Opinion Piece by Clive Mono Mukundu 26/04/2020
Of late there has been a few times artists have been fighting on social media. I think one reason that happens is rooted in lack of wisdom, desperation for attention or (kunyepera kuzungaira) pretending ignorance.
Rebuking, or criticizing a colleague , someone who is in the same field as you IN PUBLIC, and personally, is automatically an attack, no matter how much you pretend to be “Trying to Help” him or her. Let outsiders do that, let newspapers and tabloids do that so that they sell papers, that’s their job and its ok (futi) again, (kwete)not artist to artist, unless you say it without mentioning names, once you mention names, or do it directly its an attack.
I know some of you go to churches where you are used to pastors who humiliate people publicly, even old people in front of their kids and they usually start with a disclaimer like “I love my brother Mono, but I would like to correct him…..” then they undress you in public, to hell with your disclaimer, if you love me come to my inbox, take me aside. For example if I am standing in a crowd and my trousers’ zipper is down and you my true friend (chaiye chaiye), who is supposed to help me protect my dignity shouts at me at the top of your voice to pull it up, then claim to be helping me. I will not believe you are trying to help, because you are putting me on the spot, bringing everybody”s attention to my mistake, thereby bringing me more shame. At the same time drawing attention to yourself, (which is the real reason behind the “correction”,) which means you took advantage of my mistake to use it to your advantage, to bring attention to yourself and to bring me shame.
But if you tell me by whispering in my ear you will help me, at the same time protecting my dignity. INBOX. All technology we have today somehow imitates real life activities. Going to someone’s inbox or (DM) direct message is social media’s way of whispering in someone’s ear. Giving someone a call, is also another way of going into someone’s inbox (as long as your phone is not on loud settings). When the boss says “Come to my office”, he is saying “Come to my inbox”, and separating someone from a crowd to speak to him/her aside is also going in an inbox. An inbox is not a bedroom where only the closest enter, its simply a space you can speak to someone (pasina vanhu) in privacy, period. I don’t know who spread the belief that an inbox is just for flirting.
Correcting someone on his/her social media timeline, or in a WhatsApp group is the same as loudly correcting someone in the midst of a crowd of people, which amounts to an attack. Thereby starting a beef which could have been avoided had you pulled him/her aside & give corrections (pasina vanhu)in privacy. A good number of people will accept your correction that way. So if you have genuine love for a fellow artist, and if your intention is just correct him/her, inbox them, SMS them, take them aside, or call them.
I subscribe to the saying that says “rebuke in private & praise in public”. If you want to use him/her as an example to others so that others will learn from the same mistake, tell the story but do not mention names, we will still learn from the story and there will be no casualties. If Lionel Messi comes out criticizing Ronaldo publicly it is an automatic attack, let neutral critics do direct personal criticism, Ronaldo should correct his fellow footballer in a private space.
A CRITIQUE CAN BE CRITICISED TOO
At times criticism can come with misrepresented facts, be it constructive or destructive criticism. Obviously there will be a need for the one being criticized to set the record straight even though he accepts the criticism. The critics should should not consider themselves as gods who can not be opposed.
The problem is that most critics believe that when one is to be considered humble, he has to accept any criticism leveled against him, even if some of the elements of the critique are misinformed. Therefore humility is not only expected from the one being criticized only, the critic has to be humble too & admit when his/her critique is criticized. After all, love feels like love, if you question love it means its not there, there is no love in humiliation, especially coming from a colleague.
It is easy to notice if the criticism is designed to make the source feel better, to impress their friends, or simply a result of them having a bad day.
So if you are a colleague, and you have genuine love & want correct me, come to my inbox,
Ndini wenyu Mono.
Clive Mono Mukundu is a Zimbabwean Guitarist, music producer/engineer at Monolio Studios. He is also the Author of the books titled Poor & Famous and his autobiography Mono Mukundu: Following the Melody.