Assiduous readers will know that Walt spent some years, before the turn of the century, knocking around Zimbabwe (the Rhodesia that was), watching a state becoming a failed state, before my very eyes. Almost everyone I knew there has since departed the country, or departed this life entirely So, to keep up with the news from the Dark Continent, I rely on my old chum, Dr CZ, who writes the second part of "Cabinet Files" in the Financial Gazette, every Thursday. It is Dr CZ who calls his compatriots "Zimbos", *meaning "Zimbabweans", nothing more or less.
In last week's column, Dr CZ invited Zimbos interested in assisting him in carrying out a strategic survey that he was planning to undertake to contact him as a matter of urgency. Here is the notice which appeared at the end of the column.
"This is very urgent. Dr CZ is looking for six Zimbos out there who are willing to help him with some strategic research that he will be conducting in the next few days. It is a three-day contract. Over and above being provided with transport, accommodation and meals, the assistants — who should be holders of at least any tertiary qualification — will each be paid an allowance of US$800 per day. The contract days are from the 29 to 31 of this month. Anyone interested should urgently e-mail their name and contact number to the e-mail below. The offer is strictly on a first-come-first-served basis."
The column appeared on February 23rd, and readers will note that the contract on offer was to run "from the 29 to 31 of this month". The joke should have been obvious to anyone who learned "30 days hath September...", but it seems post-colonial Zimbabwean education does not include any reference to that little saying. This week, Dr CZ reports on the aftermath, as follows...
"Although Dr CZ had just asked for those interested to submit their names and contact numbers for the piece of work that was to take place between February 29 and 31, as late as at the time of going to print this March, desperate emails were still trickling into his mail-box… most of them accompanied with bulky CVs and several phone numbers and dozens of the applicants are holders of several post graduate degrees. It was one of Dr CZ’s many asinine pranks that many of his fans took seriously. What was intended to start and end as just harmless mischief has turned out to be a real survey. The results of the survey show what happens when people become hopelessly desperate.
"If the applicants were mere village yokels who could hardly tell their left from right, one would have assumed that none of them knew that the dates on which the survey was supposed to take place do not exist on this side of the rainbow yet, but these are very educated men and women whose basic commonsensical reasoning has since been evaporated by the dire personal situations they find themselves in.
"Most of these people could be fathers and mothers, whom entire clans look upon. Yet they cannot do anything about their situation. This explains why seemingly normal people end up doing things that people in normal situations would not think possible. This perpetuates the abnormality that this country is increasingly getting known to be. This is the sad reality of the situation that this country has deteriorated to… never mind what officialdom says."
Quite right. 37 years after the perfidious British sold out Ian Smith's "white settler regime" to the darker-complected Africans, Zimbabwe has become a basket case... with the bottom now on the verge of falling out of the basket. With every passing day, Zimbabwe gets worse and worse. The Dark Continent gets ever darker.
Further reading: "Mugabe's corpse could win next Zimbabwe election, widow-to-be says", WWW 18/2/17.