….a chat with Carole Nyakudya about her interview with Tatts
WHEN TV presenter Carole Nyakudya was interviewing Tatenda “Tatts” Gudza, sister to the late Michelle “Moana” Amuli, the comments section was filled with vitriol.
Tatts’ sister, Moana, died in the car crash that also claimed the life of businessman and socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure and two other passengers last year.
The group was coming from Moana’s 26th birthday party at Ginimbi’s Dreams Nightclub and was headed for Domboshava when the late businessman’s Rolls and Royce collided with a Honda Fit, veered off the road and hit a tree before exploding.
Moana and two other occupants were burnt to ashes, while Ginimbi was thrown out of his car and died on the spot.
During the funeral wake, Tatts could not hide how hurt she was about her sister’s demise, even accusing Ginimbi of being followed by “evil spirits”.
Her comments got her in the eye of a storm with Zimbabweans especially on social media, condemning and insulting her during that time.
So, when news that she was appearing on Zimbo Live TV to speak with Carole, a mental health practitioner based in Birmingham, United Kingdom, there was a lot of interest from people.
Many were up-in-arms about the fact that she was talking about her sister’s death and some showed genuine concern about how the interview was going.
However, there are some who were not as kind in the comments section, something that has become synonymous with social media.
The interviewer Carole was not spared. She also bore the brunt of the crude comments, which flooded the comments section and her inbox.
A look at how the interview unfolded, for Carole showed how Zimbabweans are broken and hurt people who retaliate with the same hurt.
“So, we were just re-engaging for the second episode of our programme. We wanted to catch up with her and see how she was doing. However, to our surprise were the negative vibes that we got from people. They were cursing at her and some cursing at me for giving her an opportunity to speak. After that there were family members calling me saying, ‘don’t support her, don’t give her anything because she is doing drugs and she hurt her mom’,” said Carole.
The Harare-born media personality believes the social fabric of Zimbabweans has been broken and support systems are non-existent and ubuntu that brought up yesteryear generations seem to be a thing of the past.
“We were more emotionally stable when we had the community spirit. That community spirit because of migration and all is no longer there. So, this trauma that happened to this young girl, had it been 20 years ago, we would not have been looking at mental health interventions. There were aunts, grandmothers and others in the extended family who would have stepped in, but these people aren’t there anymore,” said Carole.
She remembers vividly how, when her own mother died in 1995, how much support her family got through the grief.
“I was 14 years old when mom died and we had my mom’s sisters and my dad’s brothers live with us for a whole year. Then after that they started taking care of our schooling needs as a family. We were doing that as a community as a people, but now that is no longer there. Now we have to look at professional ways of responding for everyone,” said Carole.
Turning to the interview with Tatts, she added it was an eye opener for her as she got first hand to see how much pain she was in following her sister’s death.
“She has a sister that died in such a horrific way after being burnt. The trauma that is associated with that is not something that can be overlooked and people respond to trauma in different ways. There is not only trauma, there is grief; the very traumatic public way in how that all happened. Then there is the vilification that came from the family,” said Carole.
Some people alleged that Tatts was intoxicated during the interview and Carole was candid about this, saying it showed how the youth in Zimbabwe feel hopeless and find peace in drugs and alcohol.
“Some people were commenting saying she is taking drugs and doing this deliberately and she is upsetting her mom, which we can’t dismiss. That would be her choice, she is an adult.
“A lot of young people in Zimbabwe right now are doing drugs because of the state of the nation, the joblessness, the hopelessness, so people end up taking them to try pacify the emotions, to try pacify the dreams, to try pacify what they are going through, others turn to religion, others turn to alcohol and drugs,” said Carole.
And if this situation is not dealt with soon, there will be an increase in violent crimes, warns Carole. “And this thing about drugs is a big problem that will drive crime, prostitution rates to go up, the Zimbabwe as we know it is going to change because of these drugs.
It isn’t a problem that we can sweep under the carpet, not at all. The problem with drug-related crimes is that it is very violent. It is actually something that requires the government and Zimbabweans to get involved, before it becomes a major problem. Poverty is also driving people to sell drugs and the war against it will be tougher,” she said.
She added that a generation was being lost due to the lack of employment, with many turning to drugs. She said it was now up to those in the diaspora to help or intervene.
“We are losing a whole generation to drugs and these people will turn into criminals and Zimbabwe won’t be safe. In a few years it will be unsafe to be in Zimbabwe. We can’t sit around and look at this unfolding like a story. We are the generation that had the opportunity and it is up to us to help these ones who we left behind who have nothing,” said Carole.
In trying to help the little that she can, Carole said she teamed up with Olinda Chapel to help Tatts deal with the trauma and grief that she has gone through due to the loss of her sister.
“After the interview, my charity, The Olinda Chapel Foundation and some medical practitioners are putting together programmes for Tatts that involve therapy and a mental health approach. It’s a rehabilitation package that will enable her to be supported. That is what we are putting together at the moment,” said Carole.
Carole believes that Zimbabweans should go back to the community spirit that has always kept the country together and not be individualistic.
“Zimbabweans are just a broken people; we have become an individualistic society like the first world. So, they replaced those things that we had in our culture, as ubuntu, with professional bodies. What we do as mental health is what we would have done with our grandmother’s aunts and uncles,” concluded Carole.