If you were having coffee with me, I would be glad for the company, its perfect weather for coffee and conversation. Our seasons don’t really have a striking change but in October the streets come alive with a riotous splash of purple of the Jacaranda trees in their purple glory.
A canopy of purple overhead and a carpet of purple beneath your feet… its beautiful unless you have allergies or like me you are allergic to bee stings and you have to watch your step lest you step on bee hidden in the purple.
If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that these trees have been there from before I was born it almost feels like they are a part of our indigenous legacy, even though the each year it seems there is less and less of the trees, maybe its climate change or just plain old fashioned deforestation. We need new trees.
If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you have ever thought about the trees that lined the streets, like the Jacarandas that were brought to Africa and planted just so they could feel at home? Its crazy to think those who planted the trees may have never lived to see them in majestic bloom.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago...
The Jacaranda mimosifolia is native to South America but has been widely planted ‘everywhere’ and the word ‘Jacaranda’ is believed to mean ‘fragrant’ in a native South American dialect.
The story goes that the tree first made its foray to Fort Salisbury [present day Harare] in 1899 via a couple on honeymoon who carried home six seedlings from the botanical gardens in Durban, South Africa and later in the 1900s the BSAC (British South African Company) financed a plan to plant the tens of thousands of saplings that had been planted from seed.
In South Africa the Jacaranda tree was at some point classified as a category 3 invasive species for its potential to take over and out-compete indigenous vegetation; requiring special permission for it to be grown but they relaxed some of the conditions and the tree can be grown as street trees and ornamental garden trees.
In Zimbabwe, City Fathers are said to be working on plans to phase out the Jacaranda tree maybe that might explain why they are disappearing from the streets…
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you it does make you wonder what other habits and traditions we picked up and valiantly adopted as ours to the exclusion of all else…
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that traditionally the blooming of the Jacarandas signifies that it’s a few minutes to examination time and if you are scholar, it’s the crunch time before the storm… but this year between COVID and socio-economic factors its going to be tricky.
Teachers are still continuing with their industrial action, citing incapacitation, while the government has refused to be held at ransom by teachers not reporting for duty. Meanwhile learners left unsupervised are getting up to scandalous mischief; some argue that in their days they might have gotten upto even wilder stunts and social media and the internet are sensationalising molehills into mountains.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you about how a local musician made a plea for fellow Zimbabweans to vote for him in an award nomination but instead people mobilised to vote for Nigerian musician Burna Boy saying that the local artist had been silent and not publicly supported the ZimbabweanLivesMatter movement on human rights abuses.
Interestingly enough in Nigeria, Burna Boy was also facing a backlash as Nigerians were calling him out for not taking a public stance on the EndSars movement which was calling for an end to police brutality particularly by the Special Anti Robbery Squad which has been said to be guilty of unfair profiling, torture, detention and extrajudicial executions.
Some say the musician bowed to the public pressure and of course the artist says he was not pressured to unveil a billboard campaign supporting the EndSARS protest…
The Nigerian government announced that a special presidential directive had ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) Yet to see if that changes anything or brutality will continue under a different name.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you about another trending protest, the ShutItAllDown in Namibia were protestors were demanding that the government address the crisis of a sexual and gendered violence crisis.
As with most protests the government responded by deploying police with teargas and water canons and some were noting the irony in how they couldn’t use the same energy when dealing with cases of violence against women..
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that its been raining and it’s a welcome relief from the hot dry spell. Even though the first of the rains caught many unprepared…
At least its raining and the Jacarandas are blooming and when they fall to the ground its like purple rain, purple rain….
PS did you just sing that last part in the Prince voice?