“Politics is hot these days,
But these ni**as eating ice-cream,
City’s pretty dirty,
But these ni**as looking quite clean.”
– Juan Take
Klarki Zim from the undisputed Class of ’04 at the Jesuit Dragon College sent me an audio of our classmate’s tune called Ice cream. Instantly, I got in contact with the visual director who provided the cover photo. I rushed to my creative space to scribe some thoughts. My euphoric freedom: my pen, pad and paper. My youthful exuberance in capturing thoughts is my daily spiritual healing and self-care. I urge you to do the same. I haven’t been the same since I realized I could assemble a couple of words together. Some read, some write, some launch Facebook Live and some go to the gym. Some sing, but some are poetic artists I like to call rappers.
Remember when I wrote Blood on the Blouse? That was written early 2017 during some testy, cantankerous times in this journey we collectively call life. The personal circumstances were compounded by the fact that my homeland, Zimbabwe was going through even worse. At least, I was insulated by this Diaspora life right, but I knew that without the sheer grace of being Amai’s first-born son, I would be suffering ineradicable experiences because of a government failing to free my big sister – Zimbabwe.
Blood on the Blouse is rather graphic, and I realize why it’s my most read piece. I delve into this beautiful girl called Zimbabwe who was born April 18, 1980. I expand on how she was being raped needlessly and multiple times without being given the chance of bearing and giving us grandchildren. She was hurting and there was sadly blood on her once innocent blouse. Here’s an excerpt I wrote when Zechariah and I were in the New Age Africa studio.
“She told me that Bob Marley came to Mbare’s ghetto Rufaro Sports Stadium and sang about her in the ghetto while the rest of the world was watching. She got to be known all over the world. She was honored by Kings and Queens and she remembers a cozy, yet deceptive relationship with the Commonwealth. I began to learn more about my sister, Zimbabwe and in due time, good grades in my seventh grade allowed me to enter the best boys school in her city. Suddenly, I had to leave because frankly I had to go and so did 3 million others.
Zimbabweans are at the core of the most profitable entities in the universe. The country can alarmingly be self-sufficient, but sadly it hangs on a thread of what I call diasporan funds and donations. Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, The London Stock Exchange and even Tesla. All of these entities are full of bright and talented Zimbabweans who would love to contribute to their homeland directly, but over the last 15 years, Zimbabwe has suffered insurmountable and overwhelming brain drain.
I received a call from her and she told me some sad news,
She told me people are tired,
She told me people are scared,
She told me people are rising,
She told me supposedly $15 Billion is missing,
She told me people are dying,
She told me the water is not clean,
She told me companies are closing,
2.2 Million jobs are missing,
She told me the fields are barren,
She told me her big brother Evan started talking about the flag,
She told me this is forsaken,
But now it has sparked a movement that is rather potent.
She told me there are factions,
She told me she can’t sleep at night,
She told me she can’t pay her child’s school fees,
She told me they are stepping on her mother’s blouse,
She told me the corruption got her anger aroused,
She told me she doesn’t want to live anymore,
She told me no one knows where the diamonds went,
She told me no one is accountable,
She told me her womb could no longer give birth,
She said someone is stepping on her stomach,
She told me there is blood on her blouse,
She is in pain and she is disdained,
She told me there is a brain drain,
She told me the situation is just insane.
All I could do was cry and pray with her, because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have the solutions, but could only hope that those in power could wake her up from her nightmare.”
The first two lines of this post refer to Juan Take’s opening remarks of his song Ice-Cream and an EP he’s lacing the final touches on – at least that’s what he says. I’ve known this brother since I was ten years old. In Borrowdale, I would chase him around in our Harare junior soccer league. I was always trying to catch up, so I was later relegated to the bench of our Dragon Football XI in 2003. King Kiri, the Sunday Mail business writer can attest. He too was on the bench with me. At least we’re now in the starting 11 of this writing game. If he’s Mo Salah, I am Sadio Mane. Go-bhora! translated Goal! in our native tongue Shona.
I didn’t realize Juan Take would become a businessman, but more importantly an artist offering reflections reminiscent of the best thinkers in the music industry. When I listen to Juan Take, Fabolous, Nas, TehnDiamond, Common, MosDef, Talib Kweli, M.anifest, Burna Boy come to mind. Homegrown, I‘m fond of his flow and effervescent political jabs delivered with ever-beaming hope, Afrocentric vibes and undeniable truth. The heavily anticipated video is filmed by the Zimbabwean social-poltikker and Facebook Zimbabwe-resident-commentator Begotten Sun whose Tea Time Facebook series is African magic. “Salute”, he told me! It’s coming soon.
The ice-cream of course refers to the alleged assassination attempt of Zimbabwe’s current President, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (EDM). The stories and rumours lit up social media groups and circles (particularly WhatsApp). Apparently, a rival political faction attempted to poison him using ice cream. They temporarily forgot that Zimbabwe is a myriad of provocateurs and securocrats.
Remember, Zimbabwe means House of Stone and it seems, so is our current President – EDM. After the alleged assassination attempt, he left the country. He wrote to us – the people. He returned. He became President. This exasperating drama unfolded before our very own eyes and frankly that was my least productive period of the year.
