Warriors provide welcome relief

BY LITANY BIRD Dear Family and Friends, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a football fan or even a football follower but this week I found myself being swept along in the fever that seemed to have infected the whole country. After six years of deep political turmoil and dramatic eco

nomic collapse in Zimbabwe I didn’t think that there was anything that could unite us as a country.

I was wrong!

This week all boundaries and differences were put aside and regardless of race, class, religion or politics, the whole country looked to football for relief. It didn’t matter where you went this week or whoyou talked to, the only topic of conversation was The African Cup of Nations and the two games facing Zimbabwe’s team – the Warriors.

The talk at first was about winning and losing but after we lost the first game against Senegal hopes began to fade. Football commentators on state TV said the Warriors would need divine intervention as the next match was against a much stronger team. Football talk reached frantic levels, everyone, everywhere was on about it and predicting the score became a national past-time and caused passionate debate.

For a week Zimbabwe’s Warriors gave us a diversion from the daily grind, they gave us something else to think about and forced us to look outside of our own struggles – no easy task in these desperate times.

In between electricity cuts and football games, it has been a very difficult week to follow events and politics in Zimbabwe. Every night this week the main evening news was cancelled on state-owned TV – replaced by football games – all of them and not just Zimbabwe’s matches.

There was one diversion that raised a small ripple of attention and it came in the form of an announcement from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It was a strangely worded statement, that sounded more like a religious or marital pronouncement than a financial fact. It read: “We are pleased to announce that with effect from Feb 01 2006, a higher denomination of $50,000 bearer cheque will be added to the denominational family of bearer cheques so as to bring added convenience to the transacting public.”

For people unfamiliar with Zimbabwe’s currency, we don’t have coins or even conventional bank notes anymore as they were unable to keep pace with our almost 600% inflation. Instead we have bits of paper called bearer cheques, which is the equivalent of money but has expiry dates which the government keep renewing as the economy continues to decline.

So from next week we are going to have a new bearers cheque with a value of $50,000 and this just makes most of us laugh. Imagine your biggest denomination bank note not even being enough to buy a loaf of bread?

I’ll end this week by saying thanks to the Warriors for trying your best, giving us a diversion and managing to do what no one else in Zimbabwe can do – uniting the country for a few days. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu.

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Post published in: Opinions

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