When the blind strut on a tight rope

29 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
When the blind strut on a tight rope

The Sunday Mail

As someone who grew up in the village and spent his late childhood in the city, Bishop Lazi can tell you without equivocation that Christmas in the village rocks.

Back then, it did not only provide a once-in-a-blue moon occasion to take the much-needed break from tongue-numbing relish such as blackjack (mutsine)— often cooked with stingily scant vegetable oil — but it also pleasantly shocked the palate with a series of delectable meals throughout the day.

Rice and chicken were invariably a key dish in the day’s festivities.

So, for young men like the Bishop, it meant the day began with an arduous steeplechase to hunt down the big cock that was fated to fete-expectant merrymakers.

We would pursue barefooted, the fleeting bird across fields infested by a minefield of devil thorns and thistles, including poking it from under the granary where it would have temporarily taken cover.

But we eventually always managed to tire it down. The potjie pots would then sing, chime, hiss and clank as the meat was processed into hearty, sumptuous meals.

The feasting would follow, after which we trooped to take a dip in the mystic Save River before smudging ourselves with vaseline and changing into clothes that would have been kissed by those popular charcoal iron presses.

After this ritual, it was time to join the beeline to the village growth point.

My, oh, my, we danced ourselves silly, as speakers deafeningly blurted out an assortment of hardcore sungura or museve beats.

We would dance by rhythmically, stomping our feet to imitate the graceful gallop of a horse and occasionally spice up the routine by executing either an impromptu jump or twirl, beating up a mini dust storm in the process.

It was pure, unadulterated joy and bliss, made all the more enjoyable by the conviviality of good company.

However, it was either sungura or nothing. During the rare occasions the deejay played alien Western music, revellers usually took it as a cue to take a breather.

Years later, when Bishop Lazarus moved to the city, he found it excruciatingly difficult to adjust to the queer urban culture, which was diametrically different to what he was used to.

Christmas meant kids would compete to dress in the trendiest apparel that ostensibly made them look “cool” and just wonder aimlessly in the streets.

When it came to partying, sungura music was out of the question, and merrymakers often enjoyed Western music.

Back then, local content was a non-issue.

It seems urban life was all about aping the white man — his taste, dress sense, habits and worldview. But there was a gratingly irritating trait by most of these hoity-toity urbanities: They always thought their ways — no matter how peculiar, alien and queer — were supremely superior than those of their rural counterparts.

To them, rural areas were condemnably inferior, backward and uneventful.

Spice of life

But humanity is the sum total of people from different backgrounds, who are cultured differently through distinct normative values that are peculiar to their communities. The mistake that many folk, however, make is to presume that their culture, norms, way of life and worldview are superior, and they often overestimate how much other people agree with their beliefs, attitudes, behaviours and values.

The Bishop has been closely following how Zimbabweans voted on various radio stations for songs they thought were hits in 2022.

You will be interested to know that the top five songs on Radio Zimbabwe, a national station, were “Makazvinzwepi” (Alick Macheso), “Nyaradzo Yababa” (Mark Ngwazi), “Zvinamatire” (Simon Mutambi), “Vana Vangu” (Tembo Brothers) and “Bvudzi Rangu Ramera” (Dorcas Moyo), respectively.

Despite the hype that accompanied the release of his song “Happy Again”, Winky D, who weirdly seems to set tongues wagging in politics rather than music, was sitting on number 19.

A different picture emerged on Star FM, where the top five songs for 2022 were “Fire Emoji” (Leo Magozz & Friends), “Silas Mavende” (Saint Fleow), “Haarore” (Takura), “Lola” (Ishan ft Annatoria) and “Vibration” (I am King), in that order.

Again, your favourite Gaffa was on number 15. It was the same pattern earlier in 2021.

On Radio Zimbabwe, “Kujata jata” by DT BiO Mudimba won it, followed by “Tsotso” (Ray Bopoto), “Mr Ibu” (Simon Mutambi) and “Bvisai Marara” (Dorcas Moyo).

Winky D occupied number 22.

He was even eclipsed by Chief Hwenje and Obert Chari’s duet, “Nditakure Ndiyende”. Kikikiki.

On Star FM, “Handipere Power” by Nutty O was voted the top song, followed by “Screenshot” (Roki), “Show Me Love” (Garry Mapanzure) and “Diamond Boys” (Kudakwashe Boys). Similarly, voters condemned our dreadlocked Zimdancehall muso to number 29. Kikikikiki.

The Bishop has used these anecdotes advisedly to show the dissimilarities in preferences and tastes that make communities unique.

You see, variety is the spice of life, but it is a spice that is supposed to make life sweeter, not bitter.

Romans 12 verse 16-19 counsels: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

False consensus

Last week, Bishop Lazarus took time to give you the data that shows that it would take nothing more than a miracle for the opposition in Zimbabwe to make any meaningful gains in ZANU PF’s strongholds, which helped to give it 144 seats in the National Assembly (a two-thirds majority) compared to a combined 66 seats won by its rivals.

Despite the preponderance of data that suggests it will be almost impossible for the opposition to wrest power from the ruling party, its activists cannot bring themselves to accept this unflattering reality.

You just have to listen to the CCC apparatchiks echo chambers on social media to see how these people seem to be comfortable living in a fantasy world created out of untruths.

Last week, we talked about the disease called confirmation bias that is afflicting the opposition (which was dealt with in detail in American organisational psychologist Adam Grant’s book aptly titled “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know”), but there is an even deadlier malady called the false consensus effect.

Another American psychologist, Professor Lee Ross from Stanford University, did a lot of work in the 1970s to understand this phenomenon, which essentially leads many people to see their own behavioural choices and judgements as relatively common and appropriate, while viewing alternative choices and judgements as uncommon, deviant or inappropriate.

So, this makes the false consensus effect a logical fallacy, where people overestimate how much other people agree with their own beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and values.

In some instances, it manifests in people who either think that others share their opinion on controversial topics or believe that the majority of people share their preferences.

Scientists opine that when we spend an inordinate amount of time in a closed group of family, friends and acquaintances who share similar opinions and beliefs, we start to think that their way of thinking is the majority opinion, which is not necessarily the case.

Put simply, this theory of the false consensus effect defines the tendency to project our way of thinking onto others by making the presumption that they also think the same way we do. By simply analysing the list of songs and musicians that people thought were popular in 2022, we can deduce that our own views, tastes and preferences are not shared by the generality of Zimbabweans.

Beyond our “eco chambers”, which are usually amplified on social media platforms, there is a different world that is united in its diversity. So, what is the Bishop driving at?

Well, Harare is not Zimbabwe.

Your favourite musician might also not be as popular as Simon Mutambi, Dorcas Moyo and Mark Ngwazi.

And, no matter how much unpalatable it might be for the opposition, ZANU PF is the most popular party in Zimbabwe.

The science, the numbers and voting patterns suggest this.

In its strongholds, ZANU PF is more than a religion — it is a lifestyle.

Social media does not reflect consensus views. The sooner the opposition reconciles itself to this fact, the better it would be for their politics.

Currently, they are behaving like a blind man strutting on a tight rope.

The result is inevitable.

Bishop out!

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