They got cash in envelopes from the President for winning BB.

Original title: How to Run A Banana Republic, or How to lose your Bra and gain $10 000
Discussion Point: Is it reasonable for people in public offices to give out such large sums in this way as personal gifts in a country where $50 000 is more than a hundred times the monthly salary of a magistrate. Freedom to give? Definitely freedom to receive?

Posted by Petina Gappah on

Friday, 5 August 2011

So this is what happened yesterday in Zimbabwe. The President presented envelopes stuffed with cash to two contestants in the last Big Brother Africa. The winner of the series, Wendall, received $50 000 of Zimbabwe’s dirtiest money, and I am not casting aspersions here, but simply pointing that the notes circulating in Zimbabwe are notoriously grimy. (This is what happens when you don’t print your own money).

Also sharing in the presidential largesse was Vimbai Mutinhiri, who did not win. She received $10 000. Now, I am as fond of Zanu PF as anyone would be after seeing it preside over the rack and ruin of a country one loves, but there are many things that prevent me from fully taking it into the warm embrace of my welcoming arms. For one thing, there is the gaucheness of giving out envelopes stuffed with cash. Who does that, I mean, this not some low level mafiosos making a down payment
for a hit on the Capo. Whatever happened to those big fake cheques?
Then there is the startling image of Mugabe handing over a stuffed envelope to a girl whose most celebrated skill on Big Brother appears to have been standing still while people took off her bra with their teeth. Race to the bottom, anyone? It is all bread and circuses of course, distraction and diversion. I want to say it is all very surreal, but it is just Zimbabwe. We sigh and move on. This is how you run a Banana Republic.
Image from NewZimbabwe.

Posted by Petina Gappah


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