FOR obvious reasons, 2020 is certainly a year to be entered into multiple history books. But the global pandemic and its seismic, life-altering shifts aside, there have been some truly awe-inspiring moments to behold, and we’re almost just weeks away through the year.
While we seem to get a ton of jaw-dropping episodes and unbelievable moments nearly every single day, there are only a few that can really cause you to turn to your buddy and ask, “WTF?” They seem to happen just when you truly feel like everything is just going status quo, holding true to what is supposed to happen. Then suddenly, BOOM! Something magical or inconceivable happens.
Some can be funny. Some can be frustrating. And others may just be downright confusing.
From alcohol bans, celebrities misinformed admissions, and viral memes, this year has brought up some bright diamonds and we thought now would be the perfect time to reflect some of the most WTF, surreal moments to hit us this year.
And obviously, there was nothing more surreal than:
Tytan Goes Far
In February, Tytan, real name Njabulo Nkomo, gave Rumbidzayi Bvunzawabaya an interview on her Rumbidzai Show broadcasted on YouTube. In his appearance, he accused his then-wife Olinda Chapel of trying to infect him with HIV/AIDS and reiterated that he suffered at her hands. He narrated how he had to seek refuge at a friend’s house after he had been locked out of their home. The singer claims he went on a four -months post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) course, and he was “OK”. Olinda admitted she was HIV positive, but said she was “heartbroken” that Tytan had made the disclosure without her permission.
Borrowdale Trauma Centre Dare to Swindle Makamba’s Family USD $120 000
In March, Zimbabwe mourned the death of a young star TV journalist Zororo Makamba soon after he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Harare. Makamba was being treated in the Wilkins Hospital, designated as the main isolation facility for coronavirus patients. While his family admitted that his immune system was compromised, they insist that his death could have been avoided. In a statement to the Daily News, the family made a shocking claim that the owner of the Borrowdale Trauma Centre said he would only help Zoro on the condition that they coughed up $120 000 for a ventilator and monitors and donate these to Wilkins Hospital after Zororo’s recovery.
Makandiwa, Bill Gates, Vaccines and Microchips
In March, viral social media posts claimed that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were planning to test new coronavirus vaccines on Africans. And in a sermon on Sunday, April 5, preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa also claimed that there was some sort of plan to inject electronic implants into people under the guise of COVID-19 vaccinations. In fact, he went for about many online Sunday services, echoing the same thing. Drawing Biblical allusions to the “mark of the beast”, he warned followers about “microchip” implants. These, he predicts, will accompany future vaccination campaigns.
Was that true? Well, zimfact.org said it wasn’t. Apparently, while rumours and conspiracy theories around vaccines have existed for years, they increased following the outbreak of COVID-19. On March 27, 2020, a Facebook post said to have been written by the French microbiologist Didier Raoult urged Africans to resist vaccinations created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The claim was debunked by AFP; it turned out he never said so.
That Time Ba’Shero Did Too Much on Nash Paint Live
Alick Macheso, the extra-basso, colossus and revered one if not the best of Zimbabwean music talent is a doer of too much. His guitar antics are unquestionable insane. He can play with every part of his body. Make no mistake; he can sing his ass off too. His voice is so raw and powerful it actually touches your soul. His doing-too-much credential doesn’t come from his volume alone–but his intensity.
In April, the Sungura maestro made a much flacked fifteen minutes appearance on Nash Paints Facebook Lockdown TV to prove his rare doer-of-too flair. While the overall performance could be dealt with leniency because we do not wrestle against the flesh, blood and the coronavirus only, but against principalities, against powers of the darkness and hosts of wickedness in the higher places, it was his duet of Ngaibake with an inadequately prepared dancehall chanter Freeman that gave many watchers a meh experience. Ba Shero was so aggressively loud and scatty… and he scatted, switched keys, and performed vocal triple lutzes that if put them on a graph will read like this, NgaiiiiIIIbaaAAAaakeeEEEEeeeeeeEEEEeeee!
He did too mu-mu-Mu-mu-muUUuch as his partner in rhyme Freeman struggled with the vocals, leaving the extrabasso with the cargo of quavering alone. It was so embarrassingly bad that a teammate of mine was so close to tweeting, “Inenge Yakuda Kuzodzima” as the duo miserably failed to ignite the spark correlated with the jam.
