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Redhead
November 28, 2010, 5:57 am

 

 

Dear Family and Friends,

Three months ago a Redheaded Weaver arrived in my garden and began building a nest in exactly the same spot as the last time it had been here a few years ago. The male is a very striking individual with a bright scarlet head, chest and upper back. It’s impossible not to notice him when he’s in the garden. There was nothing left on the telephone line from his last nest, not a wisp of spiderweb or a single strand of vegetation, and yet the little male obviously remembered its place and methods and set to work feverishly.

It was the time of year when the Msasa trees were shedding their leaves and the Redhead built the skeleton and entrance tunnel of the nest exclusively using the midribs of the falling Msasa leaves. A few days into the nest building, a female Redhead appeared. The courting and cajoling began almost immediately. Flitting from tree to tree, fluffing out feathers, tail quivering and body shivering, he chased her tirelessly, trying to impress her with his aerial and physical displays and stunning good looks.

Calamity came when the Redhead saw himself in a window and perceived an enemy in his own reflection.  

The similarity between the behaviour of the little Redhead and the pre election fever now stirring in Zimbabwe is striking.     

The Redhead looked at his apparent opponent and went into attack mode. Sitting on the window ledge he pecked and tapped at his image in the glass again and again and again. You could almost see his headache! Around the house he went, window to window, and it was all out war. Everywhere the Redhead looked there were apparent enemies threatening his territory. Car mirrors, solar panels and even tin lids contained enemies and so the Redhead went into destroy mode, defending his sovereign territory.

Every day the Redhead went to the skeleton of his nest and added a strand or two but every day he got diverted when he saw his own image in the windows. You could almost see the Redhead saying to himself: ‘I’ll build tomorrow,”  but for now it was more important to destroy the perceived invasion. The female Redhead soon tired of her mate’s behaviour. For a week or so she sat alongside him on the windowsills and pecked at the reflections of themselves but it wasn’t long before her instinct to create and produce kicked in and she left her mate to his self destructive ways and disappeared from the garden to look for greener pastures. 

There are scores of reflections in windows and mirrors across Zimbabwe that are undoubtedly about to be attacked as we go into pre election mode here. There are so many onlookers that could come forward and prevent the onslaught against the reflection but they don’t and they won’t. SADC, the African Union and our neighbours are all already turning their backs. How can they stay quiet when our own Minister of Defence spoke in Kwekwe this week and said: “Zanu will rule even if you don’t want it. Zimbabwe belongs to Zanu PF.”

Just like my garden belonged to one single, striking Redhead who attacked and attacked and attacked, becoming in the process his own worst enemy. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy



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