Cultural Practice

Zimbabwe’s Game of Totems – Nelson Chamisa’s Pentecostal iconoclasm is the scream of symbolic castration
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Politics and Society Zimbabwe’s Game of Totems – Nelson Chamisa’s Pentecostal iconoclasm is the scream of symbolic castration

Zimbabwe has two infamous iconoclasts. Nelson Chamisa and Dambudzo Marechera. One is a Pentecostal dream-twister, and the other, an atheist prankster. Both are on record denouncing spirits of the dead, national symbols and indigenous religious beliefs. At face value, their irreverence is a sign of elitism and intolerance. On a deeper level, it is the crying out of the symbolically castrated. Marechera reminds us that no return to origins is innocent. Chamisa uses the Bible to settle scores with his political enemies, having been robbed of his former party’s spiritual capital and beaten to the commandeering of social memory by Zanu PF.