The Lockdown Alcohol Ban
When the Zimbabwe Republic Police announced in April that they were banning the sale of tummy busters in retail outlets countrywide in the wake of the 21-days national lockdown, it hit home hard for many of us. A part of me wanted to see this whole thing going differently, but from the timelines and the conversations we eavesdropped to, it was as clear as day that folks were concerned and desperate. Heartbroken, some said. The ban, it was said, was to minimise social disorder and allow shops to sell only “essential” products during the shutdown. And as if word alone was not drubbing enough, the police were deployed in full force to take action on shops that defy the ban.
However, alcoholics’ grievous orisons were heard that the police and Delta Beverages agreed that supermarkets and registered bottle stores were to continue selling alcohol during the lockdown. The good news, however, came with a streak of conditions. It was announced that people were not allowed anymore to publicly consume alcohol. Cops insisted that drinkers were not to gather in public places, and those caught doing so were to be fined up to RTGS $500.
The Drax Scandal
When COVID-19 was raging earlier this year, sacked health minister Obadiah Moyo – a former disc jockey who claims to be a medical doctor without being able to prove that he has a medical degree – awarded a US$60 million COVID-19 supply contract to a shelf company called Drax without going to public tender. Drax, initially said to be registered in Switzerland, then in the UAE, appeared to be a fraud orchestrated by Delish Nguwaya, a known career criminal who has a record of extortion, armed robbery, cocaine possession and impersonation of a law enforcement agent.
The Draxgate scandal, broken in April by editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, came to full public attention at the end of May after it emerged Drax International, had invoiced government US$28 for disposable masks whose wholesale price is under US$4 from reputable local suppliers. The inflated invoice triggered sustained public outrage, forcing the government to take action. A parallel Interpol investigation, triggered after US$2 million was paid to the company’s newly opened account in Hungary, put to rest government claims that no payment had been made.
Fake Exemption Letters Scandal
The initial COVID-19 induced 21-day national lockdown decreed on March 30 had stringent travel restrictions attached to them. Nay, during that period, fraudsters and unscrupulous opportunists enjoyed brisk business producing fake exemption letters which they designed for those who wanted to move around in violation of national lockdown rules. The cartels who were using letterheads of reputable institutions to produce counterfeit letters were charging folks between US$5 and US$10 for a document, taking advantage of the growing pressure at checkpoints as more and more people were legitimately exempted. Some reports at the time even suggested that there Kombis that operated with fake ZUPCO stamps.
Misred’s Unpopular Radio Interview on #ZimbabweanLivesMatter
The Zimbabwean government’s alleged crackdown on activists, arrests and human rights abuses and the nation’s prevailing economic turmoil sparked a social media movement that gained international attention at the end of July. Using the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, citizens came together to draw global attention.
In August, a Ghanaian radio station, Y107.9, interviewed popular radio personality MisRed on the then-trending #ZLM movement. On it, she claimed that the situation that was in Zimbabwe was not that bad and that the few people on Twitter orchestrated the movement, most of those were is diaspora.
“There’s a very big disconnect between what’s going on the ground and what’s going on social media,” she said.
Her responses did not go down well with many Zimbabweans on social media who accused her of denialism. Many accused her of downplaying the abuses taking place in the country while some advised that people should not give interviews on issues they are not well informed on.
It didn’t take the personality a week to apologise to Zimbabweans for the ‘the pain she caused’.
Petina Gappah Trashes Dambudzo Marechera
On Independence Day, NAACP Image Awards nominated author Petina Gappah hosted a question and answers session on Twitter on her experience in writing and reading about Zimbabwe. When one user asked her what she makes of Dambudzo Marechere’s discography and its impact on Zimbabwean Literature, Gappah said while Marechera was brilliant, he was vastly overrated.
“I think his influence on Zim writing is reflected more in the idea of what a writer is, but not in what good writing is…He was a brilliant but ultimately undisciplined writer whose struggles with mental illness have been romanticized to a degree that makes his personality outshine his work,” she responded.
Gze vrs Noble Stylz Beef
How it started we will never know, but in May, rappers Resilience Gze and Noble Stylz locked horns for about two weeks. The feud registered when Gze dropped a song called “Fatality”, dissing the Noble. The song was so full of venom and hate that it went past diss track and into the area of “If I see this human I might have to stab him in the eye that he is blind forever.” The succeeding days and weeks saw a series of diss tracks being dropped directed at each other.
Watch out for part 2 of the 40 Most WTF Moments of 2020.