This weekend, Zimbabwe attempted to break a world record of consuming meat at a braai/barbecue under the same Mugabe Regime which economic hardship is now part of the national anthem. It was all for a good cause of course, praise the Lord! The event was sponsored by Castle Lager of Zimbabwe’s Delta Corporation. Castle Lager promised to match each kg of meat braai-ed with an equivalent donation to Harare Central Hospital and Bulawayo’s Mpilo Hospital. Those are two of Zimbabwe’s biggest public clinic. Harare residents who were able to attend were a typical proof that Zimbabweans are able to fund-raise in a big way for good causes, despite the economic crisis.
Performing at the event was Zimbabwean musicians Oliver Mtukudzi, Ammara Brown, Killer T and a host of popular dj’s. Entry fee was $5 that came with a meat starter pack. Since this was meant to be a meat eating world record and sponsored by the biggest beer company in Zimbabwe, it is safe to conclude that each person who attended spent more than $5 entry fee. Over a thousand people who did afford to go to this event obviously bought more meat an drinks. The people who attended this event in my opinion are okay and not suffering in poverty.
This attempt of Zimbabwe to break a world record of meat feasting will not be shown on BBC News or CNN. We Zimbabweans also do an excellent job at telling the world how much the country is in poverty. The world also does a very good job of painting that grim picture of Zimbabwe, with our corporation. I am not denying the serious poverty level in Zimbabwe. But there are also people living a very good life, thousands of them in today’s Zimbabwe
I have seen people in Zimbabwe who have relatives abroad and milking them for every pound or dollar they work for. Some will go as far as to lie that they are critically ill just to be sent money. Some people in Zimbabwe will not do anything for themselves because they know they have relatives in the UK who will send money each time they cough, no doubt these are some of the people seen attending Zimbabwe’s Biggest Braai. They will use the money to enjoy themselves because they know more money is coming from the UK. Some students have failed in their studies because they believe that they will go to UK and everything will be like magic. Some people in the UK have died from over working themselves to feed their families back home. Some have been robbed thousands by their own blood, being lied to that they are building houses for them whilst the money will be used for meat feasts.
What Zimbabweans and probably all Africans have to understand is that, there is poverty everywhere in the world. There is pure poverty and suffering in the USA and in Europe with people being homeless. Many families are on food aid. Every time I go into town I see beggars on the streets. I have been asked many a times for money. When I was a student nurse on community placements I visited some places I never knew existed in Britain. Houses with no floor boards. Houses with rotten furniture. But Britain will never show that picture to the world. BBC will not report it. All we see in the media is a rich Britain. Of course the poverty scale is not to the extent of Africa but the fact is, they will never show you.
But Zimbabwe will be on the fore front to broadcast the poverty side of their country to the world. When they report news of the economic situation of Zimbabwe, why cant we also see the pictures of events like Zimbabwe’s Biggest Braai. When I went to Zimbabwe a number of years ago, in Harare almost every woman I saw had her nails immaculately done. I am talking manicures and pedicures. The beauty salons were always packed. For me, that was the first time I ever had a pedicure done, in a “poverty” stricken Zimbabwe. of all places. Here in UK I honestly do not have the luxury to have a pedicure every 3 weeks like a lot of women in Zimbabwe do.
When I first came to the UK I was amused how British people assumed we came from jungles and lived in mud huts. Who can blame them when all they see is pictures of poverty. They don’t even know we have big houses, maids and beauty spas in Zimbabwe but they only know of hash tags which says #HowTheyRobbedUs.
We as Africans have to learn to balance the picture we show the world. Yes poverty is rife, but that is not the whole picture. There are a lot of people in Zimbabwe living basic normal lives where they can afford three meals a day.
Now Zimbabwe has just consumed more than 12 500 kgs of meat at a party this last Saturday for goodness sake. Not to mention the amount of alcohol that was consumed there. Surely it is not all pain and suffering is it? Some have argued that Zimbabweans are allowed to forget about their problems and let their hair down now and again, and boy they have done it in a spectacular way. Others are also arguing that Zimbabweans just wanted to enjoy themselves before the introduction of the new currency this week, the controversial bond note.
I was rather happy to see thousands of people in a country that is reported to be one of the poorest in the world attempting to break a record of meat eating. It is sometimes refreshing to see that side of Zimbabwe. The happy and merry side of people eating and drinking. Like the bible says in the last days, it will be like the days of Noah, people will be eating and drinking, that also applies to Africa by the way, not just the USA and Europe. Gluttony is everywhere, even in a “poverty” stricken Zimbabwe. If this record braai had been done in the UK there would probably have been animal rights protesters there. The event would have had its fair share of health experts and animal rights activists criticizing it.
I am totally in love with the work of one of Zimbabwe’s best photographers, award winning Henry Hakulandaba. This year Hakulandaba scooped an prestigious African award with his breathtaking photograph of Harare, depicting an image of the capital city you will never see in the world or on BBC. After he won the top award, Hakulandaba said. “I hope the competition will help to debunk the negative stereotypes about development in Africa and change perspectives of the continent’s potential. Whenever I exhibit images of Harare or any other African city, there is always someone who says they never thought Africa has such development.”
Zimbabwe need to embrace a mentality like Henry and stop always moaning on social media. If you do not like the political situation in Zimbabwe, just change it! Henry who lives in Zimbabwe managed to win the top award among all African counties with a picture he took of the very Zimbabwe that we say has been destroyed by Mugabe. I can’t agree with Henry more about his mission to change perceptions of Zimbabwe to the world. . But it is not only the development of Zimbabwe that is portrayed in a negative way, it is the lifestyle as well. Like I said poverty is everywhere in the world, but the western world does not make noise about theirs. Zimbabwe, learn to appreciate the positive side of your country, the one that is not the poor side. It’s not all gloom and despair. People can still afford to drive expensive cars, live in large houses, and of course attend world record feasts in their thousands. It is not all #HowTheRobbedUs but #HowWeAreBlessed .