Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye…When May Day Becomes “mayday” : Luke Tamborinyoka

Source: Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye…When May Day Becomes “mayday” : Luke Tamborinyoka

There is May Day And then there is “ mayday .”

Today is May Day, that historical day when we celebrate the toiling workers across the world who keep the global economy ticking and who slug it out every day to feed their families through the rigour of hard, honest work.

On the other hand “mayday” is an international distress signal whose origin is attributed to Frederick Mockland, then a senior radio officer at Croydon airport in London in the United Kingdom.It was Mockland who came up with the idea of “ mayday ” as an appropriate distress signal because it sounded like “ m’aider ”, the French word for “ help me .”

My main point this week is that in Zimbabwe, “ May Day ” has become “ mayday ” as the country’s remaining workers, including our civil servants, are all living in perpetual distress owing to poor salaries and very poor working conditions.

In Zimbabwe, May Day has simply become mayday as the country’s workers, both in the formal and informal sectors, are in utter distress, amid serious poverty and penury owing to a corrupt system that does not reward hard, honest work.

The workers we are celebrating today are not the lootocrats; the known corrupt tenderpreneurs in the ilk of one Wicknell Chivayo, who has become the epitome of a corrupt, politically-connected clique with untraceable wealth. Only this last week, Chivayo’s true principal was revealed when ED chose, in an epic diplomatic boob, to parade the ex-convict as his key ally during president William Ruto’s visit to the ZITF.

Today is not about these corrupt goons that are ”working” to milk the country dry while the country’s genuine workers and citizens suffer.


Today is about celebrating the genuine workers in this country who have chosen the path of an honest living through the rigour of hard work, sweat, blood and toil. We are Ignite Media Zimbabwe.

These include our civil servants, the few workers still in formal employment outside the civil service as well as the teeming millions by the roadsides and pavements across the vast swathe of our country that are selling various wares to feed their families.

The workers we celebrate today include the artistes and craftsmen and craftswomen; the tradesmen and tradeswomen as well as the various semi-skilled people selling the product of their art and craft across the vast plains of our savannah land, all with the sole aim to feed their families.

Today, we are celebrating those village women tending their gardens in order to sell the fruit of their labour as a means to feed their families and send their children to school.

Today, we pay tribute to our great artistes; the musicians of this land whose honest work continues to serenade the country’s despondent and battered souls.

Indeed, we continue to smile even in the face of the stoic challenges we face every dsy. We smile because we have musically learnt that sadness and lamenting about our predicament can only worsen our predicament.

Thanks to Nisha T and Saintfloew, we have learnt that Kutsamwa Kune Labour Amana . So as a nation, we continue to boldly smile and laugh through our tenuous personal and national challenges.

These are vexing moments. Distress time.

This year’s May Day has epitomised a mayday distress call as every working person struggles to eke out a living, thanks to our clueless, incompetent government.

It is indeed a clueless government that has resorted to arresting the symptom and not the problem by clamping down on money changers and not addressing the root cause of the nation’s lack of trust and confidence in the new ZIG currency.

The few still in active employment are struggling to make ends meet while pensioners who have spent their entire adult life working for this country are collecting about US$2,50 in monthly pension.

May |Day has become may day. What ought to be a celebration and a retirement in bliss has become a monthly distress as the amount is not even enough to pay for a one way trip from Chitungwiza to the city centre and back. .

At a personal level, I fully understand and appreciate the plight of the country’s workers.

I am an avowed trade unionist myself, both by conviction and experience, having sat for years in the general council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) as a representative of Zimbabwe’s journalists.

Indeed, in my other life as journalist,, I was overwhelmingly elected the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists at a Masvingo hotel on a sunny Sunday afternoon in October 2002. That occasion baptized me and marked my entry into the leadership of the working people of this country as I took a front role in my profession in fighting against the Access to Information and Protectionof Privacy Act(AIPPA).

That election as a leader of the country’s journalists earned me a place in the general council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country’s national labour union.

So I am a trade unionist to the bone-marrow. In my later years, as a dedicated employee of the then MDC before it was captured by Zanu PF, I won the “Worker of the Year” award for three consecutive years. I know how to grind it out with excellence of execution.

This means at a personal level, I deeply appreciate this day and the need to celebrate the sweat, toil and blood of the working people.

I can intimately relate to this great day.

Unfortunately, the traditional May Day has become mayday as what ought to be a celebration has become a lamentation.

Remember it was the tenuous workers’ plight in the wake of bad politics that made Tsvangirai make the bold step to leave the ZCTU to fix the country’s politics.

May your dear departed soul Rest in Peace, Pakuru.