Every School Should Have Cultural Honours

So a few weeks back, my club, The Debate Society, hosted assembly at school. As with the opinionated nature of the club, we used the assembly to showcase propaganda on the need for cultural honors at school with the notion, “This House Would Have Cultural Honors at all Zimbabwean schools.”

We have implored like a gazillion times (even before I learnt at this school, others have too) for cultural honors but have been ignored by the senior woman who says they are “unnecessary”—hold up…  UNNECESSARY??? CULTURAL ACTIVITIES ARE UNNECESSARY?! Dude.

Don’t people understand the amount of brain power needed to debate? Does she honestly think it’s unnecessary to award someone whose speaker points are only 0.6 points less than those of the world’s best debater? (75) That’s our president by the way, and she’s consistently been the best speaker at tournaments since form one.

Is it a joke to do research for both sides when you’re only going to be on one side, up till midnight discussing rebuttals and strategics?

Is it a joke to be cross examined by someone probably as smart as you without bending under the pressure, and having to defend yourself in less than a minute?

Is it a joke to get an impromptu motion on child labor and have to defend it even if it is against your morals?

To defend your motion while the adjudicators blink at you like you’re an idiot? Having to sigh as you are interrupted every few seconds and snap, “sit down” to the annoying POIs(points of interest).

I think not. 

Honestly, I’m really tired of how much society down plays cultural activities and Arts/Humanity subjects. One of our students was the NINTH best chess player in Zimbabwe yet she wore a blue blazer her whole life rather than the cream honors blazer. I myself have gotten honors TWO YEARS IN A ROW from the Girl’s College Literary Competition in prose and all I got was a handshake at assembly and faded into history, my writing talent forgotten.

Last year I was the first student to get an A in Art in like, a decade and that wasn’t appreciated at all.

Can we stop glorifying STEM subjects and trivializing Arts? When people saw me choose Art, Literature, French, History, and English as my A level subjects I was asked. “But aren’t you too smart for Arts?”

I just pictured that math graph labelled No Correlation.

I got 7A*s, 2As and a B yet I got 8/25 for my first Literature test and these idiots say, “science is harder” and Arts are easy.

Try get a paintbrush, paint in Georges Braque’s style and tell me it’s easy. Try fill ten A2 sheets with paintings in two months and tell me it’s easy.  It’s f**king NOT.  I put sweat, blood and tears into my O Level Art coursework hoping for an A* but got an A, even though I’m talented. It was so difficult I had nervous breakdowns every few weeks.

People don’t understand that you can’t logic your way through emotion. You can’t use an equation to be a good leader. You can’t use physics to understand people. You can’t use math to be analytical.

You read novels, textbooks, newspapers, gadget manuals, blogs—those were written by former Arts students.

You watch movies, series, soapies, documentaries—that advert that made you laugh? It was written by an Arts student. An ex Arts student wrote your movie’s script. An artist designed the beloved Disney characters. A creative director (Art again) designed the music videos, adverts, plays, movies you watch.

Your phone, your desk, your clothes, your house, your shoes, just about every man made object, was designed by an artist.

The best politicians did Literature, Philosophy like the newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron, Political Science and Law. Those have a basis of Arts.

So tell me again why cultural activities don’t matter.

People leave this country because it doesn’t accommodate anything less than Sciences or Commercials. We face brain drain because of lack of support for the literary industry.

I want to be a novelist in the future but I know earning decent money with it here is pretty much as useless as getting me to eat cheese (I hate cheese, it has this dying taste).

… Orrrrrrrr hoping for a new government—but anyway… Seriously, guys, we need to support the artsy community. We hippies are out here waiting for our creative and intellectual rage to be unleashed.

I can’t hope for a career in Art here in Zimbabwe and expect to be able to do groceries at Food Lover and buy clothes from Edgars. It’s really sad to see people working at the Music Academy doing what they love but earning peanuts and wearing worn, poor quality clothing with shoes falling apart for it.

Are we advocating for a society which doesn’t support creative talent?

Are we advocating for a society where a talented musician lives from hand to mouth for pursuing their passion?

Are we advocating for a society where diversity is killed because artists are forced you brought accountants to make money?

Where linguists are forced to deal with chemical equations to live well? Yet no scientist is forced to write a 500pg novel because “come on, that’s not for me.” Okay so math is for me when you clearly see me playing a beautiful piano piece? Fuck that.

Anyway, back to the point.

Outstanding debaters must be awarded. Outstanding writers must be awarded. Outstanding chess players must be awarded. Outstanding actresses and actors must be awarded. Outstanding quiz members must be awarded. Outstanding photographers. Outstanding speakers and what not.

If sports are awarded why not cultural activities? The concept of academic and sports honours only is really dumb. Fitting triangles into boxes and squares into circles is a crappy concept which doesn’t embrace holistic, diverse and multicultural education.

Don’t tell me cultural honors are “unnecessary.” Remove culture and watch the world burn.

Leave a Reply