So I was doing some reading on my feed and I came across this exercise on Beaton’s blog. I just had to join in and so here’s my take.
Let’s play a game
A large tree has fallen across the road. The following are at the scene: a doctor, lawyer, CA, journalist, politician, NGO official, corporate executive, engineer, police, judge, teacher, hwindi, ordinary citizen
Pick any & imagine what they would do/propose*
— Alex T Magaisa 🇿🇼 (@Wamagaisa) April 25, 2020
If a tree falls to the ground and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? One could argue it doesn’t because after all no one can prove it does. But the end result is we have a tree on the ground. Well in this situation it’s across the road. Firstly everyone is in a Kombi (Commuter omnibus) except the politician, NGO official, Judge and corporate executive. Because those are the guys earning the most at the moment in Zimbabwe and not because they have the most chances of high value corruption.
Sometimes termed an SDO (Sliding door operator), this is the conductor of the Kombi. He gets sent out to check out the situation by the driver and he shouts back, “Zvakadhakwa mudhara… The situation is drunk.” He comes back to the vehicle and tells the passengers, “Vabereki tagumira pano… Our journey ends here!” The passengers grumble and complain but as usual one person gets off and the rest get off reluctantly one by one. The hwindi hands back the passengers half their busfare after furious negotiations.
The Kombi does a U-turn and immediately the hwindi starts shouting, “20 dollars town munhu wese… 20 dollars to town for everyone.” It was initially $10 when people got on the Kombi. The people ask why the price is higher and the hwindi replies, “Asirikuda ngaasare… Whoever doesn’t want should stay behind.”
The police officer is quiet during everything because he knows no one likes him there. Under a different government he used to get Kombi rides for free but now there’s no longer such privilege and everyone pays. But immediately after the Kombi does a u-turn the police officer tries to get in. The hwindi asks him for the busfare and he replies, “Shaa tiri pabasa… My friend I’m on the job.” Laughter erupts from the driver and the hwindi before he replies, “Zvepabasa pako unoita pabasa pako pano pabasa pedu… At your workplace you can do such things but here is our workplace not yours.”
The journalist gets out the Kombi soon after noticing the tree lying across the road. He’s already crafting a story about the storm last night and how it caused the uprooting of the tree but he notices it was cut by a chainsaw and switches his story to timber poaching. As the Kombi does a u-turn and starts charging twice the price for busfare the story goes from poaching to inflation and after the altercation of the police officer and the hwindi, the journalist is now writing about the entitlement of security services. It’s early morning and 4 potential stories are in the bag. It feels like such a good day to be stuck midway to work and late.
The engineer is actually an electrical engineer. The entire journey she’s been bothered by the wires sticking out from the compartment where the radio should be. She wonders how the dashboard is even functioning with the state of the wiring but keeps it to herself.
The ordinary citizen has been busy referring to different sources online and on WhatsApp to figure out what a decent rate for Zimbabwe dollars to US dollars would be. He had only enough legal money to get into town and he was hoping to transact US dollars on the black market. It was a simple plan to get some shopping done and return home but now he doesn’t have enough to return home and he’s thinking about walking the rest of the way into town. After all he’s unemployed and surviving on receiving western union from relatives abroad.
The politician arrives on the scene and immediately proclaims that the tree chopped down by wood poachers is a symbol of a deeper lying disease of corruption in the country. He tries to congregate the people together to give them a speech. He speaks on the ineptitude of the road traffic council and speaks on the wasted funds from toll gates. The crowd is slow to warm up to him but soon they’re swayed into a frenzy.
But another politician arrives and notifies the guy standing on top of the fallen tree that he’s no longer in her political party. A party which he had left a year earlier. So the new politician claims the tree as her symbol of the strength of the nation and this guy who was first on the scene tries to utilise his political power displayed by the support of the people and the police officer rushes there and arrests him.
The lawyer immediately begins notifying the officer that people have rights and he should observe. He’s asking, “What are the charges?” The officer replies, “The charges shall be answered in court.”
The judge arrives in her 4 x 4 and everyone is impressed. Conversation about the car breaks out and the tree is temporarily forgotten. The lawyer is ecstatic at her presence and he runs to the car shouting about rights being violated and the necessity of an immediate judgement. The judge goes to her boot and grabs the official wig (Which we simply adopted from colonial times) and heads to the arrested politician to give immediate judgement.
The lawyer and the judge arrive at the fallen tree and they find the officer standing alone. They ask about the arrested politician and he says, “I let him free.” But upon searching around the politician cannot be found. The lawyer is furious and announces this is an abduction of an innocent civilian. The female politician who arrived with the news that the guy had been kicked of the political party says this is a fake abduction in order to run away from the law.
Arguments erupt and it’s a scene.
A car screeches to a halt and the doctor gets out rushing to the fallen tree. He asks, “What’s going on here I have a severely injured man in my car who needs urgent medical attention?” Everyone starts assisting in moving the tree enough to clear a path for the doctors car. There’s a great effort of team work and soon there’s space enough for the car to pass. Everyone is standing on the sides of the roads and as the car passes by they notice that the severely beaten man sitting in passenger seat of the doctor’s car is the politician that went missing.