So the sound track of a world-beating revolution was not Gill Scott Heron (the famous Black American dub poet of the 1970s and 1980s). And contrary to his famous declaration, the revolution was televised, tweeted, posted on Facebook and whatsapped. Newspapers were late for it. But what revolution was it?
State of the Art with Admire Kudita
Never is a long time my friend!
They danced like they had won the lotto. The waist of a woman seemed like it had no bone cartilage at that moment. I saw the long-disappeared kongonya dance make a dazzling return to a grander dancefloor. It was 1980 all over again except that this time I was not a starry-eyed kid with a dream of walking in Harare’s First Street. The year was 2017 and that was the strangest thing about it all. But maybe not so strange.
Wild Tuesday night scenes
The blaring of car horns and the crazy swerving is the stuff of Hollywood action movies such as the Dukes of Hazzard or the Fast and Furious. The madding crowd just would not budge as the beeline of cars along Seke Road trudged ahead. It is a slow grind. I am almost cursing myself for having used this road in particular. But its 7pm after all.
How am I to even imagine that city centre Harare is going to be this packed? There are touts swinging from bus tops. Half-naked youths on car bonnets. It is a proper stomping and roaring street party. Okay maybe not a party. It is a carnival. The joy quotient is surging like mercury on a hot summer’s day.
Upon reaching Town House, there is a virtual blockade. They want every car horn to hoot. If you are slow to oblige, they are banging on your vehicle’s bonnet. I cannot honestly find the joy in this moment. It is an underwhelming feeling I have instead. The cycles of history have taught me one thing: the mob never learns anything from history. Maybe they do.
Fear about third party
I fear this party will turn into a Halloween nightmare. It is indeed a game of masquerade that started a little over six days ago. It culminates today with this mass celebration. On this Tuesday night, the rainbow mass of my people has broken out in dance all over the country. It is largely unchoreographed, but they are all in step. The drummer is invisible. He is drumming somewhere in the nether forest of man’s heart. Therein is a jungle of fears, hopes and dreams.
That medley is life’s endless and often times cacophonous song. Tonight is rapturous and I suspect sinners will not rejoice as much when the Lord returns. How did one man’s downfall get to mean so much to many? How did the hero turn into the villain of the peace? It must be that as Gabriel began the ascent on Glory Mountain and heard the madding cheering crowd he was seduced by their exaltation.
He began to think the dancing was for him and that he was the music. Well, there is a difference between the muse and the music. One may merely be an inspiration but one is not the song. For a song requires the harmony of all the chords and instruments. Moreover, when one dances alone then it is an aberration.
“Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people,” said Alvin Ailey, one of America’s greatest dancers. Dance is the people’s art and art is the people’s life mirrored.
“Ah mdara dai pasina kuti ndokuziva tanetsana!” A young half-naked youth warns me with an assassin’s smiling face because I am not yet tooting my horn. Why are they happy and why do they need my validation? Is the ogre really gone? Do they believe things will be different?
It does not matter as long as lady Grace is no longer in the picture! It is this personal now? Yeah she turned him into a monster. She was insensitive and crass. She . . . This profession requires one to remain impartial and tonight of all nights I must remain with as cool a head as possible.
Always listen for the music
I listened for the music. The sound track of the feast this time was not Jah Prayzah’s now anthemic song Kutongwa Kwaro, but a cacophony of blaring horns. The song that had been Saturday’s predominant song among demonstrators in Harare’s streets depicts a persecuted but victorious hero who triumphs over his enemies. With prophetic resonance, the ditty now seems to chime as the theme of an anti-hero-turned-hero in Zimbabwe’s formerly exiled vice leader.
The Saturday event was the first cut and did it leave a deep gash? The blood was oozing now and the beast was writhing on the ground. But what beast was it? Tuesday night was its final slaying. Again I looked for the beast on the ground writhing and it was not on the ground. It was in the eyes of my people. I saw in its eyes a strange mix of fear and hope, courage and cowardice, relief and anxiety. Indulge me this reflection for I was there in the streets.
There is a tide in the affairs of men. The tide has ebbed now and it is flowing inexorably like a Hegelian dialectic. Thesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. No one alone can fix this mess. It is going to take not one of us but all of us. We must agree to listen and to work together. Listening is the most critical skill Zimbabwe requires. Listening presupposes empathy and presupposes humility. No one knows everything alone. We know everything together. We cannot sing all the harmony parts alone. Only Lucifer could do that as per a certain preacher’s sermon.
I dreamt the dream of a luminous rainbow last night and a majestic mystic eagle that finally arose and mounted. It had been sitting for a long time. If Zimbabwe has taught the world anything, it is that we cannot take anything for granted. Or anyone.
Let us learn to listen closely to the other harmony parts. Let us learn not to love the sound of our own voice too much for that is how Gabriel slid down God’s holy mountain and fell with a heavy thud.
Meet in my dream tonight so we can dream together how not to worship mere man, but how to stir each other up to acts of love for truth, excellence, industry, inclusivity and merit. They say love is for dreamers but we have proved them wrong tonight.
No one is fighting the other. And confounding grace has brought us this far !