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May weirdos please hold their peace

19 Apr 2020 at 07:43hrs | Views
Huntsmen are literally worshipped like gods in the village.

This is hardly surprising because of the eternal struggle to get palatable relish.

Most often, meal times - either lunch or supper - invariably mean pap (sadza) and one of the different types of abominable vegetables.

It gets worse especially during the rainy season when all types of "greens" spring forth from the moist earth.

However bitter or unsavoury a vegetable might be, it can still be eaten for as long as it is not toxic.

So, eating in the village is not even about culinary pleasures or delights, but it is about keeping body and soul together.

Bishop Lazi would gladly eat pumpkin leaves (muboora) and okra (derere), but he wouldn't take pigweed (mowa) or poor man's spinach (bonongwe).

Well, he will also eat spider flower (nyevhe) conditionally — provided it has sufficient vegetable oil.

But, if there is a vegetable that he would not eat even if he was paid to do so, it is the dreaded fresh cowpea leaves (munyemba).

Dear reader, you would know what is for lunch or dinner when cowpea leaves are being prepared even from a mile away because they really announce themselves.

Surely, how can something so awfully pungent be even considered for human consumption? Yuck!!

It is, therefore, a no-brainer that meat is a treasured commodity in communities.

Remember that fabled granny from Chivi, Masvingo, whose craving for a savoury dish forced her to make a broth from boiling stones, or that common forbidding saying that claims that if you recklessly make the elderly taste fish soup, they would most likely drown in the well trawling for fish in order to make a tasty broth.

It is all about meat.

This is the reason why huntsmen are largely considered deities.

The Bishop's uncle was one such specie.

His name was known far and wide for he was quite the consummate hunter.

His dusk-to-midnight hunting trips, which usually were mind-boggingly conducted using one dog and an assortment of rudimentary hand-made weapons, often led to an impressive haul of game, ranging from hares, porcupines, duickers and the elusive steenbucks (mhene).

But, he had one golden rule: he always did not want to be accompanied on these trips.

Many villagers who hunted in gangs using a pack of dogs — whose hunting trips were often unproductive — always used to wonder how he was so successful.

As is often the norm, they settled for the village's default logical conclusion — muti.

Years later, Bishop Lazi's revered uncle told him that notwithstanding the invaluable skill of spearing prey, a hunter's prized asset was stealth, which entails stalking the unsuspecting animal by getting close enough to get the kill shot; all the while inconspicuously moving against the wind to avoid detection.

Being stealthy means being wary that every footfall does not set off a twig that acts as an alarm in the wild.

You see, there in an art to hunting; you can never outrun wild animals, but you can definitely outsmart and outflank them.

Gathering an unwieldy group for a hunt increases the likelihood of conscripting weirdos whose cacophony is likely to spook the targeted prey.

Proverbs 1:17 says, "How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it."

Contriving nonsense

Similarly, frontline health workers hunting down the coronavirus in our communities can definitely do without the hysterical weirdos distractingly crying out wolf at every turn.

It is not uncommon to have growing cases of hysteria especially during times of crises, but it is quite unhelpful if it is being deliberately spread.

Bishop Lazarus recalls that more than 25 days ago, one of those supposedly online news site — it must be called "live" or "dead" something — did a thread on Twitter ostensibly to uncover a purported cover-up by the Ministry of Health and Child Care of growing Covid-19 cases.

We will let the dross, which was tweeted on March 26, speak for itself.

Thread one: "Getting answers to any question from @MoHCCZim is nigh impossible (sic). Yet we continue to get information about suspected outbreaks of coronavirus around the country. Let us try this, perhaps they will answer: A thread.

Thread two: "On March 24, a man walked into Dema Police and said their relative had died from suspected Covid-19. Police took body to Chitungwiza Hospital. They were screened and man who reported dead relative had temperature of 39.5 degrees Celsius. What was done with his body, the relative and officers?"

Thread three: "There are reports of a Chinese national and a Zimbabwean driver who died at Zesa Hwange — the suspicion being that this was Covid-19. Has this come to the attention of the command centre? Have the bodies been tested for Covid-19? What is being done to other employees?"

The hysterical tweets did not end there.

It would be quite helpful if the same news site dutifully tells us what became of the Dema man, Hwange incident, ZCDC case and the Morgan Zintec College incident — all mentioned in the thread.

This is why Bishop Lazi always says cyberspace is not a virtual sovereignty beyond terrestrial jurisdictions, which simply means it has to be regulated so that mischief-makers, who are finding it as a convenient habitat, can be held accountable.

Currently, the world wide web (www) has mutated into a wild wild west, where the vile excesses of society are tolerated or even condoned.

Misinformation, disinformation, hallucinations, hysteria and outright lies and ignorance have become the staple of social media.

Ignorance

Dr Tafataona Mahoso — God bless him! — once argued that the country's impressive over-90 percent literacy rate only meant that a commendable size or our population could read and write, but this did not guarantee that whatever they read and wrote could possibly be expected to be reasonable.

He could have been right.

Some folk, if not most folk, Bishop Lazi included, will not readily admit that they do not know anything about a subject under discussion; they will blissfully insert themselves in every debate, however technical it might be.

With the advent of the ongoing pandemic, we have all become health experts.

That the country needs to ramp up testing for the virus, as it has begun doing, cannot be disputed, but suggesting that it has to be door-to-door testing might be unhelpfully aspirational.

To put this into context, by mid-last week the United States — the country most effected by the disease, with more than 600 000 cases — had only tested a little more than two million people, which is roughly the size of Harare.

America has more than 350 million people.

This simply means there must be a clear method of identifying, isolating and contact tracing (tracking down those that came into contact with infected person), which is the gold standard for dealing with epidemics and pandemics.

And a lockdown necessarily curtails human movements and enables health workers hunting down the disease to map areas that are affected, identify clusters and activate the relevant health protocols.

This is what heath experts are trained to do, and are doing. Weirdos — armchair and doomsday critics, including self-acclaimed know-it-all experts — must stay in their lane and let frontline healthcare workers — the huntsmen of current times — do their job.

Again, you see, there in an art to hunting the virus; you can never outrun it, but you can definitely outsmart and outflank it.

Bishop out!

Source - sundaymail
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