Renaming Victoria Falls won’t put food on the table

via Renaming Vic Falls won’t put food on the table – Southern Eye 18 December 2013

ONE of the outstanding resolutions passed at the much hyped Zanu PF 14th national people’s conference was to rename Victoria Falls and schools with colonial names after some of the country’s heroes.

The resolution, sponsored by the party’s committee on sports, culture, religion and liberation, is another clear advertisement that Zanu PF is running out of ideas.

From the outset, we have to be clear we are not clamouring for the retention of relics of colonialism, lest those who think they have a monopoly to patriotism start sharpening their knives.

But we would like to remind Zimbabweans that Zanu PF has been in power since 1980 and has had all the time to “indiginise” places such as Victoria Falls and schools with colonial names.

Instead of pushing the decolonialisation agenda, the party’s leaders were busy enriching themselves and running the country down.

Zimbabwe now has very serious problems that confront its people such that the renaming of Victoria Falls becomes a very peripheral issue.

There were huge expectations ahead of the Zanu PF conference, simply because it was a gathering of the country’s sole ruling party.

People expected to hear what their government was doing to ease the cash shortages that have seen depositors failing to access their money from banks ahead of the festive season.

Thousands were thrown out of employment this year alone largely due to Zanu PF policies that are out of step with modern ways of doing business and the expectation was that the party would emerge from Chinhoyi with a clear plan to restore the economy.

However, as the resolution to change the name of the Victoria Falls demonstrates, what came out of the conference was populist rhetoric that does not put food on the table for long suffering Zimbabweans.

Besides changing names of places such as Victoria Falls — a magnet for tourists — would not come cheap for Zimbabwe’s bankrupt government.

The government has more pressing needs such as getting food to millions of people who are facing starvation and providing healthcare to the poor.

Trying to sidetrack citizens from real issues by coming up with such resolutions would not help anyone.



  • comment-avatar
    Tawanda 8 years ago

    Aren’t the Victoria Falls actually in Zambia?

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    Johann 8 years ago

    Yeah they should name them “Mugabe falls on his sword” or “Zanu falls apart”

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    Blackhammer! 8 years ago

