Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Laugh for fear of crying

You have to keep your sense of humour in order to negotiate Zimbabwe’s crazy operating environment these days. People are dying in droves, from cholera, from hunger, from neglect - we have had no government for nine months and no elected government for years, and now it looks like the Old Man is orchestrating a State of Emergency to unleash more repression and fear. The rest of the world, preoccupied with their own (very minor, when compared to Zim's) economic setbacks, and are certainly not going to intervene in a small country with no notable mineral reserves.

Let’s face it, life here is not all that funny, but who wants to listen to a whinging Pom, as Zimbos like to call us. (Can’t imagine why of course!)

Hence I like to keep this blog light. If you can keep your sense of humour, find joy in small things – for example, I find great comfort in a cup of tea – then you can cope with pretty much everything life throws at you.

I lost my sense of humour for a while, hence this blog went silent for a few months. Luckily I found it the other day, hiding in the back of a cupboard, next to a pile of odd socks. (A topic for another blog, another day). And now, more than ever, I think it’s important to be able to enjoy the small things, see humour in the ridiculous things we do to keep going, help as many Zimbabweans as possible to survive and prosper, and not to succumb to misery.

The “Old Man” wants all foreigners and whiteys out of the country. Africa for the Africans. (By the way, I am the only one in three generations of my family born outside Africa – will that never count for anything?) If that happens, who will speak up for Zimbabweans? OK, I am not an elected representative. And of course I’m privileged and undeniably white. But I’m still here, still doing my bit, pathetic though it may seem. I could have given up long ago, and moved elsewhere, but I love this place too much.

Well, that’s something to really laugh at isn’t it – how many Zimbabweans want to live in the West, while Westerners want to live in Africa. How’s that for delicious irony? A Zimbabwean would say that that paradox is absolutely "classical" - and I agree.


Alex Hazell said...

Hi Fambai, great blog. I thought you might like to know that The British Red Cross launched an appeal on 11 December to help thousands of people affected by cholera and food shortages in Zimbabwe and the surrounding region. You can find out more at

Fambai Zvakanaka said...

Thanks Alex. Despite my flippancy on this blog, it is heart breaking to witness the decline of Zimbabwe - from bread basket to basket case - and to see what is happening to Zimbabweans. Thank God for the Red Cross, and many other aid agencies and NGOs working on the ground to do what they can to help. We need all the help we can get.