BILLY GOAT MUSINGS - 17/ 8/ 2005 <--Prev : Next-->
BILLY GOAT MUSINGS
At long last I discovered what had been missing in my life and there
it was.... as large as life - as gloriously discordant as ever - the
Zimbabwe National Army Band.
Ever since I was a child that band has featured in my life. At all
high day and holidays, at the Queens Birthday parade when we were
flagrantly colonial,(TSK TSK ) at the opening of the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair, during those halcyon but long gone holidays
that now have to be mentioned in hushed whispers - Rhodes and
Founders...sshh..sotto voce remember.... and at the grand livestock
parade of the Bulawayo Agricultural Show where the thousand Guinea
Trophy was presented to the best bull on show.
Do you remember how the cattle used to be paraded proudly through the
main arena, layer after layer of magnificent Brahmans, Afrikaners,
Tulis, Nkonis, Aberdeen Angus, mountains of magnificent flesh, the
pride of the farming stock, all glossy and groomed and an proudly led
by beaming handlers in spotless white dust coats.
And then, striding out behind, the band of IRR Zimbabwe National Army
Band. Rows of gleaming tubas, screeds of golden trumpets,
multitudinous trombones, clarinets, piccolos and flutes. and followed
by the drummers, resplendent in their navy blue and gold starched to
perfection, tassels and braid looping proudly in the summer sunlight,
shoes and hats proudly polished and spick and span.
The kettle drums, the glorious timpani section and of course the big
bad base drum, thumping away in baritonal splendour. Right in the
front of course was the gracious billy goat, mascot for a hundred
years of splendid parades (probably not the same goat, I am sure but
always a dignified white billy goat with a terrific goatee and his
magnificent jacket bearing the coat of arms of the corps of the ZNA. )
The ZRP also have a band, and I loved that band just as dearly, many
a happy Sunday afternoon would be spent back in the days of yore
listening to the police band play on the once lush green lawns of the
Hillside Dams !!
Anyhow, I realised what I had been missing all these years just a
week ago, when on a dilatory jaunt to forage for foodstuffs in town,
I happened by chance to get entwined in a parade !!
Yes, we all love a thumping good old parade, and this particular one
was a glorious event. I could not quite catch the gist of the banners
but it seemed to be World Education Day possibly ?
There they were, drum majorettes aplenty, twirling and whirling away,
beautifully turned out in their minuscular marching outfits, perky
little hats, beautifully groomed and without fault in precision and
timing, there were several sets of these majorettes and then there
was a whole cavalcade of men and women in academic caps and gowns,
all clutching tombs no doubt by Plato and Aristotle, which looked
well used and most learned !!
Followed in hot pursuit by the wonderfully talented Zimbabwe National
Army Band. Oh yes, it struck a chord in my throat (no pun intended of
course) and my childhood memories came coursing back as I was forced
by circumstance and pomp, to sit through several sets of robots
waiting for this polished parade to pass.
It brought not only a tear to my eye but a flicker of hope to my
heart that our country would one day become as happy and as peaceful
and as prosperous as it once was.
There was a small hiatus in the procession however as one academic
rather more caught up in the solemnity of the occasion, caught sight
of a newspaper billboard which read "school fees up by a thousand
percent " I wonder what the Billy goat thought about it all ?