Baba Jukwa, the dead stay dead

BABA JUKWAThe Arena With Hildegarde
SOCIAL media could be the in thing and the future that we cannot afford to ignore, but it has its pitfalls. Too many, in this writer’s view! Apart from giving a false sense of a united world where people interact in real time, social media has given that impression that it is the be-all and end-all in problem solving. But, is it?

How much social media interaction translates into deliverables – financially? Apart from the jokes, how much are people deriving from it?

If we were to tag dollar signs on everything that is posted on social media would we end up with a richer Zimbabwe? Would the value supersede that of all our natural resources put together?

How much social and competitive intelligence information lies in all those postings be it text and/or graphics, intelligence that can give Zimbabwe an edge economically, but which has not been taken advantage of?

If the creators of the software that powers these social media sites became billionaires in their twenties, yet most of them are college drop-outs and started the projects without any business models, but today, their companies are registered on all major stock exchanges around the world, where are we missing the mark? Apart from availing these easy to use methods of communication and exchanging information, what lessons do we draw in terms of doing business and taking Zimbabwe to a higher level?

This brings me to the heart of the matter, a matter that has seen the nation spending so much, but getting very little out of it. For some time, the faceless Facebook character Baba Jukwa had many “followers” and “likes”.

It got to a point where these followers believed anything and everything posted by Baba Jukwa on his Facebook page as gospel truth. Some in the media avidly followed him because he seemed to have what they did not have — the sources with information to scandalise Zanu-PF.

However, July 31 2013 dealt the character or network of characters a heavy blow. Where I come from we would say, “Akarohwa nezvousiku” or “kutonhodzwa kwaChauruka”.

Baba Jukwa did not know what hit him and this sent him into the bottomless pit.

In as much as this writer knows that the Baba Jukwa case is before the courts of law, it is the fascination that some have with a ‘dead’ thing that amazes me. The same with how some people try in vain to breathe life into the MDC-T leader’s political life.

You wonder at whatever happened to discernment and envisioning.

The social media has taught us that it is forever evolving in the midst of cut-throat competition, so why do people who are so engrossed by Baba Jukwa not ask themselves why he has remained so ancient in terms of the information he purports to give out?

It is this information that tells us that despite the interest that some have, Baba Jukwa is actually dead. In other words, why are the living fascinated to hear from people in their graves?

When love was in the air on Valentine’s Day last Saturday, the Daily News decided to resurrect the dead character with a screaming headline: “Baba Jukwa rises from the ‘grave.’”

Maybe what the Daily News should have done first was to tell its readers who had killed the faceless figure they had lionised, a figure so “daring” (according to some) who gave followers and lovers “exclusive” information and also demonstrated that he could not be outdone by the likes of Julian Assange of the WikiLeaks fame and Edward Snowden?

For, Baba Jukwa initially wanted to give the impression that he was so well-placed to inform the nation about the goings-on in Zanu-PF, while turning a blind eye on the MDC formations, whose splintering continues unabated. Maybe he was since current critics argue that his 2013 postings were spot on as opposed to the guess-work that you see in the few postings thereafter, which sound like someone opining for attention.

Is it also coincidental or he is clueless that he cannot inform his followers about the goings-on in the former Zanu-PF stalwarts’ lives – the likes of Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru, Cde Didymus Mutasa and others, for they are still Zanu-PF members with the exception of Rugare Gumbo and Jabulani Sibanda? Or, maybe Baba Jukwa is part of the cabal that wanted to topple President Mugabe?

However, the headline in the Daily News was also quite interesting because this rising from the grave forms part of the central issues in the term “jukwa” (Shona term whose synonym is “shavi”) imagery. Although it is a spirit, the bottom line is it a bad spirit. If your family is known as a family that believes in these spiritual rituals (“kutamba majukwa”), you will not have many friends in the neighbourhood, except those that believe in similar spirits.

Now, if last week Baba Jukwa rose from the grave, it is testimony that this spirit that was informing people on national issues could never be equated with Mbuya Nehanda, Nehoreka or Sekuru Kaguvi, for these were spirit mediums that directed the affairs of the state through their spiritual advisory roles.

They were spirit mediums that worked with the leadership and would not expose the nation’s secrets to all and sundry just because they are manifests during the Internet age.

What they said came from the spiritual realm. This is why some of the last words that Mbuya Nehanda uttered were not only very prophetic, but they came to pass, and some people believe that they continue to be a prophecy in action. Before her execution, she reportedly said, “Mapfupa angu achamuka — My bones shall rise”, and people argue that at an opportune time, these words gave impetus to the waging of the Second Chimurenga.

This is totally different from the picture painted by the Daily News headline because they are resurrecting a dead spirit. If people believe that Nehanda’s spirit never died, why should Baba Jukwa’s die — because it is a “shavi” (bad spirit)? It was an exercise in futility. After the July 31 elections it had to die. Maybe what we are seeing now are his familiar spirits.

It’s time that those who have access to ICT gadgets use them for the benefit of the nation instead of attention seeking?