Zimbabweans regularly fall into a frenzy for titles (tiltle-phoria) where everyone within the upper echelons of power wants to put that title either as a suffix or prefix to their name. In the end everyone becomes an entrepreneur, farmer or quite recently the trending doctor or prophet.
Here are several titles that has been overused and abused in Zimbabwe that they have almost lost meaning altogether.
The ‘bloodshed’ profiters have made their names by mesmerising their followers with tricks. At one point, they refereed to themselves as pastors before elevating themselves to apostles. As their arrogance grew, they anointed themselves as bishops before they found another title: prophet. Nowadays they stand at street corners uttering words they claim to be prophetic. They are yet to contribute solutions to Zimbabwe’s challenges but enjoy scaring people with their ‘bloodshed’ prophecies.
With the economy in a comatose condition, and slipping back to the horrendous 2008 levels, people have been jolted into seeking other money making ventures to complement earnings. Thanks to ZimASSET, almost everyone is selling something. Everyone has become a hustler offering products/services that almost everyone is else selling. The entrepreneur has become but the airtime vendor (a direct casualty of the economic meltdown) who is struggling to put food on the table. Propagandists and spin-doctors seeking to justify ZimASSET have abused the word and distorted its meaning. In 2008 everyone was a billionaire but with little to show for it, in 2014 everyone is an ‘entrepreneur’ but with little to show for it.
3. New farmer
It is now almost 14 years after ‘land distribution’. At most, some of the resettled farmers are over 10 years on their plots yet they are still referred to as new. Although they feel and look new, these farmers are not new at all. A president who has been at the helm for ten years cannot be referred to as a new president. The ‘new’ farmer Waits for the beginning of the rainy season to descend on his plot accompanied by at most two labourers equipped with hoes, a few sacks of fertilizers and nothing more. The farm is more of a summer vacation for the dude to escape from the wife and family.
Whether medical or academic honorary, the title has lost its meaning. The 80’s frenzy when everyone scrambled to be recognised as fundi seems to have returned. This time no longer do people have to study to attain the degree. Now it is about money and power. The title ‘Doctor’ is now about prestige rather than to contribute towards social good. Unsurprisingly, the list of PhD holders in government and public offices keeps rising but the list of solutions to the nation’s crisis keeps dwindling.
Comrade is Portuguese friend but the title has been ‘reserved’ for and to mean only veterans of the liberation struggle. In that way, it has been used to alienate the rest of the society. However, there is a new crop of comrades (Young Turks) who have managed to smuggle themselves into the system with no other intention but to steal and plunder.
The new “comrades” are but looters and opportunists have outwitted the old guard, sliding through the backdoor to get a chance to bite the national cake that has now become a preserve of the few. In the end, the comradeship that existed during the struggle has since been lost and the true comrades who carried the struggle have been forgotten and replaced by elite (black Smith regime).
Its really a circus when one begins to be addressed as “doctor-comrade-amai” so and so or when they referred to as “doctor-prophet.”
I therefore call upon those with the might to return to sanity and restore the dignity especially of our academic titles.