Friday, 21 November 2008

Ragged shoes and catapult: the agony and the excess of Africa

I was moved to tears of rage by this picture, from this morning's Times. These tattered shoes, this handmade catapult and this tiny morsel of food belong to Vhukani Sibanda, of Doma, Zimbabwe, who hunts for birds for the pot as famine looms in that country. This grim image, by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, paints a thousand words.

On the same page, there's a picture of a man stricken by cholera being hauled to hospital in a rickety handcart, a scene that is medieval in its wretchedness.

And also on the news today, an outraged statement from Helen Zille complaining that when Jacob Zuma nipped up to Limpopo this week to do a bit of rabble-rousing campaigning, he travelled in a speeding convoy of 33 vehicles that stretched over a kilometre, even though he is not a public office-bearer. According to the report, 22 of these vehicles belonged to state law enforcement agencies. The convey 'forced traffic in both directions off the road, crossings on the route were blocked off so that the convoy could proceed without interruption and roadblocks were set up to stall other motorists.' The money to pay for this banana-republic-style jamboree comes, of course, from the state coffers.

For 100 marks, contrast and compare these scenarios. Consider how the ANC has consistently, and for more than a decade, pussy-footed around Mugabe and his malevolent regime. Then ask yourself: how does any member of the ANC - or anyone who still votes for the ruling party - actually sleep at night? How do African leaders who have kid-gloved this bastard, and mewed feebly at his stolen elections, look at themselves in the mirror every morning?

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1 comment:

tonypark said...

Great post, Juno, on all counts.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me on our regular trips to Zim (the latest a couple of months ago) is rare it is to see anyone begging.

People in Zimbabwe have an incredible resilience, and a proud and hopeful and doggedly determined belief that right will prevail in the end.

I wonder how they do it.