Protest A to Z: A Guide To Protesting in the Republic (Part 1 of 15 Billion)
So, here we are. Zimbos have been stomping around the streets of Harare ... and Bulawayo ... and Beitbridge. Clanging little pots, lighting wee fires and generally behaving like bored and naughty kids. Plenty news reports, tweets, Whatsapp forwards, Facebook posts, opinion columns and open letters and so on and so forth. What to believe? Who to believe? Where to get some good weed? Pertinent questions in these heady times.
Ever the faithful son of the soil, I have once again compiled a glossary of terms and phrases to familiarise the unfamiliar. And since a certain man educated Zimbabweans ... and therefore Zimbabweans are the most educated Zimbabweans in the world, I have done the list in alphabetical order and shit. You’re welcome.
“A” is for Anthem. At a number of these protests, the naughty kids have chosen to sing the previous Zimbabwean National Anthem – Ishe Komborera Africa. “Nkosi Sikelel’Africa” is the most Pan African of anthems as we all know. The naughty protesting kids say this is a subtle rejection of the current anthem which has been tainted by a certain guvment’s shenanigans. We all know this is straight bullshit though. These bourgeois kids can’t sing the current anthem even if $15 Bn was dangling at the end of each stanza. “Simudzaaaai mureeeeza ... *mumble, mumble, mumble for 3 minutes* ... Ngaiiiiikomboreeeeerwe, nyika yeZimbabwe!”
Oh my ... look at the letter “B”.
“B” is for Button Stick folks. Nope, no typo. Even though they have mouths to speak and hands to gesture with, the ever delightful and dutiful members of the police prefer to let the stick do the talking. It’s like in that saying, “When the only tool in your shed is a hammer all problems become nails”, well, protesters have been looking nail-like in the sunshine city. Silly protesters.
Is “B” also for Bond Notes? Well yes it is, you clever person you! Because who needs real money when you can simply imagine money? Think about it. Think. It’s not like we’ve had funny bits of paper masquerading as real money before. Nope. That wasn’t us. Bearer Cheques? Nope. Must have been figments of our western-led machinations. Record-breaking inflation? Never. Silly child.
If you insist, but only if you insist, then “B” is also for Beitbridge. The busiest port of entry. Also the border with South Africa. So a bunch of naughty folks got bored (Beitbridge is hotter than Chez Ntemba at 2am) and decided to be loud and burn tyres and a warehouse. After diligent intelligence gathering, two foreign elements were discovered to have been behind these fires – lion matches and bridgestone tyres. Further evidence of foreign involvement included two people who were discovered to have been from Harare. Who knows what a cross-border trader from Harare was doing at the only border with South Africa? So many questions in the Republic.
Lastly, “B” could be for Bulawayo or Beat the Pot ... or both, because that is where the shit went down. Bulawayo likes things. Not to be outdone by imported matches and bridgestone tyres, pots from all walks of life were marched down the streets of Bulawayo city with their elegantly dressed owners clanging them with cooking sticks of all shapes and sizes. Kitchens across the City of Kings & Queens were left wondering “who shall cook in us?" and “what must can happen now?” Senzeni na?
"C" is for Cyber Terrorists. You know ... terrorists. Terrorising people. Like Al Quaeda and ISIS and stuff. Except ... not really killing anyone. Nor injuring anyone. Nor harming anyone. Nor terrorising anyone. And not really in person ... but on Facebook and Whatsapp. On your cellphone. Through memes and banter and jokes. And once in a while asking regular folks to hold elected officials to account. Which in certain countries (names withheld) is a terrorist activity. 14 years in prison for you and your cyber terrorising cellphone chum!
D is for Demonstration. Section 59 of the Constitution of a certain Republic says, “Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.” And to ensure this peacefulness, some demonstrations are chaperoned by troops of Riot Police armed with rifles, button sticks, teargas canisters and protective gear, sometimes really angry dogs, and also powerful water cannons laced with a trippy chemical which ensures tranquillity. Other demonstrations have a traffic police escort and bits of land on offer at the end.
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