Home » Governance » Independence – What Does It Mean to Be a Zimbabwean?

Yesterday was the country’s 34th Independence anniversary. Zimbabwe marked its birthday amidst pomp and fanfare. It is not everyone that lives to see another day, however Zimbabwe, managed this feat, celebrating a whole 34 years of being an independent state one where the children of the soil can walk with their heads high in any part of the country without fear.

There are many countries that are still in bondage across the world, places where one does not just venture into any part of town or the city places where the colour of one’s skin can get them shot places where the colour of one’s skin determines how far they can go in life places where one’s background can be an impediment to any plans.

There are places where being a girl is almost a crime.

There are countries where a woman is viewed and treated as an object where a woman cannot drive or even have her features seen by the world around her.

In Zimbabwe there are still issues, of course.

As far as women are concerned there is still a lot that needs to be done.

While women can now aim for the stars in any field, since education is now rolled out to all, we all know of the glass ceiling that women reach.

Just a cursory glance at our organisations and structures — whether political, health related, transport, media, tourism, governance — women are not at the top.

Through independence, we are querying these anomalies in a national paper, this is also a perfect time for introspection.

But wait a minute, as we all hype the Independence holidays, I hope it is not just because this provided many of those lucky enough to get a day off and go about their personal business, without thinking about what Independence Day signifies.

What does being Zimbabwean mean and stand for?

Do you like me, swell with pride and love each time you arrive at the Harare International Airport?

No matter the glamour and the sights abroad, each time I touch Zimbabwean soil I am relieved.

I love travelling once in a while, but after a couple of days on foreign land, I just cannot wait to be back home. I can gripe about the power cuts, water shortages, potholes, corruption in lofty places but there is nowhere else I would rather be.

So is it about the mother tongue then?

I am Karanga hailing from Gutu but born and bred in Highfield, Harare.

Is it the pull of those places then? Is it my totem Shoko Mukanya?

What is it for you, that being Zimbabwean means? Do you still know what it is?

Ever seen how the Americans stand out and proclaim how American they are in any place. Remember the “God Bless America and no place else” joke? The Americans have deep self-love for themselves as a people.

Do we have that? Do we still know what being Zimbabwean is, today one day after we turned 34?

Zimbabwe and I are age-mates and I wonder how much she must love herself before anybody else.

As Zimbabweans, are we like that? Are we not fast losing every fabric that makes us who we are? Are we not being swallowed by everybody and everything around us?

Look how we speak better English than Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, Venda and our other languages. Look how we eat more Western dishes than our own? Some of our children do not even eat sadza anymore.

Look how we have forgotten the rural home and what it stood for? Does the extended family still exist?

Some of us do not know our totems anymore. We do not relate the way Zimbabweans should, or do we not know how that works?

In the past Zimbabweans used to pull together, even by virtue of sharing same totems or hailing from the same provinces.

Zimbabweans are known outside the borders for working very hard and not being choosy or complaining.

But back at home, have we not become a people that just complain while not putting in our best? Most people want to get paid but are not willing to work.

With greed and corruption becoming part of our DNA, can we still claim to be a patriotic people when some of us will loot and rob the country blind?

Our 34th birthday provides us all with an opportunity — a platform — to think just what it means to be Zimbabwean.

To be Zimbabwean is not just about being geographically placed, surely?

It stands for something. It stands for some freedom the freedom to be the freedom to work for a better Zimbabwe the freedom to love the nation and those in it.

Yes, we have our hardships but to get through them let’s think for a moment just what being Zimbabwean means and the responsibility it gives us all.

Therein lies the difference!

btonhodzayi@gmail.com.

Source : The Herald

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