Thursday, July 15, 2004

Zimbabwe Bans the Color Red from TV may also ban pink, purple, white and green

"Red is just the start," said Solly Solinga, spokesperson for Zimbabwean Television, when I phoned him about the decision to ban that colour from the country's TV screens because it symbolised the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party. "We have other colours in mind, too."

"But there is red in so many things," I argued. "You can't simply ban it out of the spectrum."

"We can do what we like with the spectrum, whatever that is," said Solly. "We are not bound by Western concepts. Besides, red also signifies other hateful things to our revered president. It is the colour of London buses, so beloved by our former colonial oppressors. There is also the red herring of human rights abuses, when everyone knows our people have never been happier. Worst of all is when our enemies claim our national finances are in the red, so envious are they of our favourite colour, black."

"The president is prepared to make an exception in the case of red carpets, so long as they are for him," said Solly. "Pink is also banned. It reminds the president of homosexuals."
"You mentioned other colours," I reminded Solly.

"Purple is out," he said. "It's the colour of archbishops. Yours were bad enough, but now our own Pius Ncube is going round treacherously calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe with the false allegation that the rule of law is being violated. Believe me, anyone who pitches up on TV in purple won't be seen again."

"But the rest of the spectrum is okay, is it? I mean the colours in it."

"Is white in this spectrum of yours?" asked Solly. "Because if it is, we are probably going to remove it from our TV programmes, too.

"It is the colour of racism. No one with a white face will in future be allowed to infect our nation on screen, and that includes cricketers in white clothing."

"But in the one-day internationals your chaps wear red."

"That shows how closely the two colours are horribly related," said Solly. "Did I mention green?"

"Not yet."

"Green is the colour of the Greenies, the imperialists who were opposed to our government's decision to nationalise all wildlife conservation areas and who claimed that this spelt the end of game protection. If they think their colour will appear on TV again, they have as much hope as a red-light district for gays in downtown Harare."

"You might as well revert to black-and-white TV," I commented.

"Except for the white," Solly reminded me. "Viewers will be happy with lighter shades of black, once we explain it's for their own good that we are keeping them in the dark."

I had to quote the whole thing. Priceless.