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No Permanent Heroes

TUMIE MODISE
Apparently as a nation, we are notorious for our forgetful minds. Although no research has ever been carried out to ascertain this, majority, if not just all of us, suffer from what appears to be acute amnesia. This is surprising considering that we also appear to be very prone to bouts of mass hysteria.

Strange and alarming things happen in the world daily. Some of them are devastating, others are pleasing and calling for celebration. We have had our fair share too, for we are no exception.

To be quite honest the only time I was really scared in this country was at the time our country came under attack from some foreign servicemen many moons ago. Even though I was a child at the time, all I recall was that the stories and the news were truly terrifying.

 I learnt of the true situation years later in school, a shocking tale of how in the dead of the night, our soldiers found themselves as unlikely hostages, held hostage at their own barracks by a foreign army, or was it by policemen? I would want to forget the whole thing too in a hurry too; it’s not flattering at all! We all want to believe that we are safe.

True to our nature, that era has been forgotten. It must be deliberate, bad things are always best forgotten after all. As a general rule I live by that, I have by now mastered the art of deleting bad memories from my internal CPU and so far, well, it’s working for me.

A few years ago, it must be three or two years ago, one of our celebrated sportspersons had the misfortune of being barred from world athletics after some reported sports misdemeanour. Now sporting rules are crazy.

A simple thing such as drinking a supermarket energy drink can land you in trouble, even earn you a ban or a total expulsion from whatever sport code.

Generally, fans are not aware of these rules but sportspersons are supposed to be up-to-date with them. I imagine they have little rule books outlining all these do’s and don’ts.

One minute our golden girl was our pride and joy, the next thing she was a villain. It happened so fast. In a jiffy, we all quickly forgot her world acclaimed achievements, we all forgot how, not so long ago, we cheered her on at the Olympics, even at major international meets where she broke sprinting records. All of a sudden amnesia had kicked in and now she was

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enemy number one.

Even city folks who cannot bend down and tie their own shoelaces, villagers who cannot even chase a cockerel even if their last meal depended on it, were on her case!

Cockerels are slow, they are old. In an instant her achievements and memorable races were all but forgotten!  Out with the good, in came the bad.

They say thunder never strikes twice but last week it happened again! As fate would have it, another athlete also had a misfortune, only that he wasn’t caught by the anti-doping police but had a bad day on the track.

Knives came out, tempers flared. I am convinced that athletes are an easy target. I mean people mess up everyday in this country. Politicians, teachers, learners, managers, artists, members of the clergy, everyone messes up at least once a month! We all have our moments, the ‘oops’ moments when we stumble and fall.

So last Friday another celebrated athlete had his moment. I will be the first to admit that his performance that day shocked me too, but only because I had, along with everybody else, assumed that his would be an easy stroll in the park. It was not to be. All our hopes were pinned on him, we expected only a win. People react differently to sadness and disappointment.

Others go into silent mode; in extreme cases, the not so diplomatic can go on rabid ranting raves. The latter had a field day last week! They were not about to forget and no amount of explanation cut it out for them! I quickly let go, with my two left feet, I really have no business casting aspersions on people who are good at running, citizens who actually earn a living from it. The only time I could chase and catch my toddler was when he was still crawling. That’s how bad it is.

Which then brings me to the issue of what a hero or heroine is. I am glad I am not one. It must really suck to walk on such a thin rope. It must be terrible knowing  that you can easily ‘expire’; Indeed heroes only exist in movies, not in this country.



Tumy on Monday

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