What’s the real Zimbabwe story?

via What’s the real Zim story? – DailyNews Live by Bill Saidi  18 APRIL 2014

There has been a long argument about how to tell “the real Zimbabwe” story. According to people who style themselves as patriots, the story does not include the 20 000 people killed during the mindless carnage that was Gukurahundi.

It doesn’t even include a pronouncement by a VVIP that the people of what was called, before independence, Harare township, “are without totems.”

In terms of real Zimbabwean cultural mores, these are people of a very low class. For one thing, they cannot be called Zimbabweans — because they have no totems.

For another, they might often be described as “aliens”, although they were born in the country.

To explain what a totem is to the uninitiated is a problem. Let us say that a totem is something you are called when you are a “genuine” Zimbabwean, although such a creature might defy real classification.

Your totem could be “Shumba” or “Mazvimbakupa.”

But if your surname is Banda, Chirwa or Sondo, you are unlikely to have a totem. If you were born in Zimbabwe you are still a Zimbabwean, but you have no totem.

There are many such people all over the country, including those in what is now called Mbare, in which I grew up in the 30’s.

To respond to the aforementioned VVIP’s insult, the voters of Harare have routinely voted against the party which he has led for donkey’s years.

There are other low-class residential areas in which most of the residents are likely to be the offspring of immigrants who came to this country to seek their fortune on the mines and farms of Gwelo, Que Que and Shabani — now Gweru, Kwekwe and Zvishavane respectively.

The real Zimbabwe story must include how one political party tried to impose a one-party system, in spite of its well-known pitfalls — a dictatorship in which a majority of the people has little say in how the country is run.

By 2000, 20 years after independence, the spine of the one-party system was broken by a former trade unionist named Morgan Tsvangirai.

His party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 57 seats in its first election bid.

By 2008, it had won enough seats in Parliament to force the then ruling party to include it in a coalition government.

Even in an election in which the goalposts were maliciously uneven, the MDC still managed to win seats in Parliament, but not enough to be invited to form a coalition with the “patiyeropa” (the party of bloodshed).

Any objective commentator reading all this would conclude that the “real Zimbabwe story” is not a very pretty story. They would conclude that the stench of skulduggery is so strong that only an idiot would give it a clean bill of authenticity.

Among some genuine Zimbabweans of my acquaintance — people with totems and steeped in superstition — the rickety state of our economy and the upheavals in the ruling party are a direct result of the unholy pretence by officialdom that our path after independence was unscathed by scandal and massive thievery of State funds.

This “big lie” has provoked the invisible forces which guide our destiny into wreaking vengeance on its perpetrators.

Never mind that this could be a lot of mumbo-jumbo nonsense. The truth is that our “real story” is studded with untruths.

The truth of the sinking of Zimbabwe into its current level of political and economic mediocrity must be told without frills. The price of falsifying it has been very high: we must know that by now.


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    The falsification goes even deeper. During the peace negotiations at Lancaster House in 1979, ZPF lied that they had 40000 combatants to frighten everyone and so war collaborators and refugees were drafted into the assembly points posing as ZANLA combatants. This, my compatriots was the genesis of the ‘ghostworkers’ used by ZPF to syphon huge amounts of money from the government payroll as an integral part of the orchestrated orgy of looting going on in Zimbabwe!

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    By the way,if you are Banda,Phiri,you have a totem. It seems to me what he meant was ‘vana vemahure’ i.e., offspring of harlots who took too many to bed that had children whose fathers were not known and hence the children were deemed ‘totemless’. Just putting this particular aspect into proper perspective, while admitting the article has interesting insights.

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    All I can say is that a people have to know their HISTORY.

    Isu Masvina, and I use that term advisedly, having once been subjugated by the Matebele way back before the white man came avisiting, have turned very nasty indeed, even to our own.
    Now, what does that make us?
    Monsters, in the bobo making, I would say.

    Mugabe and zanu have got the machinery, but how can we explain our servility and acceptance of what they have done?
    The totem thing happened in the sixties as well(my time as a teenager)and exposes the would be rulers of our country as brainless morons.
    For a people to accept such a status-quo, speaks volumes.

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    The problem our country has been destroyed by foreigners especially people from Malawi who we accepted and gave them residence. These are the people who kept the evil thing in power so long the general origin people have long been tired of lies from himself the offspring of mabwidi. Do u know where he comes from or his parents and even the surname speaks volume of his origin Mugabe .

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      roving ambassador. 9 years ago

      Do nto fall into that Mugabe trap of divide and rule. We are all to blame for keeping him in power.
      He is good at playing the tribal and race game with us . Be wary of the old fox.
      Pasi ne Zanu.

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      itayi 9 years ago

      Just a point of correction.

      There is chieftainship in Gutu district called by the name Mugabe. So it cannot be true that the name is foreign originating by any means.

      Secondly there are over four million Zimbabweans living in the diaspora right now and among them are many of my relatives. Surely I would never want them to be subjected to any form of xenophobia.

      Thirdly, I am married to a foreigner with whom we have have several children that are proudly Zimbabwean.

      Thirdly, every one of us has some one in their extended families who is married to a foreigner and surely we want these relations of ours to feel wanted instead of denigrated as people without integrity simply on the basis of their origin.

      Fourthly, the question never ends with foreigners by the way. For example, the karanga look down down upon the zezuru and vise versa. Had the occasion one day to trace the real origins of the people called karanga and zezuru. The conclusion was rather sobering. The karanga or zezuru and manyika for that is so artificial a divide that it is a basis for sahwira-ship rather than acrimony. The long and short of it is that over the centuries there has been so much inter marriages, relocations and resettlement to the extent of making that difference artificial.

      Lastly, it is fact that the original inhabitants of Zimbabwe, in as far as history can tell, are the hottentots or the Xhoi Sani people. So in that respect we are all foreigners. I leave alone the issue of history that we bantu originated from guruuswa.

      Please even as we battle the excesses of one man whose origins are contentious I appeal to Zimbabweans not to be diverted from focus.

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    If we want to tell the real Zimbabwe story just go on the streets and into the rural areas and see how people live. Look at our soil. It runs red with innocent blood and it lies fallow with hunger! Need I say more! ZPF have mortared our brick together with hatred and corruption!

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    Buchman-Turner-Overdrive 9 years ago

    With the disaster that is the tribalistic Shona gukurahundi Republic of Zimbabwe – I say, give me the Republic of Rhodesia any time.

    In Rhodesia, we never felt oppressed as uMthwakazi by the Shona people as we are today.

    Nothing pains one as being oppressed by a non-achiever; a failure of monumental proportions!!

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    Petal 9 years ago

    The real story is the top brass have stolen and ruined for their personal gain and they speak of corruption if there is corruption investigations have to start at the very very very top!!!