By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda
In the last few days, it became evident that the most collective creative moment for Zimbabweans is now, as Chihuta is trending as a tangible and intangible currency. Actually, the Zimbabwe government must name our new currency chihuta. It is exotic, meaningful, creative, indigenous, smooth to say, easy spell and warmly sound to the ear. Imagine a child sent to collect a debt saying, “hanzi naamai ko Chihuta chiye”! It’s fortitous that at the moment we do not have our own currency.
It is a currency born out of the collective struggles of the people of Zimbabwe in the 21st century. A struggle for economic survival and revitalisation. It is the re-birth of freedoms. Beyond looking west or east, north or south, we look internally and resource from within.
Many countries have special names for their money. There is birr in Ethiopia, Naira in Nigeria, Cedi in Ghana, shillings, kwachas etc. A Chihuta will be a true currency, real money for value. Its meaning is born out of real people-driven (I hate the term though, because its evoked to provide semblance of voice and power to citizens), discourse that interlinks economic development, appropriate natural resources utilisation without plunder, environmental awareness, and entrepreneurship all bundled in one nest/dendere.
Anyway, having chihuta as our national currency will ensure that our school curriculum will have deep content on nature study, with lessons about birds of Zimbabwe, their habitat, value and behaviour. The students will learn the difference between chihuta and chikwari or horwe. There will be discussion on whether the Zimbabwe bird is hungwe or chihuta, necessary confusion in learning.
There will be a good conversation and the controversy will continue on whether to domesticate or not domesticate zvihuta. A lot of discussion about indigenous knowledge and practice for protection of the flora and fauna. Naturally, there will be gender studies on the control, ownership and production of zvihuta.
As chihuta trends on social media and Zimbabweans warm up to this beautiful tasty bird, it is clear that for centuries we had under estimated Chihuta’s value. This simple and humble bird is the currency of the moment. Some people are already estimating lobola in zvihuta (I prefer chihuta as a token of love other than a transaction between families). Anyway, we know many people are already earning their livelihoods nezvihuta.
Why not take a leap of faith as a nation. Imagine waking up tomorrow to some news that our state coffers have 15 bhirioni zvihuta, live. They are from Marange or Chiadzwa and someone had “mistakenly” build a nest somewhere. We will be able to breathe again.
Do not ask me again. For me, our next currency should neither be a dollar, a bearer or anything else. I will happily walk to the bank and deposit zvihuta zvangu. Nobody will be permitted to slash away any or zero feathers from my hard-earned and fed chihuta.