Forthcoming elections, Wiztech and Feminist Politricks: A conversation with my 12year old son Part 1
I have just arrived from a cross border trip. My cell-phone had lost data connectivity for 5 days. When it finally regains connectivity the first message I get on WhatsApp from the list of messages that were pending delivery is from my 12 year old son.
“Mummy, when are you coming? Hakuchisina zvekuona paTV wiztech rakabviswa machannels ese and for us to see the other channels other than ZBC you have to subscribe for DSTV.” When I finalyy meet my sons, the anxiety written on his face is disturbing. No time for hugs and greetings, straight to the point!
“Mummy, how can you help me register to vote?”
“Son, people of your age do not vote in national elections.”
“I know mummy but isn’t there a way I can cast my vote? It will count.”
“How will your vote count?” I ask, wanting to laugh. When I take a second look at him I realise the seriousness. He is almost in tears, and my motherly instincts quickly hold me accountable. I realise I need time with him, to talk about our beloved country.
I extend a hand to hug his tiny body and slowly bring him closer to me. Vus is slim and handsome, and for his WhatsApp status he is “The sicker version of Kobe Bryant”, the American basket-ball star.
“Why do you want your vote to count Vus?”
“Things must change mummy. We can’t get the cheaper SABC channels on Wiztech, and I know you cannot afford DSTV. I want to watch TV.”
I feel sorry for the sicker version of Kobe Bryant, but I fight hard to hide my emotions.
“But what does this have to do with voting now?” I teasingly ask.
“Mummy, the issue is political. South Africa is withdrawing support from Zimbabwe. Now the President is making things worse, he is saying Zimbabwe can even dissociate itself from Sadc.”
“What if we dissociate ourselves from Sadc? We are a sovereign state love.”
“We need to be connected to other countries mummy. We even get electricity and fuel from other countries.”
“Maybe the channels are off so that you can watch your own ZTV channels love, your home channels!”
“Mummy No! I can watch ZTV when I want but I also have a choice to watch other channels. SABC educates whilst entertaining, and ZTV is all about a certain political party. I need good information. I want to shine in the quiz club mummy, and I can’t miss world sport and football And after all ZTV is bor….!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The last time Vus got me into trouble was when he wrote FEMINIST on a school survey form where the authorities wanted to know the occupations of their learners’ parents. The headmaster urgently summoned me to explain why I taught my son the wrong words, and lies too because there was no profession called FEMINIST!
“I grinned at the school headmaster and silently rehearsed my “You don’t know what I know oh!” slogan before I slowly excused myself from his office.
“ZTV is bor…..!” Vus comes again.
I stand looking at him, stupefied. I want to affirm what he is saying, I want to shout back, “And full of b… s… lies too!”
But I cannot do that. Not at this moment. A mother has a way of taking the pain to instil hope in her child. These are the joys of motherhood.
“And mummy, how could Obama do this?”
“Yes. When he visited South Africa he pressurised the South Africans to remove all aid from Zimbabwe because Mugabe’s dictatorship was not benefitting anyone. He also did the same with sanctions in the past. Does he ever pause to consider what this will do to some of us?”
“Maybe he is right, Zimbabweans must feel the pinch in order to change the situation.”
“But it’s us who will feel the pinch mummy. The President has DSTV and we don’t.”
I want to scream and tell him DSTV is not all that women need, but before I do so I see the light. Yes, sources of information are more important than the information itself because they determine what gets into our ears. Yes its true, the switching-off of the SABC channels ahead of elections give Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the state broadcaster monopoly over information. In a repressive and partisan state the state controlled media is the major foot soldier of a form of patriarchy called MILITARISM. ZBC’s record of partisan broadcasting has left many in Zimbabwe with little confidence in its credibility as a source of news.
In February last year, Sentech was ordered by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to encrypt its signal within the next three months. It is unclear why it took the company until after Obama’s visit to comply with the court ruling. The scrambling of the SABC’s three TV channels available in Zimbabwe via free-to-air decoders, ahead of elections due later this month will deprive the majority of voters who cannot afford DSTV of alternative sources of information.
My body is sweating. I feel a lump in my throat and my head aches. If I continue body mapping every part will register a pain, so I stop!
I hear her, yes I hear her voice – and visualise her contagious smile too!
Everything we have been through in our lives is inscribed in our bodies. Socialisation programmes us, our experiences programme us and sometimes the first stages of illness are those things we have in our hearts. We ignore the pains because we don’t have the support and we have a million things to do. Whatever manifests is somewhere in you and there is something triggering it. This is why HMB is important as a political strategy? There is need to look at the society that we live in, and at ourselves in various aspects in relation to the world, moving from the personal to the political context.
I have a way of listening to my mind during tense situations. My palms and fingers itch, and I know I have to write.
Yes, let the mind sing
and let the pen dance
Let the mind sing
and the pen dance
Black ink against white paper
Let the mind sing
and the pen dance
Sing and dance of hopeful sons
and of resilient mothers
Of hopeful sons
and of resilient mothers, resilient mothers, resilient mothers!