Kirsty Coventry: The Curse of ‘Good White’?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rejoice Ngwenya, Harare, Zimbabwe 

Rejoice NgwenyaBy the time you read this opinion piece, the Chinese ‘Bird’s Nest’ may long have been deserted; the guns of Olympians silent and she will be back to her more solid cradle. Perhaps, just perhaps, Robert Mugabe will have conferred swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry with yet another Honour of the Stone Temple award for in his own words, "keeping the Zimbabwean flag high in the face of rabid Western adversity."

In times of sporting glory, Zimbabwe government hypocrisy rears its perfect side. Nobody at State House cares much about the political affiliation of amputee athlete Elliot Mujaji, as long as he continues to win sporting accolades. And for the same predictable reasons, Kirsty’s colour counts for nothing when she steps onto the victory podium, as long as she or her parents are not ‘unpatriotic, unrepentant white commercial farmers’! She must be a ‘Good White’ then, like former health Minister Timothy Stamps – submissive, passive and respectful of higher authority!

According to Robert Mugabe, the misfortune that befell Zimbabwe was caused by a vengeful ‘white’ Britain angered by his ‘successful land reform program’, which was really  nothing more than a gigantic singular act of satanic madness that shredded the scroll of property and human rights. Now we know. Kirsty’s medals are more valuable than tobacco and maize exports, her patriotism more sacred than Joe Blogs who is a third generation farm owner in Selous.

In year 2000, Mugabe branded whites enemies of the revolution who have colluded with MDC puppets to return Zimbabwe to colonial bondage. "Zimbabwe shall never be a [white] colony again!" he bellowed. No medals here for noticing that the ‘bad’ whites are those who are seen to encroach on his hallowed political lane. Others, like Kirsty, who touch the edge of the pool, first deserve more praise than those who fill up our grain silos. Poor girl, a pawn of populist hypocrisy, hurting inside for those of her kind whose cold lifeless bones lay buried deep in the soil that was once their livelihood.

To Mugabe, the really ‘bad’ renegade whites are the Roy Bennett’s and Eddie Crosses of the world who have chosen the thorny tracks of contesting against Mugabe in the only race that he knows best – politics. Here, winners do not get medals; they are pummeled, arrested and jailed for success. Their podium is no higher than a toilet seat at Matapi Police cells in Mbare. Here, there is no standing ovation, but gnashing of teeth. The only ‘flag’ they raise is a soiled handkerchief to wipe blood from their brows and cover their noses from the stench of human waste floating in a blocked prison toilet.

These ‘bad’ whites do not get diplomatic passports, but police dockets. They do not receive USD50 000 as a reward, but loose properties worth USD500 000 as punishment for running in the wrong political track. To them, it is a curse to be white. For now, Miss Kirsty Coventry, the golden white girl of Zimbabwe, will remain Mugabe’s favourable  ‘good’ white, as long as, of course,  she remains floating in political ‘no man’s water land’.

Rejoice Ngwenya is a regular columnist for He is a Zimbabwean Freemarket Activist and Political Analyst based in Harare. Send him an email at