So with all the drama preceding this weekend’s farcical wedding, there was really not that much attention given to the Jamaican ire at President Robert Mugabe’s comments on the islanders.
In a speech at the University of Zimbabwe President Mugabe called Jamaican men lazy, pot-smokers uninterested in education.
While giving a lecture at a Research and Intellectual Expo 2012:
In Jamaica they have freedom to smoke mbanje, varume vanogara vakadhakwa (men are always drunk) and universities are full of women. The men want to sing and do not go to colleges vamwe vanobva vamonwa musoro (some are dreadlocked). Let us not go there.
It is easy to see why the Jamaican men would be upset. They have pretty much been called lazy and uneducated. That would make the Christians and conservatives in that country very upset, wouldn’t it?
However one must realise that this statement is based on the image that the country portrays to the world.A dreadlocked man walking around Harare expects random people to refer to him as muJama (Jamaican) and at a party he is expected to be the one who has the weed. The police will stop him in the street for a random search because it is widely believed that locked people are likely to have marijuana on them. That is in spite of the fact that locks are more rooted in Africa than Jamaica.
Then you think of the fact that the biggest Jamaican is its music and the culture expressed in it. That music is laden with references to ganja smoking, drinking, sex, violence among other things. Yes, there are conscious songs that make it through as well, but on the whole the less positive songs lend a lot towards moulding the image of that country. Even in those conscious songs there is extensive reference to the herb and its spiritual value. More power to them.
As we said this does not mean everyone in Jamaica is like that. Just like not everyone in Nigeria is a con-artist and not all Chinese products are fake. However those are the traits projected of those countries.
It is easy to then argue using statistics and call President Mugabe unfair, misguided and ill-advised. This, however might be a time to work on rehabilitating the image of that country. Perception and context is everything.
Were the president’s comments necessary? Probably not if taken out of context. However sometimes we need to take responsibility for how much we lend to problem.
We know all about that. Zimbabwe is working on its image too.