Mixed reactions as Tourism Minister acts out air hostess on Fastjet

Review & Mail Writer

A gesture by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Barbara Rwodzi, to show the warmer side of Government by acting as an air hostess during a flight has been met with both admiration and ridicule.

On Tuesday, the Ministry on its X account showed pictures of Rwodzi aboard a Fastjet flight from Bulawayo to Johannesburg where travellers “got a wonderful surprise as they were treated to some warm hospitality in the Air by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry @BarbaraRwodzi who was assisting as part of the cabin crew”.

However, the responses were pointedly mixed.

“Bizarre,” said Kholwani Nyathi, an editor with a local media stable. “A minister promoting a private a line and this at a time the national carrier Air Zimbabwe is sinking. What message is she trying to send?”

A number of reactions agreed with Nyathi, arguing that the Minister should have done more to prop the image of the ailing flag carrier.

Others saw “drama” in the youthful minister’s act, while others said this was “servant leadership”.

Said Simon Ravengai on X: “Examplary servant leadership. The ‘Chef’ mentality originating from the war is slowly getting revised by the younger leaders. Good job Barbara!”

I like this and the enhancement of Joshua Nkomo airport is critical to become a viable southern hub. However, I encourage these improvements come with our national airline in mind.

Politicians also weighed in.

Robert Chapman of the Democratic Union of Zimbabwe who failed in his presidential bid in the August elections saw this as an opportunity to share some broad policy considerations.

“There is need for a long term plan with short term noticeable ‘pivots’ with Air Zimbabwe,” Chapman said.

“While international travel is always celebrated, we should actively and urgently think about domestic affordable air travel. i.e Charles Prince – Mutare, Mutare – Kariba, Vic Falls – Masvingo etc.

“There is and are many examples where these routes can be facilitated quickly and capture more tourism revenues from our key hotspots.

“The activation of these flight routes including affordability will enhance the local cities within these routes including hospitality and local revenues = local development.”

Former Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, however, was not so charitable.

He questioned why the minister was promoting a private enterprise while Air Zimbabwe “is the intensive sick bay on life support”.

He said: “If it was her demonstration of Zimbabwean hospitality it’s quite a waste of ministerial time turning hostess given more pressing issues requiring ministerial national time at home..”

Mzembi noted that Rwodzi’s performance had attracted more abuse than compliments going by the comments.
“She is trying hard but her efforts are consumed by domestic unresolved politics,” Mzembi offered.

Leave a Reply