    Wander round the streets of London and you have to give credit to the British. The city is littered with statues to celebrate and remember their heroes of yester-year. But the British do not celebrate second best, only those who achieve gold. A large number of these heroes went on adventures to all four corners of the globe. They killed, maimed and plundered the resources of the empire and brought the loot home. Medals were duly awarded and statues erected. Very few statues exist of those who left the British shores for faraway lands and helped the indigenous populace and thus did not bring some loot back home. Failure was and is never rewarded. Winner takes all. Maybe Eddie the Eagle, ski jumper, is an exception! In recent history former prime minister Tony Blair seems to fall into this failure group but on closer examination he actually achieved a lot although the British public do not seem to realise it. He and former US president Bush ordered the invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, ‘shock and awe’, until a new friendly government was installed. Prior to and during the war itself Americans in their droves boycotted French wine and other goods because the French had opposed the war and carnage in Iraq. But to this day all contracts signed by the Iraq government go to American and British companies. Billions and billions of dollars and is that not a result? Black gold! Can one imagine a gallon of petrol in the UK costing £30 or £40 and avoid an imminent revolution in the leafy suburbs of London and the home counties? Blair, like the heroes of yester-year, had a vision for the nation and we cannot say we hold the high moral ground because our very survival depends on exploiting the weak round the globe. We cannot claim we are monogamous in a cut throat adulterous relationship. Both George W Bush and Tony Blair said, ‘It is our way of life at stake’. They were right and the tanker drivers’ blockade of fuel depots, England, in 2000 proves the point that the west’s economies will grind to a halt without oil or cheap labour. Now, as the Iraq oil freely flows supplies are guaranteed for another 30 years and we all can sleep well. Besides, some where in the world kids are locked up in factories to keep us supplied with cheap goods. Will Tony Blair get a statue erected in Parliament Square or even a plaque with his name on it? Very doubtful but history will be the judge. The oddity and absurd fact of it all is, he is made by someone, the Middle East Peace Envoy! Really? Ta–xi! Who are these Arabs who dare sit down with him to discuss peace? Or is it possible Mugabe can work in a kindergarten in Matabeleland and leave the parents pretty elated. This proves one thing though. At this point in human history, might is right and right is white. Our leaders pretend to sympathise with families of dead service men as their bodies are repatriated from the war zone but to them it is just part of collateral damage in the bigger picture. David Cameron is already thinking ahead when he suggested Afghanis should play football against England at Wembley in the near future, (16/12/13). Very very sensitive! As well as being brutal to their colonial subjects the British or all the colonial powers tended to be economical with the truth. For example, David Livingstone after being led by the locals who were eager to show him the spectacle and magnificent falls on the Zambezi river became the first man to ‘discover’ the Victoria Falls. The Nepalese Sherpa Tensing, standing on top of the world pulled up Sir Edmund Hillary onto the last cliff and was unaware that he was making history. Edmund Hillary had in an instant become the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. And what of Tensing? History blew him away although the Nepalese people had been reaching the summit of the mountain for centuries. And who was that chap who ‘discovered’ Australia when those silly buggers, the Aborigines, had gone on a walk about, again? Oh yeah, Captain James Cook! But this one is a cracker. A white man decides to move from Europe to Africa, Australia, New Zealand or Canada and decides to stay to improve his lot and instantly he becomes a ‘settler’. On the other hand a person of colour decides to move into Europe for the same reasons from Africa, the Indian sub-continent or the Caribbean and he and his generations to follow will remain ‘immigrants’ no matter what nationality they are granted. What’s that about? Thousands are drowning in the Mediterranean each year trying to cross into Europe and it’s no longer news. It is the slave trade all over again. Knowing very well that blacks could not walk on water like you know who, the ‘settlers’ in apartheid South Africa went further and declared that when they arrived late in the fifteenth century there were no blacks in that part of the world. Weird!
    Stroll down town central Harare and you won’t see many statues of the liberation struggle heroes. What strikes a visitor to the once beautiful city is the names of the roads and avenues named after heroes of the war. There is something strange, obscene and a bit embarrassing when places are named after the living. Somehow it is not as bad if the living are not residents of that particular country. For example, Nelson Mandela Way, he will never die, Kenneth Kaunda Way or Sam Munjoma Way, named after former presidents of South Africa, Zambia, and Namibia respectively. The trouble is the local heroes have been in power for over 30 years and, whatever they have touched has turned to dust and nobody could seriously leave them in a shop at tea break. They can easily sell the shop in fifteen minutes while you are out. They became a joke in the eyes of Joe Public a long time ago and they don’t even realise it. They start selling coffins and probably people will stop dying. That is how much people have faith in them. The tragedy of it all is, these same names from the same ruling party since independence appear all over the country from Harare to the smallest town. The irony of all this is, because of lack of highway maintenance most of the road signs are pointing in the wrong direction. Very good omen for the nation as a whole! The names of the roads and avenues also give a clue as to who has benefited since independence especially after the farm invasions. Before the farm invasions in 2000/1, five thousand white farmers occupied sixty per cent of Zimbabwe’s arable land. Today, most of the land is in the hands of less than 800 big wigs and most of them are represented by a signature on a lamp post giving directions. For example, before his death in 1999 Joshua Nkomo had so many farms whose combined area is rumoured to be the size of Wales. As the rural poor have become match sticks our rulers have developed double chins and their trousers are held up by braces because wearing waist belts makes them look comical. The masses are nowhere in sight although the liberation war was fought on two main premises, land, mwana wevhu, child of the soil, and the right to choose who governs you, one man one vote! It makes sense to agree with the latter more because with a right to choose who governs you the former becomes a no brainer. A nation becomes strong and formidable when they are behind their leaders. In terms of how quickly these muppets have hit the big time jackpot it has been both miraculous and tragic because no prisoners have been taken along the way. And the majority of them never lifted a gun to fight but sent somebody’s father, mother, son or daughter to do the dirty work at the front. Many heroes and heroines never saw independence and lie in unmarked graves. While the British will maim, plunder and kill for the nation when someone in far way places blinks or sleeps our lot will send our sons and daughters to die for the same reasons but they then siphon the loot to London and Europe. Check the Congo! London and Europe are in a win win situation all the time. A clue to ponder over, ‘frozen assets’. Indeed to rename Victoria falls as Mugabe Falls will be fitting and would serve to remind the nation how not run a state.
    Simon M Tozvireva.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 8 years ago

