It’s time to commercialise the Zimbabwean story

It’s time to commercialise the Zimbabwean story

Zimbabwe is both ordinary and unique, ordinary in the sense that it has many similarities with other countries while unique in its difference in the same manner.

Historically, it is well known that Africans documented their culture and history mostly through oral means. This meant songs, poems, folklore, folktales as well as myths and legends were all ways in which history and culture was preserved for the sake of future generations.

Without doubt, most Africans are naturally gifted in the art of storytelling maybe it’s something biologically embedded within our genes. Along the way, something happened and reduced this ability of Africans, Zimbabweans in particular to tell their unique story.

While most of this can be attributed to capitalism and globalisation, more emphasis can be put on Zimbabwe’s failure to adapt with the times. Part of adapting with times is acknowledging how big economies such as the United States of America, Europe and parts of Asia have done it.

Most countries in the global north capitalise on individual heroism to boost their film, arts and literature sector. Whether it is a hero or villain, these countries have made it possible to fully tell interesting stories that initially construct and maintain their pop culture. The story is slightly different in Zimbabwe tonyanya kuzviisa muhana (we are too sensitive sometimes in a ridiculous manner).

A typical Zimbabwean would happily watch ‘El Chapo’, ‘Godfather of Harlem’ and ‘American Gangster’ amongst many other Biography movies that not only glorify past criminals but also popularises the trend. We do have villains and heroes, unique and outstanding in an art point of view.

From Chidhumo and Masendeke, the comrades who blew up oil refineries in the middle of Salisbury during the liberation struggle as well as our most popular historical figures: Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and Morgan Tsvangirai, all are rich stories of individuals who on a national and international level grab the attention of many.

Then of course like Marvels and DC comics Zimbabwe has many interesting myths and legends that deserves fondness and attention granted for those on a global level. Think of the ‘Nyami Nyami’ legend, the story of Nehanda, Kaguvi and Mkwathi, the people of Matopos and their sacred shrines and our famous ‘Mhondoros’ sprouted around the country.

All these can be fused to recreate ‘superhero’ movies that not only entertain us as audiences but also give a sense of belonging. Take for instance ‘Wonder Woman’, fictionally a direct descendent of the Greek god Zeus, she fights for the American Flag.

Additionally ‘Superman’ who is arguably the biggest comic superhero is synonymous with the American flag, without the American flag, ‘Superman’ cannot exist so as ‘Thor’ in the Marvels universe and so on and so forth.

All these seemingly simplistic notions are important in nation building as they give a sense of belonging through what scholars Billig and Andersen term ‘Banal nationalism’ and ‘Imagined communities’ respectively.

Anyways, what do I know, I’m just a Gweru kid. Remember to follow my social media handles to not miss my articles if you enjoyed this ones, signing out!