Yeah I said it. And I haven’t even been there, either. So the question is, does it suck because I’ve never been, or I’ve never been because it sucks?
Listen, I know it’s of massive historical and cultural significance, but for me … it’s just a pile of rocks. It’s not like Vic Falls or the Vumba, is it?
I loved everything about Victoria Falls. The drive from before the airport turn-off into Vic Falls town, which is almost a tree-lined avenue.
I love The Boma restaurant. I remember the old Subway. The old Wimpy, which became the worst restaurant ever; I once had breakfast there, with the world’s largest cockroach languidly crawling across the table, and looking at me with a “WTF, bro”.
I love the animals, the random baboons and monkeys; the grumpy warthogs grazing on the grass behind Ilala Lodge, eating tasty warthog in the Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge.
There’s gambling, too. I love the casinos; the one at Kingdom now, but the best was at Ilala back in the day, going there after work.
I really love the Falls themselves, walking through the rainforest, jumping off the bridge, cruising down the river with a drink in my hand.
Man, getting drunk at Shoestrings and Wild Thing, partying hard at Croc Rock back in the day, chilling by the pool at the Rest Camp with no worries (and a drink in my hand).
I love the weather, the cloying heat – the amount of clothing it automatically reduces. Board shorts and flip-flops, my kind of lifestyle.
I even love how Chinotimba Stadium is a dustbowl that turns into a muddy quagmire when it rains, like that time when Tongai Moyo played there. My one and only Dhewa concert, and it was a night to remember.
Man, I remember a leopard watching me from a tree as I walked down the road from New Chinotimba Township; the lion tracks around the house after returning from the club one night. The massive bull elephant in the Elephant’s Walk car park after work one night. Wild animals. Everywhere.
The river guides, and rastas, happily rutting a path through all the little white tourist girls, both the clean ones coming in via the airport, and the slightly grubby ones coming off the overland trucks.
The overland bus girls happily rutting a path from Cairo or Dar to the Cape. It’s all good. I mean, the rules that apply everywhere else in Zimbabwe don’t apply in our very own Sin City, our dirty little open secret.
So no, I haven’t been to Great Zimbabwe, I haven’t been to Nyanga, but let’s be honest, I don’t really have to. You might say O Joe, you’re a Zimbo, shame on you, you haven’t seen our national sights.
But come on, not everyone sees everything we have to offer. I’ve been to Falls, Kariba, Chengeta, Matopos, Imire, Vumba, Charara and many other places, and I’ve realised that there is no rule.
Yes, it would be nice to see everything we have on offer, if I had both the time and the means, but it’s really optional, innit?
Personally, I don’t see the fascination. Yes you don’t have to be a history buff, an archaeology buff, an architecture buff, or a rocks-on-top-of-other-rocks buff to appreciate it, but I’m just a normal guy and I’m saying I care nothing for Great Zimbabwe.
And I don’t have to. In the same way I don’t have to like or support all Zimbabwean musicians or artists just because they’re Zimbo, I also don’t have to see (and appreciate) all our tourist attractions just because … I’m a Zimbo.
Say what? The overwhelming sense of history, the stone walls, the ancient civilisation, it’s where we came from etc. Yes, I know.
And no, I’m not trashing our heritage. Actually, the fact that it’s also my heritage means I’m free to say what I want about it, and I say it’s … rocks on top of other rocks.
I also prefer my conical towers with nipples on them.