Why I have suspended celebrating Zimbabwe’s Independence, and you should too!

“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.

Perhaps.”

– 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.

 

 

Advertisements

For Those Dealing with a Break-Up


Break-ups are the steepest learning curves. The pain either refines you or defines you – remember, the outcome of the pain is your own decision.

– Tanaka Dube

I recently went through a break up. And the scariest thing was facing my insecurities about being single:

— The first insecurity was explaining to my friends and family about what seemed like my own failings – why he broke up with me. Yet still, I was still trying to process and understand the break-up for myself. I remember my one friend telling me, ‘he took you for granted, be a savage, and move-on.’  If it were only so simple! Heartbreak has its own clock, spirit and flow. And at the time of a break-up and perhaps a few weeks to months afterwards, your emotions are raw and you still love your ex. It is incredibly difficult to explain a break-up with someone you still love because explaining the break-up solidifies your separation. I had to accept my break-up and forgive not only him, but myself too.

— The second insecurity was my fear for ‘chat’ from outsiders. Generally, this is a falsified fear, it truly is a figment of our imagination – truth is, nobody cares whether you are single or not. Except, in African/Black communities where there tends to be much gossip and competition for men. In such communities, the fear for ‘chat’ is then given substance. However, you need to learn to live for yourself and not look for validation or approval from others – it is hard, but possible.

— The third and most difficult, was my insecurity about living without my significant other who I’d given so much of myself to. A true relationship fosters a form of friendship and trust that unique. I remember being able to truly be myself with him and being able to laugh, cry, talk about everything without the fear of judgement. I overcame my fear of opening-up and I let him in. He became my best friend. Then one day, it all flipped, it’s as if I lived an illusion. And the thought of losing a lover didn’t scare me as much as the loss a partner/friend/confidant.

What truly makes a break-up so painful?

The pain comes from the disparity between the reality you face (the loss of love) and the expectation you had (the love to be cultivated). Your feelings of: love, betrayal, fear, disappointment, anxiety and hurt are real and should be confronted. Do not brush aside your feelings – nobody is a savage; you will hurt yourself in the long run.

All through my break-up, I never truly thought of myself, put myself forward or made myself first. Any time I thought of myself it was in relation to my ex – would he want me back? Would we work out in future? Or in relation to my future – would I find someone suitable?

Reality check I: I am still young. Reality check II: Women have been so well programmed to believe they need a man. Reality Check III: The feminist movement preaches savagery and that we are self-sufficient. Reality check IV: Feelings are complex. Reality check V: I still loved him.

How do you overcome?

Each person is different. We all deal with break-ups differently. However, there are stages/goals you should aim towards:

  1. Acceptance: acceptance comes in many forms, but above all remember that actions speak louder than words. There is a prescribed time when it is okay for them to come back and rectify things, if they don’t come back by then – keep moving forward, do not stop.
  2. Grieve: you ought to cry and let yourself be in your feelings – but do not drag this out longer than it should. You must be strong. Pray about it, watch ratchet TV, meditate.
  3. Hope: what is yours will come to you. If you are religious lean on God for hope. If you are not, find a space, time or place that gives you meaning.
  4. Develop: You cannot be stagnant, set academic/career goals, seek counselling or mentorship from a role model/family/friend and develop yourself, in the acceptance stage you should confront your shortcomings or contributions to your break up – work on this so that you do not mess up the next.
  5. Move-on: Find peace about your past relationship and let go before involving someone else.
  6. Be Happy!

A final word from me: Whether the relationship was 6 months or 6 years, your feelings are valid. Do not allow your friends/family to push you to move on when you aren’t ready. Break-ups take time to overcome, let it be and take lessons from your feelings. Do not rush into another relationship. Despite what went on in your relationship and the things you overcame together – there is hope, there is a future and you will love again.

A letter For The Broken

“Healing is a must.”

– Tanaka Dube

You have got to overcome every un-forgiveness, every pain and every anger. Many of us have been wounded by a break-up, wounded by daddy issues, wounded by an untimely death of a loved one, wounded by betrayal, wounded by traumatic experiences. And we can only begin to live once we have been healed.

I was bitter for the longest period in my life. And I tried to cover it up. Everyone characterised me as strong and well-put. Lord knows how vulnerable and weak I felt. Lord knows the mental battles I struggled with. I was wounded. Over time, I realised how I could not keep relationships. How everyone who was meant to be close to me – my family and close friends, were slowly becoming distant. It was then that I learnt an important lesson – hurting people hurt people. I was hurting for the longest time and this cultivated feelings of resentment towards anything that even slightly resembled what had caused me pain. I developed trust issues and believed nobody meant good. I lost optimism. I lost happiness. I lost myself.

At first, people would show concern. I could never articulate my pain. How do you articulate something that brings that much confusion and frustration? People stopped trying. I hated them for not caring. However, in retrospect, people can only knock on a shut door for so long, before they turn away and resume with their lives. I was in a spiral of bitterness. My bitterness was not always direct, there were many times that I was genuinely happy, but I was never truly at peace.

How do you heal?

1. Stop Covering Up Your Wounds

You have to allow yourself to be human. You need to let out and articulate your feelings of betrayal, pain, un-forgiveness, bitterness… You cannot hold back. Be it talking to a therapist, talking to a friend, writing out your emotions in a diary – you need to talk it out. You cannot continue to pretend that these feelings do not exist because they are probably subconsciously embedded in you. This is not your cue to be a wreck, it is your cue to be open and talk out how you feel.

2. Be Honest With Yourself

Nothing is more scary than confronting our inadequacies. Whether it is how we contributed to our failed relationships, how we have taken out our daddy-issues, how we have let trauma run our lives. We contribute to our pain equally. People will always hurt you and at times you did not ask for it. Like a lover falling out of love with you. You will undergo feelings of hate, un-forgivness, fear and pain. I hated people for not reaching out, but even when they did, I did not open up. I am therefore accountable for my feelings because I allowed myself to be that bitter. It was me that gave up and lost all hope. I had to confront these things and forgive myself for allowing my pain to define me almost indefinitely.

3. Acceptance

You cannot change the past. Seek understanding on what happened in your life, get closure and accept it for what it is.

4. Forgive

How I have learned to forgive was through understanding. When I took time to understand why a person did what they did to me, it was only then that I grew peace. It sounds strange to say empathise with people that have hurt you, but it is only then that you get a greater level of understanding and closure.

5. Find Your Centre

You need to move forward. Develop yourself, is there something that you’ve always wanted to do? This is your time. Love yourself, do what makes you feel sexy. Find peace, be it through God and prayer or meditation or diary writing.

Remember, you are not worthless and unlovable. As vulnerable as you are dynamic. As fragile as you are strong. As passive as your are powerful.

This is a conversation that confronts 'uncomfortable' social questions. This is a vulnerable commentary on life experiences. I write without censorship, this is a true representation of my emotions, struggles and over-comings. May our voices be true, and be voices that echo across social and generational barriers. May Our Voices Be Voices That Echo.