Happy birthday to you

BY MAGAISA IBENZI WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE - This year, two very old people celebrate their birthdays. One will turn 80 and the other 82. Both are heads of state and they once had tea together. In those days they were quite dear friends. Of course you've guessed it by now - one of

the Queen of England and the other is the President of Zimbabwe.

To mark the auspicious occasion in England, I understand that the Queen is turning her garden at Buckingham Palace into a children’s playground – complete with characters from children’s books. Thousands of children will be invited to eat, drink and have fun on the special day.

As one expect from this great democracy, the guest list is being compiled very democratically indeed. Every child in the realm can apply for a ticket via the BBC website. The lucky participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

The idea behind the themed event is to promote a love of reading among children. And who is footing the bill for this noble gesture – the dear old lady herself.

In Zimbabwe, on the other hand, the royal birthday will be celebrated in style – as indeed it has been every year for the past 26 years. A huge bash, to overtake all previous bashes, has been planned for the party faithful in Manicaland. Only the rich, famous and Zanu (PF)-connected – and only adults – can expect to be invited. No snotty-nosed kids are going to mess up this birthday bash.

I understand gallons of beer will be provided by our national brewers, while many chickens and buffalo, and maybe even a few elephant, should expect to lose their heads. Of course we all know that our birthday-boy Robert loves cow’s liver, so I am sure quite a few heads of cattle will also roll.

I wonder where they will get the mealie meal from? Maybe the next UN World Food Programme consignment will be diverted via Mutare. Or maybe they will have potatoes this year instead.

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