A few weeks ago I was directed to Africa Online (NZ) to read the review of the Celeb Wedding where Fortune and Zanele tied the knot. Reading through the review got me thinking about something someone said at an event where there were a number of Africans present. All that this person said shaking his head was, “it’s tough being black”! What he was referring to was the manner in which people arrived at the event and the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the evening. It was a case of look at the car I am driving, look at who I am with, look at what I am wearing and so on. Reading the review of the wedding just got me thinking about how with so many black people it is all about the ‘show’ and ‘keeping up appearances’.
Going back to the wedding, to me it seemed like the wedding was put on as a show of God knows what for the guests. It is all well and good to celebrate such a day to the fullest and being a Zimbabwean wedding you can expect it to be a jam packed and joyous event. But, when it goes to the point of talking about how we did this, did that, had this, had that it takes a bit of light off what the day was about. Marriage is the union of two souls and when a wedding goes over the top it can take a lot of essence off of that.
You don’t have to try hard or even look far to find people out there who go to great lengths to make it look as if they have made it when that may not necessarily be the case. For a lot of them, they are struggling to make ends meet and trying to keep up appearances is fuelling their journey towards more debt. On the outside they may look happy and as if they have got it all together but in actual fact there may be amongst other things emotional turmoil.
This is something that I failed to understand in the early 90’s when I would observe young Zimbabwean’s in the middle of summer sweating up and down 1st Street for hours on end and wearing heavy jeans and a leather jacket. Regardless of the temperature, the leather jacket would not come off because I guess it looked good. This is the same phenomenon I am still seeing today almost two decades later but I still fail to understand it.
That there is where “it’s tough being black” came from. Some of these people are likely to spend their last few dollars on something to enhance their social standing than something more beneficial such as food. But, who am I to judge? People can do and are entitled to do whatever they want to do but what is the point when nothing meaningful comes from it?