      I know its always easy to point fingers, particular if its across races. But what about the Black on Black comparison as well, just to put some balance on your analysis.

      Robert Mugabe takes over from Ndabaningi Sithole in 1975; just some five years before the independence year of 1980 – suddenly he is now the one who liberated Zimbabwe. History books in Zim schools are awash with Robert Mugabe’s role in the struggle and the nationalist movement – to hell with Joshua Nkomo who had been in the thick of things since the 1950s; to hell with Ndabaningi Sithole and others. No mention of all these people except in passing either as traitors or dissidents!!

      One could give more and more examples as you have given above, but I believe this one only, suffices and a counter point to yours has been made.

      Shouldn’t we be seeing this as human failing rather than purely a race issue?

      In fact, I do indeed admire the British and the Americans because they are protecting their “way of life”; their people (read) their race – and where in Africa are you doing the same?

      It seems to me, Blacks/Africans are just about the only people on this planet who are so keen on killing their own; deaming the role played by their own in the struggles against colonialism etc, whilst other nations and races never blink an eye when taking extreme action in protecting their own.

      Ask yourself why it is that its only African countries that never go out of their way to rescue their citizens who find themselves in trouble, either through natural disasters or political upheavals in foreign lands? Westerners issue warnings now and again to their citizens abroad where danger is looming; with their embassies playing leading roles in saving their citizens from trouble, but never African governments, why?


  • comment-avatar

    Imagine high spending tourists contemplating the kasukuvere mandiwanzira falls? Mouthful to pronounce. Anyway they will continue to visit the Victoria Falls in Livingston Zambia. I look forward to tsvangirai boulevard. Biti avenue. Sithole street. Muzorewa road.

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    Khaya'bonina 8 years ago

    Renaming Victoria falls should be an agreement between Zimbabwe and Zambia as they are sharing this vital structure , for business reasons Zimbabwe can not decide on the name without Zambia , they must not cause division on this .

    Zimbabwe is facing some economic problems at the moment , Victoria Falls is a world attraction place therefore to change the name would be even very expensive- Fine don’t change it to Robert Mugabe Falls that would be a disaster .

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    Greyhora 8 years ago

    If this is such an important issue to Zanu PF, for whatever reason, then they can just revert back to its original name Mosi-oa-Tunya, that’s the name the original inhabitants coined so lets not insult their intelligence and their ancestors by renaming these mighty falls after some goblins whose loyalty to the country are very questionable!
    Good article by Cde Tozvireva!

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    Nehanda Nyakasikana 8 years ago

    Ko Glen View? Glenorah? Mt Pleasant? Borrowdale? Avondale? Belvedere? Highfields? Glen Lorne? etc What of Gabriel? Sydney? Joyce? Emmerson? Sydney? Simon? Misheck? Joy? Mike? etc Do you all see how hollow and stupid this idea is?

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Even the name Rhodesia should never have been changed. Really, come to think of it, what difference has it made? Is the history of the country any different now? A lot of archival material in our museums still refer to Rhodesia.

    The fact that Cecil John Rhodes founded the modern State we now call Zimbabwe, with the same Rhodesian borders, has not changed – its still a reality and a fact even today. Had the renaming of the country to Zimbabwe involved the re-drawing of the borders, well I could have agree that the new name was quite in order, since the new borders proved we are now talking of a totally different country from the one founded by Cecil John Rhodes.

    Robert Mugabe himself, is so shallow that he does not see the irony of giving his children these colonial names of Robert jnr and Bellomaine what ever that is? What are farce!!

  • comment-avatar 8 years ago