He may no longer be president but that is not to mean that his name does not still open doors. Former President Robert Mugabe’s son, Robert Mugabe Jnr, has recently been called up to the national basketball team, a move that has sparked criticism with many arguing that the young lad lacks competitive experience.
One of the country's legendary sports figures who spoke to us on condition of anonymity stated that it was rather a bold move to include Robert Mugabe Jnr in the squad given that he is fairly young in the sport. Our source further stated:
The coach knows and we know that his statistics are wanting but he will let him play anyway. This could either be a national embarrassment or a brilliant idea since we are the hosts of the qualifiers. I think we have more experienced players who deserved that spot. The national team is not a training ground that's why we have district teams. That's all I'll say."
It is important to note that Zimbabwe is the official host for the All-Africa Basketball Championship regional qualifiers which are scheduled to take place between June 2 and 8.
While admitting that Robert Jnr did not have the statistics to back up his call to play in the national team, the national basketball team coach Addison Chiware was quick to state that Tinotenda's, as he is famously known in the basketball circles, call-up did not mean that he would get an automatic entry into the final squad. Chiware stated that:
Nobody gets an automatic entry into the national team. We do a lot of work to make sure the player has the right fitness and mental ability. Robert Jnr (Mugabe) is currently at college and he is playing there. We do not have the statistics on how he is performing, but he is actively involved. Robert Jnr will come to Zimbabwe on May 27. We will assess him to see what he has for us. He has to have good discipline, good mental ability, strength and participate in hard training."
The coach has been keen on stemming criticism that his inclusion of Robert Mugabe Jnr is a bias decision with all the markings of favouritism written all over it. While this decision has drawn a mixed bag of views, it has brought to the fore the issue of whether the youngster is actually talented or he is just riding on his father's coattails.
There is a common stereotype that many people born into prominent families do not necessarily work hard for anything they have, that they have no usable skills and that they believe that they can buy their way through life. No one chooses their parents or families so using a one-size-fits-all-cap does not in the very least seem appropriate. While there are those who may very well buy their way through life, there are those who work hard irrespective of their privileged background. To be fair though, there are instances when coming from a prominent family and bearing that name does open certain doors. Could this be the case for Robert Jnr? Whatever the case, it is a double-edged sword because in the same manner that the name or family status can open doors, it can also close them. If the family or name is associated with scandals then one may not skate through life as they once did.
While there are those who argue that Robert Mugabe Jnr should be given the opportunity to prove himself, well many others believe he "has no talent" and "is using his name" to take a "spot that he has not earned". Whether or not he is talented, the unfortunate reality is that he will always be overshadowed by his family and will constantly have to prove himself.
Header Image Credit: Former President Robert Mugabe and his son Robert Mugabe Jnr/Zimmetro