Harare – Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster apologised on Tuesday after it screened a digitally-altered iconic picture of two of the nation’s best-known liberation heroes with last year’s infamous dad-in-shorts pasted in.
Viewers tweeted their outrage after Monday’s ZBC evening news bulletin screened a picture of Mbuya Nehanda, the spirit medium who inspired the first revolt against British occupation of the southern African country in the 1890s.
But instead of standing next to fellow fighter for freedom Sekuru Kaguvi as she does in the grainy photo every Zimbabwean schoolchild recognises, Mbuya Nehanda was pictured standing next to “tezvara”.
Tezvara, which means father-in-law in Shona, is the Zimbabwean father who shot to fame in April last year when he refused to wear a suit to his daughter’s wedding.
Scientist Peter Mudavanhu wore shorts and said he would have been “very uncomfortable” in a suit. It sparked a rash of internet memes, with the stubborn Zimbabwean dad pasted into a host of funny scenes.
“ZBC apologises for the ‘tezvara’ picture yesterday. Mbuya Nehanda’s role in the struggle will be tackled today,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation tweeted on Tuesday.
It was not clear if the image used in the ZBC news item was one of the memes from last year. It angered some viewers, given that it was screened during a “serious” discussion on Zimbabwe’s independence.
Independence Day in Zimbabwe is on April 18. The privately-owned Newsday said that by screening the image, ZBC had decided to “rewrite history… albeit in a very embarrassing way”.
“The blooper would not have been that embarrassing had ZBC been doing this on a lighter note, or as a joke,” Newsday said, adding that many saw the gaffe as evidence the often-biased broadcaster had itself become “a joke”.