Zimbabwean journalist and activist, Hopewell Chin’ono, has sparked heated debates following a series of social media posts in which he speaks against the consumption of the country’s staple sadza/isitshwala. According to the prominent journalist, sadza/isitshwala is not fit for human consumption and should be used as a stock feed for cattle.
Chin’ono argues that maize in the form of sadza/isitshwala has zero consumption value, affects brain development and is one of the causes of diabetes. He goes on to say that people should revert to what their ancestors used to do and eat small grains such as millet.
Writing on social media on Wednesday, Chin’ono shared a picture of maize cobs and captioned it with,
This is stock feed, for mombe.
Muno gona kuita nharo zvenyu, but it is not fit for human consumption.
Your ancestors knew better!! This has zero consumption value for you when you have it as Sadza!
Apparently It affects brain development too, and it is not good for diabetes.
Do you want to know more or this is enough to get you ranting all evening Sadza eaters?
Muri kupedzera mombe chikafu chadzo.”
Not surprisingly, the post did not go down well with some people, given that maize is the country’s staple. The post attracted a lot of engagement with some people supporting Chin’ono’s sentiments. However, some were critical and others were vociferously against the post. Some were even abusive.
Chin’ono made another post in which he said that the reactions to his earlier post highlighted that Zimbabweans were intolerant and did not seemingly respond well to facts.
This story was not about Sadza or maize, it was meant to illustrate the anger, the intolerance and the abuse in many Zimbabweans!
Now go to the comments section of the original post and tell me if Nkosana Moyo was wrong when he said that the ZANU-PF Government is a refection of Zimbabweans!
Just read the comments, the insults for merely stating the obvious!”
He went on to say that the reactions to the post on Sadza/Isitshwala showed that Zimbabweans are not that different to those that they oppose.
“I merely pointed scientific facts about maize, and the insults came.
Just like merely pointing out to Mnangagwa that he has lost an election.
How different are you from the people that you oppose?
I am not taking away your rights to continue eating crap, but you see it fit to insult me.”
Chin’ono came back with another post in which he said that Sadza/Isitshwala made from maize meal was not a part of our ancestor’s diets. He said that maize was introduced by the colonialists and that indigenous Zimbabweans adopted it because it was easier to farm.
“Now I want to correct one fallacy that I saw in the comments section.
Hanzi “…Sadza is part of our ancestral culture, and varungu are trying to stop us from continuing with our culture.”
That is incorrect and a lie, in fact, by defending Sadza, you are defending part of the colonial legacy!
Maize was brought to us by the colonials, maize is originally from Mexico!
…So to suggest that Maize is part of our ancestral DNA is a reflection of ignorance of our history.
In Southern Africa Maize arrived around 1700, that is in South Africa.”
Chin’ono was not done with his crusade, however. He posted a video in which African Plant Hunter CEO Gus Le Bretton said that sadza/isitshwala is fortified because it has no nutritional value.
However, this view was challenged by some dieticians and nutritionists who dismissed it as pseudoscience. Critics argued that the government uses maize for food fortification because it is a staple that is usually available, even in the poorest households. They argued that this has nothing to do with the nutritional value of the grain. Some also accused Hopewell Chin’ono of undermining the government’s efforts to ensure that everyone gets good nutrition through fortified sadza/isitshwala made from maize meal.
Where do you stand on this?