrub, flooded rivers, mountains through which they had to carve treacherous passes with men and the pulling oxen dying in the process.
The bunny rabbits and foxes of home were replaced by fearsome creatures such as lion, buffalo, snakes, scorpions, rhino, leopard, elephant and hyena that would collect a baby in the blink of an eye. They were assailed by hordes of insects that bit and stung at every point day and night, with the king of all being the mosquito that took so many lives by way of malaria and black water fever. Three out of four babies died. They had no immunity to tropical diseases such as dysentery.
Worst of all was this little creepy crawly known as nyokamafazi (Centipede in the pic above). When it bit a man he turned into a woman. Can you imagine how horrifying that was?
When they arrived here they were welcomed at first. But there was a problem. Our girls were topless, with their bosoms standing proud in the African sun, defying gravity. This did not go down well with the maBreeteesh ladies whose bosoms were all saggy from all the traveling and being propped up by whale bone bodices.
It got worse as our men had their loins covered only by amaBetchu. i’betchu (loin flap) leaves a lot that can still be seen. It is now called “too much information”. The maBreeteesh men did not like their women being exposed to this. As much as the maBreeteesh women were told to avert their eyes, bibles in hand, Africa’s manhood was on display.
There was bound to be trouble ... and sure enough there was a lot of trouble. One side cocked their guns. The other side raised their spears. They had a fight and then more. These were called the “Pioneer Wars”. I think the name should be changed to the “AmaBetchu Wars”.
We lost these wars because, as my Gogo’s people explained, the maBreeteesh had isgwagwagwa, the Maxim Machine Gun that mowed them down like flies. “Isgwagwagwa” was the sound it made when fired. They were adamant that if the maBreeteesh had not had this terrible gun we would not have lost. They were proud to recount how, under Mzilikazi, they had successfully invaded and conquered the same region without isgwagwagwa.
So the maBreetesh were not the first colonizers. My Gogo’s people were. But we don’t speak about this.
Alas the maBreeteesh won and we were colonized.
As more maBreeteesh arrived the first indigenous words they learnt was “lala pansi”. This was because, being very tired after their long trek from Cape Town, they were told to lala pansi, i.e. to lie down and have a good rest. So naturally they also used these words. With both sides going “lala pansi … lala pansi” it was not too long before the first brown baby was born … and we makarhaadiis (Coloureds) came into existence. To this day the place of this momentous event is called Lalapanzi.
I admire the amaBreeteesh for their courage, fortitude and resilience. I admire our people for having fought so valiantly.
But I am glad the maBreeteesh came.
If they had not come I would not be here.
If they had not come we would still be in the iron age.
The White man, standing in front of you is not the reason why you do not have a fancy house, a car, lots of cash, an ipod, watch … etc. He did not take these things from you. We did not have any of this. We did not even have the wheel.
What the maBreeteesh took was the country. We got it back on 18 April 1980.
Now what have we been doing with it???
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