THE cartoon by Tony Namate in the November 11 issue of the Zimbabwe Independent on the on-going feud between the Zimbabwe government and the American ambassador Christopher Dell is one of the most illuminating and insightful pieces of art
that I have seen in recent months.
It is said a cartoon or a picture tells a thousand words. This particular cartoon tells more than a thousand words.
For those who have neither the time nor the inclination to read analytical written pieces, they must view Namate’s cartoon as nothing short of manna from heaven.
What Dell said was not anything new. Zimbabwe is now hell on earth and Zimbabweans themselves are living in it. What was new was that Washington’s man in Harare said it with immense courage, honesty, fortitude, forthrightness and bristling self-assurance. The Zimbabwean authorities are not used to that kind of candid talk.
But truth is truth whether said by a Zimbabwean opposition party or an ordinary Zimbabwean or an American diplomat. Accepting responsibility for one’s actions and for a system that has gone badly wrong is the starting point on the road to economic recovery. I am positive that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono would 100% agree with this point.
We have to put our house in order. The world does not owe us a living.
You do not have to be an economist or an American ambassador to see that the root causes of the Zimbabwean crisis are largely to do with the political leadership, government economic mismanagement and corruption. It is all around us and Dell merely reflected the reality on the ground.
Massive unemployment, hunger, daily rocketing prices, homelessness, shortages of all kinds, corrupt politics and rich rogues plundering the people’s treasure through massive cabals of graft are hanging like deadly millstones around Zimbabwe’s neck.
This is the climate that Namate and the people of Zimbabwe clearly understand and are living it, hence his ability to anchor a correct perspective in his cartoon. I would therefore strongly urge the Zimbabwean government to listen to people of goodwill rather than dig in their heels unnecessarily.
I do not want to steal the thunder from Namate’s brilliant cartoon by going on and on. Suffice to say that in a tough environment like ours, it is always a relief to turn to Namate’s cartoons in the Independent and The Standard and find difficult questions addressed with humour and passion.
The images and words in his cartoon two weeks ago eloquently evoke the meaning of the Zimbabwean crisis to our lives.
This letter of mine is a heartfelt tribute to a memorable work of cartoon making.