THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

You can't go telling folk that life in Zimbabwe is murder
John Scott, The Cape Times (SA)
October 16, 2007

There is a big debate going on in Musina about a large hoarding that proclaimed in red letters: LIFE IN ZIMBABWE IS MURDER THESE DAYS. It didn't stay up very long last week. Before the two workers had quite finished pasting up the notice, armed police arrived, accompanied by nine soldiers in a troop carrier, and arrested the men on unspecified charges. They were handcuffed and carted off to the police station. The mayor and a town councillor had also raced up to the scene of the crime in their respective cars. The hoarding was meant to be read by the thousands of Zimbabwean refugees pouring across the border. It said it knew why they were in South Africa, but urged them return to their own country in March to vote. Townsfolk opposed to the hoarding are deeply divided. One group argues: "Zimbabweans don't need to be told life in Zimbabwe is murder. They must know already, or they wouldn't be fleeing across the border. "Reading that billboard would make them even more depressed, and unlikely to return. Surely it's our job to reassure them that things aren't so bad, otherwise they'll be hanging round here until March." Another group says: "Notices like that just further inflame rebellious Zimbabweans unloyal to their great leader. Of course life in Zimbabwe isn't murder, except to those who vote against him, and then they don't deserve to live, anyway." A third group is pedantically insisting: "Life in Zimbabwe can't be murder. Only a person can be murdered, but if they arrive here and are able to read the board, then obviously they haven't been murdered. It is not life that is murder, it is death that is."

One thing they all do agree on is that such notices should never be permitted on South African soil. "It's very unfriendly to our neighbouring state," said a municipal spokesman. "How would we like it if Zimbabwe allowed a notice on the other side of the Limpopo that said, for instance: MBEKI IS A PAP PRESIDENT. We would expect the Zimbabwean authorities to tear it down, too." "Even if it's true," added a spokesman for the group that said Zimbabweans didn't need to be told life in Zim was murder. A minority in Musina believe the short-lived billboard at least created a bit of excitement in the town. A professional person confessed: "Once you've seen the rock bed in the Munyengedzi River - it's called Sand River Gneiss and is supposed to date back 3 850 million years, making it the oldest rock in Africa - there's not much of interest here in Musina. Life in Zimbabwe is murder these days made a nice change from the usual Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coca-Cola ads. But the best part was when the police and army rushed up to tear it down. If only they were as quick when there is a real murder on this side of the border."

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.