Who will tell the story of the storyteller?

24 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Who will tell the story of the storyteller?

The Sunday Mail

Howdy folks!
Ni hao!

It is quite an honour to be given this special privilege to share my thoughts, opinions and commentary on sports with you every week.
Oh, shucks, sorry for the bad manners.
First things first, I should introduce myself.
My name is Bra Shakes.
I am an avid sports fan.
Well, actually, not a sports fan, but a fanatic.
I am the kind of fan who, when tranced with unrestrained joy, will rip off his shirt — never mind my scrawny frame and physique — and deliriously revel in the fleeting moment of victory.
I just cannot help myself.
It is such a shame that our athletes no longer give us those enduring magical moments that live with us forever.
In football, for example, ball artistry, which provided the quintessential value of football entertainment, has become a rarity; that is, if it still exists at all.
Back in the day, we used to have a surfeit of wizards who could enchant fans and leave them spellbound.
There was a little magician at Dynamos called Vitalis “Digital” Takawira, who was a nuisance for many a defender.
He could slalom his way around the pitch with relative ease and also used to liberally dispense nutmegs to opponents.
With this endearing talent and trait, Takawira used to leave fans absolutely delirious.
He was a joy to watch and must have been a nightmare to play against.
And who can forget the technically gifted Muteji brothers, Cain and Abel, the determined George Mbwando and the unplayable Alois Bunjira, among a galaxy of stars that dazzled with their swashbuckling performance in the 1995 All-Africa Games, which we proudly hosted?
But players do not come as sleek and mercurial as Peter Ndlovu, whose incredible talent took him from Bulawayo to the bright lights of Coventry, England, blazing the trail for African players in the English Premier League.
And when he joined the elite league, he was no wimp either, as he managed to make history, becoming the first player to score a hat-trick at Anfield, Liverpool’s cherished fortress.
His name will forever be etched in the annals of British football history.
But the halcyon days in our football are clearly well and truly gone.
Bra Shakes recently needed a bit of convincing to attend a local football match in the top-flight, and as expected, he was nearly bored to death.
It was just a thoroughly lifeless and listless performance; the kind of which will leave the mind of even the most determined supporter drifting to focus on something else than the action on the pitch.
Not even a single player could successfully dribble past the opponent.
Whoever came with this philosophy that players should neither dribble nor run with the ball — often supported by the useless mantra “don’t run with the ball; let the ball run for you” — is a criminal responsible for the decline in standards and entertainment value of our local football.
ZACC (the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) and the ZRP (the Zimbabwe Republic Commission) should look into it.
But even more criminal were the screaming headlines the day after the match.
Punctuated by the usual cliches — “a game of two halves”, “action swung from one side of the pitch to the other”, “scintillating display”, et cetera — the match reports painted a different reality to what Bra Shakes had witnessed the day before.
How sad!
But this is to be expected.
At a time when our storytellers, who are supposed to be the sentinels of our society, are embedded, the truth and facts are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
So, who will tell the story of the storyteller?
It reminds me of the story of Khama Billiat’s unveiling at the Heart Stadium in Waterfalls, Harare, on February 29.
Bra Shakes was told there was a huge convocation of storytellers, as more than 40 journalists turned up for the glitzy event.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, there is everything wrong with journalists asking Yadah for “transport money” to leave the venue.
Some say about half of the supposed storytellers — if at all they are storytellers — walked away US$20 richer.
We just hope this is not true.
There is also another story that when the now-relegated Black Rhinos played its matches at Vengere Stadium in Rusape, only one scribe used to dutifully cover their matches.
What, however, was surprising was the fact that when the army side played certain teams, the “press box” would be oversubscribed.
And we are not talking about any of the big teams.
It is also the same in cricket, where the wayward behaviour of some players of the “gentleman’s game”, who were in the habit of smoking weed, was only revealed by Zimbabwe Cricket a month after the scandal.
Likewise, two years ago, it also took the International Cricket Council to announce to the world former Chevrons captain Brendan Taylor’s corruption and cocaine shenanigans.
In all this, our storytellers, who, to an extent, have become part of the problem, were snoozing, or looking the other way.
We need to fix this.
But fixing it will involve uncomfortable conversations that necessarily interrogate our venality and probity.
Are we sincere?
Who will tell the story of the storyteller?
Until next time.
Yours Sincerely,
Bra Shakes.

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