EDM is our rock and we have a duty to lift him up. Many don’t know he is an absolute survivor and I draw inspiration from his role in freeing my big sister – Zimbabwe. Many don’t know that the Rhodesians wanted to hang him, but he survived that too. Many don’t know that in 1965, Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe, and led the “Crocodile Gang” which was known for its use of knives and for its attacks in the country’s Eastern Highlands targeting white-owned farms. He fought white minority rule, beat it down and I was later born in a free Zimbabwe because of comrades like him. Before you bring up the mythical stories about him understand that politics is not pretty and neither are our lives. As you point out twigs in peoples’ eyes, realize your vision is blurry. You’re actually seeing through one eye. A log however, is lodged in your other eye. Facts.
I wish EDM every success in Zimbabwe’s new dispensation – whatever that may mean to you as you read this. I actually hopes he reads this post. As one of Zimbabwe’s little brothers, I am optimistic and that’s all I can say. We are a promising people. Don’t ever doubt it.
“The streets are dirty, but these ni**as looking quite clean.”
Symptomatic of Zimbabwe’s meandering, pleasant and tough urban streets are glorious potholes and in some parts, decaying infrastructure. The only exception is being ready to see a sexy red Ferrari, dozens of BMWs, Mercedes Benzes, Audis, thundering Hummers, and elegant Maserati’s – just to name a few. It’s a melancholic injustice only balanced by the people’s patience and reprieve. I’ve never known a people more peaceful than Zimbabweans. We have a great deal of patience and I’d like to believe Ubuntu is what keeps the populace at peace. I’m grateful to come from a lineage of resistant and hardworking people in the face of unfair or unpredictable conditions. I just hope the streets no longer remain pot-holed and dirty. It seems EDM’s rhetoric points to cleaning up these streets. I have an eagle-eye on the moratorium ending February 28, 2018. If you’ve externalized funds, he’s cleaning up the streets. He knows who you are, so come forward and let’s get to work.
I’ve read several tweets from Zimbabwean Twitter personalities including my favorite, @TrevorNcube, who reminds these externalizers and enemies of progress to be very afraid – very afraid. The crocodile is hopefully cleaning up these streets and filling in some potholes. I agree, let’s let bygones be bygones and let’s judge him from his first day. That’s only fair. Neither you nor I know the absolute circumstances that prevented his resurgence in ZANU PF Jongwe decades earlier. Personally, I believe this new dispensation is a decade late, but we don’t take anything for granted. We receive what we receive – for now.
“It’s the Sunday Church speaking weekend,
Heard the Pastors all speaking,
Prophet for profit,
The pockets they reaching,
The Law – they preaching that,
Mr. Minister why you so sinister?
Trying to get your business up?
Via some tenders – Huh?”.
This sharp excerpt from Ice Cream speaks for itself. I listened to the tune a dozen times and this second-last spiel above is my absolute favorite. Some people in Africa look to pastors (with a small “p”) or ministers (with small “m”) for spiritual Guidance (with a big “G”). Congregants fill community halls, buildings and classrooms beaming with endless hope, but the spiritual balance is often in disequilibrium with prophets seeking profit. It takes a discerning mind to note this incredible exploitation of sheep seeking deliverance. Alas! Their pockets are filling and I’m not buying it.
I urge you to pick yourself up and halt looking to another human-being to dig you from your current circumstance or struggle. You have what it takes. Why are some of these ‘ministers’ so sinister? I don’t know, but the truth always comes out. Politics is hot these days. I’m just frustrated that many tenders lack supervision, transparency and an admiration for governance or the basic rules of a controlled environment. Juan Take tells it like it is so listen to him, because you might learn something.
Chinobhururuka chinomhara, is a Shona-Zimbabwean proverb Amai always tells me. If you’re wondering, Amai is my precious little mother. Everything that flies, has to come back to land. So these preachers and ministers may be flying high while we the lamb watch with a keen eye but one day, the plane has to run out of gas. The Crocodile is lurking in the waters too. He is calmly gliding, but above all, the Sun is watching.
“I mean the moral of the story,
They got two houses – two stories,
Secrets in the cabin, you can stack them -category,
Farms is territory, when you get the Inventory,
Getting raped – statutory.
Couple of signatories ……
– Juan Take
Maybe I should lobby to be a government-resident-rapper in Zimbabwe’s new dispensation – but it’s ok. I’ll stick to writing. In conclusion, perhaps my big sister Zimbabwe is healing. I think her confidence is returning and her ovaries ready. It seems she is oozing with optimism. Perhaps now, she can now bear fruit and give us grandchildren! Peace.
While its not Juantake, why don’t you also enjoy Thomas Mapfumo’s song, Chinobhururuka Chinomhara and don’t hesitate to have a good day.
- Follow Juan Take here:
– @JuanTake on Twitter // @rockpaperzim on Instagram
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– @adza__ on Twitter // @SonofGuruve on Instagram
SonofGuruve is a member of the Shona tribe from Zimbabwe, Africa. He doesn’t own a television, but he likes to cook sadza nemuriwo while listening to Afro Beat and writing blogposts every now and again. He can be reached via our Contact Us page.
SonofGuruve © 2018