For 19 years, a senior work colleague sought to change my surname from the rightful KAMWI. Has presidential candidate, Nkosana Moyo, just played the tribal card?


In every document, he forwarded to me, my surname had an “e” the end. Now, Paulo Coelho says “when you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.”  Harsh words but true.


I tried to let it pass. But I did not see the supposed humour on my surname, if any was intended. What was clear was that Kamwi did not answer to his tribal lexicon. Thus, at times, he would take his humour a gear up – and refer to me as “kamwechete (once only)!”

I detested this puerile approach in much the same way I do the widespread and seemingly incorrigible reaction of those who say ah, you are Ndebele? Your Shona (speech) has a Ndebele tone.” 

I think, tribalism is a mental prison…and pride of identity coupled with  arrogance is one of the leading factors that limit one’s ability to abandon it.

The Republic of South Sudan does not belong to a particular tribe – it belongs to all tribes of South Sudan; those who think so should think coherently. The truth is, tribalism kills and destroys.

from Duop Chak Wuol

What matters? Is it the tone or the message?  I need to note that I have met a number of international workers in my work. Among these, I count members of the United Nations family. I listen to their messages, never to the tones. It is not my duty to study tones but to communicate. I, therefore, cannot stop anyone mid-sentence, just to remark on his or her tone.

I first met this attitude in the late 1980s. I had left Bulawayo to pursue further studies in Harare. I was born of a Namibian father and South African mother. My early schooling was in Bulawayo where I found ready use for my mother’s Xhosa. My father spoke nine other languages. For this reason, I always have a puzzled look when someone asks for my ancestry. I am African, not so?

In Harare, (I am referring to 1985 to 1988), unless we were huddled in our familiar groups, the language changed to Shona.

But we do not learn! I am not sure what weight I should give to the Nkosana Moyo story, which was clearly the lowest point of my reading today!

For those who may not know him, Nkosana Moyo is a former government minister in Zimbabwe who has decided to run for president in next year’s elections. Any follower of Zimbabwean history will know that such announcements are met with melodramatic shows of excitement, debate and endless advice to the candidate.

After feeding to saturation point from the political trough, I thought a new narrative was afoot. I cannot anymore! Just when I was looking forward to robust and rousing debate on issues that matter, my reading today, met with this headline:

   Nkosana Moyo Is Shona Not Ndebele. (I get a feeling

    an exclamation mark or celebratory emoji should

    close the headline).


 Presidential aspirant, Nkosana Moyo, is Shona and not Ndebele as has been
said before.

The former Industry and Trade Minister who during the week announced he is upstaging Robert Mugabe for State House next year, is from Mberengwa, his cousin and former cabinet Minister Sekai Holland revealed. “His father is a Shona from Mberengwa, it is his mother who is from Matabeleland,” Mrs Holland said concurring with the man’s testimony.

So, has Moyo already seen the importance of “outing” himself thus? Or, it is dear cousin Sekai, spoiling the broth?

One cannot get enough of politicians – remember the one who said he belongs to the President’s faction?