BY KENNETH MAFUKA
Bee Mabuza, Tendayi Mbofana and many aspiring young writers have asked me to share with them the secrets of writing. I have been writing a weekly column since 1984, it is common wisdom that I must decline, while they must increase.
The story of Meghan Markle, an ambitious Afro-American film star, with a Margaret Thatcher will to succeed, lends itself to many interpretations and can serve as a model for young writers. Whatever line of argument you wish to follow, you are correct, in the same way that the five blind men who touched the elephant were correct in their descriptions, one said it was just a tail and another said it was a wall.
No matter how we look at the story, Meghan’s story represents a clash of cultures at their worst, the archival British royals representing one culture, Meghan representing the newer barbaric no rules, everything goes Hollywood culture. Without a severe prior training of Meghan, the coming together of these two cultures would explode.
Even the best American, well-informed and mannerly like former US president Barack Obama and his bubbly wife Michelle failed to understand the deep seated prejudices of the House of Windsor, despite the fact that they had been “briefed prior”.
Americans are narcissistic, bullish and always forward looking. Significant visitors usually bring a token gift for their hosts. Obama brought a disc collage of his great speeches to the Queen. That was an error of judgment called presumption. Obama was asserting a historical significance in the universe comparable to the great Winston Churchill.
But there was even a more egregious error by Michelle. Despite “prior briefing” Michelle so loved the Queen that she “jumped on her and hugged her.” The Queen is a germophobe; that is why she wears gloves in public.
Meghan would have needed at least six months prior training just to master a few of the 750 protocols associated with the Windsor. But I must mention one more mishap, by the best of them all.
The British are known for their understatements. Royal watchers say the Queen did wish loudly to her Chief Butler “that horrible woman would not be invited again.” Michelle loved Britain and made sure when her husband was in Britain they had a second audience with the Queen.
“That horrible woman is back, Madam,” the butler said.
“Oh!” replied the Queen.
Those two letters, “OH” were more than a thousand words to those schooled in British culture.
Meghan doomed: Empire strikes back!
Piers Morgan, the snooty Englishman who once had a crush on Meghan and works for the Murdoch stable of sleazy tabloids is leading the charge against Meghan. All the royal defenders are beginning to fight back.
When Sir William Hazeltine, the Queen’s secretary persuaded her in 1969 to open royalty to public scrutiny, the British press was malleable. An invitation to the Queen’s pre-Christmas party for editors was something each journalist dreamed of. A title (Order of the British Empire) awarded only to those who had provided service to the Empire and humanity was something to be cherished.
Hazeltine had not foreseen the invasion of Britain by the American barbarian press, armed with cheque books, and ready to pay for scoops and fly home, only to rebroadcast the news back to Britain on Cable News Network.
Meghan’s haters are gathering evidence to refute her charges. The first is that Meghan was a disruptive force. This bad news comes from Jason Knauf, her former public relations officer.
Take a simple protocol like wearing a hat when in public. No American woman would accept that restriction of her attire as an iron rule. “Well, then she is no lady?” That is the retort.
That is a very serious charge. I will let you into the secret. It means she came from Mbare Musika.
Meghan wanted to breast-feed her baby. Good Lord, does the sister not know that she is a duchess now and that preserving her figure is more important than saving a few quid? (quid means pound-money). This is most horrifying. In any case, she should have been well-advised by her governess. She fired two governesses.
Holy cow, what does this American think she is? People working for the Queen are the cream of the crop and their careers last for life times.
Jason says she created a toxic environment. Nobody wanted to work for her. And Jason is keeping his ammunition for the dirty-mouthed Piers Morgan who is planning a new American style tell-it-all television programme.
I could have told you in my sleep that in any American battle, the issue of race becomes paramount. The British tabloids, The Maverick and the Express, borrowing from their American right wing sources have “confirmed” that Meghan is a domineering Afro-matriarch. Their “shrink” (Psychologist) is herself perhaps a “cookie” by the name of Andrea Gordon. Her evidence is that the “constant hand gripping between Meghan and Harry” is a sign of complete matriarchal dominance over Harry.
The Queen is “deeply hurt” by this behaviour. Remember the British understatement syndrome. She accepts that Meghan went through trying times. A member of the family (in the same way I would not disgrace people of the Eland or of the Rain bird) must choose. By blurting the secrets of the family to Oprah, one has crossed the invisible line called clan loyalty.
This is a very serious breach of protocol. The mystery about precools is that there are no written enforcement mechanisms except shunning and banishment.
This is unforgivable. But Meghan is not finished with the Windsor yet. She has won the first round, and in one case, she has been awarded GBP650 000 against a Murdoch newspaper, Sunday Mirror.
My informant in Britain has confirmed, as we go to press, that Meghan and Prince Harry have been cut off from the family “forever” financially and otherwise.
Piers Morgan is beating war drums as we speak. He argues that Meghan’s personal truth is at variance with actual facts.
It is my feeling that a woman, perhaps of Asian descent, would have carried the cross of royal misdemeanors with fortitude. But not an American; royal defenders are saying the whole misunderstanding represents a clash between the barbarous American culture which has no respect for precedent and hierarchy. You wait your turn, damn it!
My mentor at The Sunday Mail, Willie Musarurwa used to ask every young writer a question. What is your story? Remove your name and ask a reader if there is a story there. Peace.
Ken Mufuka can be reached at email@example.com. His books are sold in Zimbabwe by Innov Bookshops.