Zimbabwe Leader: Jamaicans Are "Always Drunk"
Mugabe's claims that Jamaican men are all unambitious drug users spark outrage.
Many Jamaicans are livid over a series of remarks made by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe during a recent speech in which he claimed the nation's men are “always drunk,” avoid higher education and smoke marijuana all the time. Mugabe, who has once before remarked that Jamaican Rastafarians have “mud and moths” in their dreadlocks, made these most recent digs while addressing a crowd at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. "The men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some are dreadlocked. Let us not go there,” he said. Jamaican reggae singer Cocoa Tea has refuted these statements, saying: "Jamaicans are way better than that and we are leaders, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion." Though many people may buy in to stereotypes of the island nation as a tropical paradise where laid-back people smoke ganja in the sun all day, marijuana use is actually illegal and many Jamaicans are conservative churchgoers.
While most people are incensed by the comments, a few individuals see a bit of merit in in his criticisms—mainly regarding a perceived gender divide. Northern Caribbean University administrator Vincent Peterkin argues that men are more culpable than women when it comes to using alcohol and drugs, arguing: "[Mugabe's] observation that our 'universities are full of women' while our 'men want to sing and do not go to colleges' is a truism, which none can deny.” A.J. Nicholson, who leads the country's foreign affairs ministry, says they are still waiting to confirm that Mugabe did in fact make the comments, but he stresses that: "Jamaican men and women from all walks of life have made valuable contributions to national development and have made their mark on the world stage."