Tafadzwa Zimoyo Lifestyle Reporter
WHAT is the “oomph” that lures people from plush leafy suburbs to go for braai and drinks at ghetto shopping centres like Mereki in Warren Park D or KwaFatso in Glen Norah?
Most people see the trips as “going back to the roots” for those from the high-end that grew up in the ghetto while the trend is also viewed as a sign of common tastes that transcend social classes.
Some social attractions will always bring people together regardless of social standing. So, beyond all the bling and high life in leafy suburbs; and the hustling and mean lifestyle in the ghetto people find themselves in many common brackets of social interaction.
They find themselves braiing at the same shopping centres, dancing to the same music, supporting the same football teams and attending same churches. Such social interactions defy social classes. At one time or the other we ignore our drives, purses and standings to become the “same” people – the power beyond the class.
Normally, people are proud or shy of where they reside owing to perceptions attached to the places.
Some who stay in areas like Epworth normally disown their place of residence owing to how the place is looked down upon.
Then there are those who beat their chests claiming to be residents of the affluent suburbs like Borrowdale. Of course others claim to live in this or that suburb to create favourable perceptions.
The ghettos gave birth to the rich and the famous and such roots are hardly forgotten.
Ernest Tanga Wekwasando is popular for his commitment to the ghetto. He has never divorced himself from Highfield, that is why he is running a business entity in that community.
During the colonial era, the majority was restricted to areas deemed to belong to Africans but with independence the gap between the high and low ends can shrink to a line anytime.
Harlem City in the United States might be akin to Zimbabwe’s own Mbare, which is one of the oldest townships in Zimbabwe not only in terms of population but also for being the hub and domicile of the news-makers in Zimbabwe.
These include prominent musicians, athletes and businesspeople.
“Mbare” is a Shona word for scales that develop as a result of overexposure to heat.
This normally applies to people who are lazy and develop scales because they are adamant to take the bull by the horns. But Mbare has nurtured some of the hardest workers in the country and most of them are successful. However, most of those who remain in Mbare have to hustle for survival.
On the other end is Borrowdale whose populace is derived from high income earners, the majority of whom are professional in their own right.
When you go to Borrowdale almost everyone you come across has a funeral policy, a bank account and cruises in a top of the range vehicle.
The guy in Borrowdale knows that there is a mortgage.
Yet, despite the income disparities, there is always common ground somewhere.
In as much as the world seems polarised between the haves and have-nots, still there a tie that binds them together. It is not surprising to a heavy tagging along a light-pocketed fellow for a barbecue or for an outing.
As a universal language, music unites people across cultures and can comfort people in times of need and sadness. Generally, musicians see music’s tremendous power not only as a personal spiritual experience but also as a force for change, serving as a voice for social advocacy and/or enhancing mutual understanding between differing cultures.
On the local scene, shows featuring the likes of Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah and the Charambas attract people of various backgrounds. Although some musicians limit their shows to the mass market while others specialise in upmarket shows, music generally brings fans of different classes together.
Music has power to unite people.
Music is all around us; providing powerful stories, inspiration, and joy in its messages.
On the emotional level, few can deny it’s intrinsic power.
Its ability to influence and enhance moods is, in fact, one of music’s greatest attractions. Moving from the gut to the brain, music helps determine the way we perceive and think about the world. It could be considered a short-cut to the subconscious levels of our minds.
Dr Adam Knieste, a musicologist who studies the effects of music upon people noted: “It’s really a powerful drug. Music can poison you, lift your spirits, or make you sick without knowing why.”
Because of its power, music brings people of different classes to same concerts.
Recently many people thronged Harare Sports Club for cricket matches. They came from various backgrounds and locations to watch the matches as the gate fees were generally affordable.
It is true to note that sport unites people. We have found that sport – especially cricket and football – create conversation, laughter and a sense of commonality.
And the politicians are right when they say there was a certain national camaraderie during the Olympics this summer that united Britons of various backgrounds.
“Sport, to me, is a very important plank in my internationalist world-view. I believe humans share more badges in common, than are divided by the mutually exclusive badges which cause antagonism.
“The problems come when we attach more value to an especially polarising badge – such as one relating to ethnicity or religion – than perhaps we should. If just a few mutually exclusive badges were put into perspective, dropped entirely, or their importance somehow reduced relative to all the badges we share – such as in sport – then a very great deal of suffering could be averted and generations of division could be repaired,” said a Chelsea supporter who hails from Mabvuku – Tatenda Makume.
Makume said sport doesn’t always succeed in creating peace and commonality across cultures.
“Indeed, the phenomenon of football hooliganism, from its dark days in English football to its equivalents in football-mad nations in Europe and South America, proves that sport can sometimes create conflict between groups that ought to have more in common than in difference,” he said.
Religion is another uniting factor that goes beyond social class boundaries. People of various backgrounds meet at churches because of a common cause.
Although some say signs of divisions along class lines are visible even at churches, the teachings and fellowship generally bring oneness.
For example, Prophets Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya are two ministers of the word who have transformed Zimbabwe’s religious landscape.
People flock to them in thousands regardless of social class.