WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe’s state-sponsored tourism carnival, which featured many artists including samba dancers from Brazil and skimpily-dressed local girls, has been praised by some for promoting tourism and upset several Zimbabweans.
Former legislator and cultural activist Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla said it was absurd that some girls were almost parading their semi-naked bodies at the carnival.
Mnkandla said, “This is an abomination of the highest order. We should show that we are a cultured and well-mannered people. It may be good for other nations but we as Zimbabwe we are not impressed by this kind of behavior.
“We are complaining day in day out about the unethical behavior of our young people yet apparently here is a full grown up adult who encourages them to be paraded naked.”
He said as a people, Zimbabweans normally cover their bodies but with what the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is doing in promoting tourism, “we might as all of us remove what we are wearing and move about naked.”
Mnkandla further said there are better ways of promoting tourism that using young women’s bodies to advertise some of the country’s tourism destinations like Victoria Falls, Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe Ruins and Hwange National Park.
Margaret Makura, who spoke to Reuters during the weekend event, also questioned the appropriateness of the annual Harare International Carnival, given the country's economic hardships.
“Considering the economic situation in the country, I think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. There is drought. People in the lowveld are starving.”
But ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke defended such criticism saying the occasion was uplifting.
“A carnival is meant to induce happiness in people. When the economy is down you must find something that will make people happy. This is the most appropriate time to have a carnival,” said Kaseke.