Making marbles from manure

Before video games, marbles were the most coveted toy. Apart from their recreational value, marbles were currency. A child could swop his marble for a Sherbet or comic book.

When his parents would not buy him marbles, one boy, who lived on a farm, decided to get creative. When he saw dung beetles pushing balls of cattle excrement, the solution had literally rolled into his path. He took the manure balls and dried them in the sun. Thereafter, he dipped them in the extract of tree bark. After further sun exposure, the coating of bark sap gave the dung balls a glossy appearance, just like the real thing. With his bag full of counterfeits, he arrived in the playground and invited other boys to play.

Immediately there were takers. The first marble tossed hit the mark. His ‘marble’ was smashed to smithereens. The rule of marbles is simple: if you hit it, it’s yours. When one of the players sniffed at a fragment of the counterfeit marble, he immediately recoiled. The fraud was exposed. A fight broke out. The two brawlers were sent to the headmaster, a man who was not averse to the use of a stick. As the boys left the school office, the headmaster’s parting word to the fraudster was ‘Son, you can’t polish manure.’

Since 2000, Zanu (PF) has craved legitimacy. The ruling party will stop at nothing to regain local and global acceptance. When MDC’s David Coltart recently said Robert Mugabe showed much awareness for a 90-year-old, state media took those words and refashioned them to mean that Mugabe is fit enough to compete in the Mr Universe bodybuilding contest.

The AU election observer mission was imprecise in its summation of 31 July 2013 – ‘generally free and peaceful’ – but Zanu (PF) did celebratory cartwheels, taking the verdict to mean ‘thumbs up.’ Recently, the party orchestrated some bogus EU tourism award and even got the awarding body to ‘endorse’ them as the world’s best tourist destination –despite Mugabe’s police harassing journalists and the constant shortages of electricity and running water.

Even Mugabe’s own tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi has said ‘in 1996, Harare International Airport was busier than OR Tambo, with approximately 40 national airliners based in Zimbabwe, but now only 13 airlines remain.’ When first lady, Grace, was denied a visa to travel to Belgium, Mugabe threw his toys and pouted. Angry at being denied the approval he so badly craves, Mugabe refused to attend the EU summit and invited other African heads of state to join the boycott. They all packed their bags and went to Brussels.

For Zanu (PF) even Nelson Mandela’s death was a moment not to mourn but to cry out for recognition. ‘What about Mugabe? Struggle icon too!’ they shouted. Nobody listened. For most people, being ignored is a cue to sit down and be quiet. But for Mugabe and his cohorts, it only means they must shout louder.

Post published in: Analysis

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