I live in a nation of thieving whores, a festering pit of lies and decay run by a coterie of charismatic charlatans spreading their tentacles through the moral and economic fabric of an entire people.
I live in a nation of unrepentant liars, and I see them canonised and celebrated as sacred beings, testaments to the Hardiness and Patriotism and Enterpreneurship that only Super Patriots and True Sons of the Soil can possess.
I live in a nation of idiots, buying imported goods at four times their US dollar value because they think now they have a few greenbacks in their pockets and can afford an Amstel, they’ve Arrived.
I live in a place where nice guys finish last, and is so pervesely corrupt that there appears to be no way a decent, hard-working and law-abiding citizen can survive without breaking a law (discounting the fact that almost all genuine enterprise is either regulated or criminalised).
I live in the nation of fools and the wannabes. Looking at the fools’ ongoing reverence for the politico-business elite, I notice that the modern Zimbabwean fool, above all else, reveres and desperately wants to be close to the “unprincipled winner”; those who engage in bad acts, ones which everyone knows are bad, and get away with it through flagrant indifference to the law and the rules.
Savviness. Deep down, that’s what fools want to believe in and actually do believe in – their own savviness and the savviness of others. In business, they believe, it’s better to be savvy than it is to be honest. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilised, sincere or humane.*
Savviness is what fools admire in others. Savvy is what they themselves dearly wish to be. That quality of being shrewd, practical, ruthless, well-informed, perceptive, “with it” and unsentimental in all things economic and political is, in a sense, their professional religion.
Fools make a cult of it. And it’s this cult that the “dharas” understand and exploit for financial (and sometimes political) gain. What is the truest mark of savviness? Winning, of course! The Phidzas are winners. The “boys dzengoda” are winners. The Range Rover Elite and the Pentecostal Pastor Class are winners.
And only a fool can admire an unprincipled winner.
It’s hard to overstate the extent to which I see people (some my friends) identify with, socialise with, and revere the very opportunists whose purpose is to manipulate and deceive them.
When did we stop celebrating Good? When did we start caring who bought a Range or Q7? When did Corruption become a way of life?
Where have all the good guys gone?
* Paraphrasing NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen