Home » General » Don’t Let Independence Get Out of Fashion [opinion]

In nine days’ time Zimbabwe will celebrate Independence Day.

This should be about the most important day in Zimbabwe because of its meaning: how Zimbabwe finally gained freedom that was forcibly taken from the indigenous people of this country by “knee-less” strangers from the other clime.

Just like Sekuru Chaminuka had prophesied.

White people from Europe came into the country first as travellers and hunters and missionaries before their greed got the better of them.

They began robbing us of our land, our gold, our forests and our humanity.

We are lucky not to have been exterminated: it must have been Cecil John Rhodes who said a good set of machine guns would be able to wipe our black ancestors from the face of the earth.

The white man would not have cared a hoot about our lesser, black souls: he did it in America.

He did it in Australia.

It is by the sheer Grace of God that our dear souls escaped like birds from the trap of the hunter.

After the pacification of the early 1890s, subjugation started.

Our lands were stolen. We were being raped.

We were ruled.

Our history, past glories, inventions and beliefs were put down. We were vanquished.

The white man did not consider the black person as an equal, but some species of a child, at best, or worst, part of the white man’s farming or mining equipment.

White man’s dogs and horses were treated better than the black man better fed, housed and pampered than a person of flesh and blood and soul of God, if we are to believe the Christianity the same whites taught us.

We were humiliated, we children of a lesser god.

Our people were pained and rightfully when the time came, they rose against the tyranny first passively – we had been pacified earlier – and later on we became more militant and armed.

We were armed by other lesser peoples in China and the Soviet Union.

The armed struggle reclaimed the humanity of Zimbabwe’s black people, as in the rest of Africa ending with South Africa in 1994.

One cannot be too sure if the white man learnt anything or forgot anything: the black victory turned the tables nevertheless.

And one thing is certain: Africans treated whites with more respect and dignity and did not drive anyone into the sea.

In Zimbabwe, a policy of reconciliation was pronounced and the heroic President Mugabe magnanimously aised that all swords be beaten into ploughshares.

Some whites heeded the call, grudgingly or otherwise, while others could not stomach the greater humanity and Christianity as compared to their depraved existence.

Independence was a brave new world.

April 18 brought back the humanity that was denied the majority.

What is more, it helped Zimbabwe chart new paths in development for all and set Zimbabwe on a path to prosperity in various field such as education, health and economy.

With the land reform programme which reversed the colonial theft and injustice and the present attempt to make black people of this country own a majority stake in the economy, Zimbabwe has crept back from the colonial dungeon.

No hype

In the run-up to Independence Day this year, one cannot help but notice the lack of hype around the auspicious day. Is it because we have forgotten so quickly about the importance of the day and the price at which it came? Is it because of the low political tide?

Is it because we are so uncreative as to keep the day alive?

Of course, there are traditional features on the long-suffering ZBC that try to psyche us up to the day.

However, if the truth be told, who does not notice the rigidity and even desperation the tedium and anachronism in the ZBC messages, including during news bulletins?

Lethargy may yet rank as one of Zimbabwe’s ungainly characteristics.

May somebody tell us whether there cannot be a special Government department or departments that should keep alive the tradition and spirit and festivity of Independence in a responsible and responsive manner?

If we lose touch with Independence and other observances, what happens to our sense of history entitlement to Zimbabwe?

Independence is going out of fashion. Gone are the days when it used to arrest national psyche when Easter was a dress rehearsal for Independence.

I am worried.

I am especially worried at this time when hype is being built around some attention seeking and money making events which are being better organised and hyped than our national Independence, by far the only judgment night ever in this country.

I become worried when the nation gets enthralled by festivities of some gods of prosperity yet we do not honour the God of our Independence and freedom.

Are we shifting priorities?

Why should we seek to escape into some abstractions when we have Independence and heritage and land to keep?

May somebody please tell the nation that the National Heroes Acre, Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Altenna Farm, Chinhoyi, WhaWha, Gonakudzingwa, Sikombela, and other historical places are tourist attractions, too?

And what’s wrong with the concept of historical tourism, which nobody has seriously pursued?

The lost connection

One thing worries me more.

It is a matter of historical cause that the liberation of this country was carried on the shoulders of spirit mediums and traditional African religion from Sekuru Chaminuka to prophetess and prophet Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi Gumboreshumba.

In between them, various spirit mediums helped liberation fighters, the guerillas, to navigate the spiritual and geographic terrains of the war.

They provided discipline and direction they told of what and when to attack.

All guerilla fighters, including President Mugabe, testify to the usefulness of the spirit mediums and how traditional African religion sprang miracles of survival from nowhere.

The snuff that the spirit mediums provided was holy and warded off evil spirits.

After Independence, the same spirit mediums helped cleanse the land.

Then what happened?

The nation has totally forgotten about the role the spirit mediums and traditional African religion played and should continue to play in this country.

Traditional African religion brought Independence well before the US dollar and all that came with it including dubious churches whose shady events are now being touted as national events.

I say this without fear or favour (and my constitutional right to freedom of conscience: I do not need help greater than that which brought Independence to this country).

We owe Zimbabwe more to the God of our ancestors and Independence than anything else.

Some wisened heads often point out that some of the problems that we are facing in this country stem from our neglect of the roots.

They are right.

Our Independence should be forever.

And if we allow our Independence to go out of fashion, woe betide us.

Source : The Herald