Zimbabwe

Jamaica offended by Mugabe's remarks

2012-09-13 08:00
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Special Report

Mugabe's senile, says Tsvangirai
Mugabe's senile, says Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has described long time leader Robert Mugabe as "a senile president with a vituperative wife".

Kingston - Comments by an African leader portraying the men of Jamaica as chronic drunkards and un-ambitious pot smokers have become the talk of towns across this Caribbean island. People are debating the matter on street corners, in letters to the editor and on radio talk shows.

In unscripted asides during a roughly three-hour speech last week at a research exposition, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Jamaican "men are always drunk", have no interest in higher education, and people freely smoke marijuana.

"The men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some are dreadlocked. Let us not go there," Mugabe told the crowd at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. His comments in a mixture of both English and the Shona language were corroborated by The Associated Press after speaking to several reporters who attended the gathering.

Over the years, Mugabe has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about dreadlocked Rastafarians, whom he once described as having "moths and mud" in their hair. Rastafarianism, best known for its ritual use of marijuana and the dreadlock hair style worn by followers, emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s out of anger over the oppression of blacks. A small minority of Jamaicans are adherents.

Reggae singer Cocoa Tea, a Rastafarian who performed in Zimbabwe last October, told The Jamaica Star tabloid that Mugabe's comments were "not a true reflection of us as people".

"Jamaicans are way better than that and we are leaders, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion," Cocoa Tea said.

Glen Harris, a labourer and father of two children, said he felt irritated when he heard about the Zimbabwean president's chiding remarks on a local radio programme. Like the large majority of Jamaica's population, Harris is black.

"This is an African leader talking like this? Black man should stick up for each other. We're all Africans," he said on a Kingston street of low-slung concrete buildings and sheet metal fences.

Demand an apology

Although some foreigners have an image of Jamaica as a laid-back, sun-soaked slice of paradise where unhurried people smoke marijuana without a care, marijuana use is illegal and many islanders are socially conservative churchgoers who quietly endure stereotypes of their country.

Still, a few Jamaicans aren't aggrieved with Mugabe, who received a top government honour during a 1996 visit. They note that their island is the largest producer of marijuana in the Caribbean and that far more women graduate from university than men, and say Mugabe may have a point, even if he was being overly broad by disparaging Jamaican men.

"Is President Robert Mugabe really on to something? Certainly, his observation that our 'universities are full of women' while our 'men want to sing and do not go to colleges' is a truism, which none can deny," Northern Caribbean University administrator Vincent Peterkin wrote in a letter to the editor of The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.

The government's political opposition has also waded into the debate, urging Jamaica to demand an apology from Mugabe.

"If true, it is startling that someone who has himself claimed that his country is a victim of imperceptions fed by the international media should be using these misconceptions of Jamaican society to describe our people," said Olivia Grange, spokesperson for the Jamaica Labour Party.

Jamaican Information Minister Sandrea Falconer said on Wednesday that the foreign affairs ministry, led by AJ Nicholson, was still trying to confirm if Mugabe made the remarks.

"I know his ministry is still trying to authenticate the source, and after we will respond," Falconer said in a brief phone interview.

In a written statement, Nicholson stressed that "Jamaican men and women from all walks of life have made valuable contributions to national development and have made their mark on the world stage".

- AP

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  jamaica  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
24 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.