“Perhaps our greatest downfall is our perseverance and lack of perspective. Without this, perhaps we would have recognised that we have basic human rights. Perhaps we would have demanded our basic human rights. Perhaps we would have attained our basic human rights.
– Tanaka Dube
I do not know what it is to live under direct white-minority-rule (colonisation and apartheid). However, I do understand the lasting impact and present-day socio-economic effects of colonial-rule in Zimbabwe. To be open and frank, colonisation incapacitated black/indigenous people at the psychological and economic level, which caused them to perceive themselves as “less than.”
Fortunately, due to the sacrifice of war veterans and having the luxury of being born after independence, I am not bound by the same psychological chains as those that came before me. I do not perceive myself as ‘less than.’ I truly am enough.
So why have I stopped celebrating independence?
Zimbabweans are a broken people, begging a broken system.
When Mugabe was evicted from office, we all felt a sense of relief and excitement – we even called this era the “New Zimbabwe!” Things were going to change, our new Zimbabwe was “open for business,” and we were going to “restore [our] legacy” of being the bread basket of Africa. Zimbabwe for the first time had a new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Now lest we forget: The 75-year-old Mnangagwa belongs to ZANU-PF’s old guard. Mnangagwa has a proven track record of cruelty (as he was the minister of state security at the time of the Gukurahundi Massacre) and corruption (Mnangagwa was the minister of justice and ZANU-PF’s chief election agent in 2008’s General Election). But I am sure he has changed, I mean, it only takes 21 days to break a habit! Right? We all cheered when the Looters Amnesty was announced, we got so excited that we did not realise that from the 1166 cases presented (valued at US$1,3 billion), there is no account of the missing US$15 Billion from diamond mining. Why is that? Perhaps, it is true that “a zebra cannot change its stripes.” The millennial problem is that we celebrate being freed from colonial-rule, yet our oppression comes from our current African leaders that are sabotaging the impressionable youth with irrelevant propaganda. How could the 75-year-old president, who slept during the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) conference in Kigali this year, lead us in transitioning our economy and to adapting to technological changes to make our economy competitive again?
We need to stop with this “singirira [persevere]” and “Rome was not built in a day” mentality because what has fundamentally changed in the last few months? Okay, so we allegedly recovered US$250 million of the looted money and received US$520million in aid money from the Chinese – hooray! Yet we still have absurd capital controls (this is a whole discussion on its own), unacceptable unemployment rates and a poor health care system.
Without a complete change of our current national leadership – which is responsible for plundering the country’s resources and inflicting hardship on our vulnerable citizens – celebrating independence is a waste of time. We have become broken people begging a broken system. The cycle is repeating itself and change must come!
I want to celebrate the Zimbabwe people sacrificed their lives for in the Chimurenga War, not this sub-par and ineffective state.