A flow of over 10,000 tourists flooded the little town of Victoria Falls from across the continent and globe, people of various races, and heritage. One would have believed tensions would have flared once or twice at a time when social media was and has been rife with conversation on racism, white privilege and racial awareness one would think there would have been an inkling of tension at the Jameson Vic Falls Carnival 2015. Hashtags such as #RacismMustFall have generated the attention of thousands of activists and members across the online community. The father of democracy Nelson Mandela’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ ideology has been the subject of questioning and doubt, slowly rendering peaceful racial integration as a plausible myth.
During the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival 2015, one could have easily attested to the fact that Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe played the role of a racially integrated oasis.
For a blissful four days in the border and resort town of Victoria Falls, race appeared to be a non-factor amongst patrons. Interracial couples strutted barefoot across the street, patrons held hands, drunkenly sang along to their musical favourites. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and Asians shared drinks and passed along cigarettes; they loaded into shared cabs and shuttles, sharing their travel stories and adventurous Victoria Falls activity lists.
During the Bush Party in Jafuta Lodge, there was an actual moment where the whole crowd was following their Tswana fellows as they choreographed some popular Afrikan wedding dance moves to a heavy Afro-beat courtesy of DJ Diloxclusiv. Revellers stood skin to skin, unabashed, high fiving and kissed each other as they welcomed the New Year to GoodLuck’s ‘Hop on’.
If there is one thing that perhaps many of our Afrikan leaders have failed to take advantage of is the power of the Afrikan arts through music, dance and festivities in uniting a people just as it did at the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival. Perhaps on a continent that is still grappling with the past and managing its present, the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival and fellow festivities of their kind present an opportunity. An opportunity for people to drop societal status quos of racial interaction and become who they ultimately are at the end of each day.
In the words of Claire Johnston from the band Mango Groove:
“…apartheid, racism and colonisation managed to distort what we ultimately are to each other, fellow members of the human race…”