Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe Lifestyle Editor
Whatever your political inclination, skin hue or current domicile, if you have a right to that green passport, then Zimbabwe is your home. Which means that 18 April is an important day in your history.
It does not matter where you stand, you cannot avoid that fact because whichever way you take it, that day has played a large part in making you who you are.
And who are you? The way you are going to spend next Saturday says who you are, bearing in mind that the majority of people on earth make much about their national days.
Below is a profile of Zimbabweans. Where do you fit?
1. ‘‘Nothing to do with us’’
It is most unfortunate that this group contains the largest number of the affluent and young blacks. They have dissociated themselves from national events and perceive the mass gatherings such as those on Independence Day as something to be left to the unwashed masses.
This group generally considers itself above politics with many of them not even registered as voters in spite of having all the requisite documents. Or if they are registered, they tend to practice voter apathy. They will spend Independence Day at their usual pleasure haunts with no thought on the meaning of the day and would laugh off any suggestion of getting involved, unless there is a big something for them on individual level.
2. ‘Theirs, not for us’
This group contains those who are politically against the incumbent ruling party and do not have the maturity to realise that the patriotism is about the State, not the Government. They have many beefs with the current Government which they blame for everything that has not gone right in their lives including the blockage of the kitchen sink.
They claim that they are not independent and therefore they have nothing to celebrate.
It suits them to ignore all the gains of independence and focus solely on the negative side. But sooner or later, something happens that jolts them into reconsideration. To mind comes MDC-T MP Ms Jessie Majome and how a few months ago she returned home grateful for Independence after experiencing a bad case of racism abroad.
3. ‘‘What Independence?’’
This group contains the red neck whites and mentally colonised blacks who will swear that Independence was a big mistake and if only they could reverse the clock, life would be perfect. The people in this group still practice a form of apartheid in which some places like social clubs and gatherings are still reserved for certain ethnic groups and any intermixing is overtly and directly discouraged.
It is no use talking to this group about the humiliation and gross injustices perpetrated by an entitled minority on a cowed mass under colonialism. They deliberately highlight anything bad they can spot. They fail to see that the countries they admire were built by men and women who put the nation ahead of petty individual interests.
Sadly much of the country’s literature that has earned international appeal has been created by people from this group.
Top of the psyche is the prolific Wilbur Smith and his abominable writings where every —ism comes to the fore. No wonder why many people who then come to the country are surprised when they do not find machete wielding savages hacking at each other while some ‘‘benign’’ whites try to bring some peace.
4. ‘‘This is our time’’
Fortunately there are many Zimbabweans who deeply feel the significance of the day and will throng the centres where celebrations are being held. This a group made up of the backbone of the country. They are the veterans of the liberation struggle, combatants and non-combatants alike. This group also includes young people who appreciate what it means to be a nation, and why we all need to rally to the flag.
This group contains many whites, Indians and those of mixed heritage who have no other place to call home and are part of the solution to getting over the solutions facing us as a nation. They have no problems forming social and economic relationships beyond their traditional spheres.
The various ethnicities working together prove that diversity is no challenge to a shared identity.
This group contains people who take responsibility for their lives and embody the spirit of Zimbabwe where humour gets us through everything.
The creative industry in the country and the sports-persons have done much to keep the national spirit thriving. Musicians, sculptors and athletes proudly raising the Zimbabwean flag at international forums have stared down the biased reportage of the country on an international level.
Enter Munyaradzi Chidzonga. This young man set a trend showing that it is hip to be patriotic when he made the national flag his mascot during his stint at the Big Brother Africa house a few years ago. And the country did not fail him as his quest became a national one and everyone felt the pain when he controversially lost at the last post.
As a result many young people have started creating their own space around national events like Independence Day with activities that suit them like their own gigs. The national flag has become a must have item in one form or the other.
This is the only country that we have to call our own. Unless you are planning to change citizenship, then you had better start getting up to be the change that you want to see around you. Stop throwing litter on the ground, stop vandalising infrastructure, stop focusing on the negatives, give a sister and a brother a smile, stop promoting corruption.
If we are not happy with the current culture accompanying Independence Day commemorations, why are we not creating options that speak to us? Why are we not introducing what will become traditions over time? Where is our Independence Day dish that we can all look forward to each year? Where are special Independence Day treats for the children to bug parents for? Where are the activities that we should be busy preparing for, beyond the mass gatherings?