Of identity, African humanism and independence

Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, the inevitability of dialogue between past and present is universal.

In Zimbabwe, many a time villagers are looked down upon by many urbanites or pseudo urbanites, who, because of colonial prejudices banked on their minds, think being a villager is being primitive, yet most of Jesus Christ’s disciples were villagers without higher education, but readily grasped what he taught.

Were the disciples primitive?

Villagers remain the vanguards of our traditional values and everyone not alien to this country is a villager, for, all our national identity cards issued by the Registrar General’s Office denote our chiefdoms.

To this end, we all come from chief so and so’s area and your chief’s name is a pre-requirement for acquiring a passport.

So who is not a villager? Why do we die in our scores every other public holiday travelling to the villages?

Ian Smith

Why do we swarm Mbare, Renkini and other termini every other public holiday to board chicken buses to our villages?

Our refusal to accept that we are villagers comes from the remnant colonial deposits caked on our minds, where villagers were dehumanised and denigrated, but the dawn of Independence in 1980 should make us proud of our villagehood.

One good thing about villagers is that they have ideological clarity.

They know what Independence means and what it has brought to them.

Villagers still bear the scars of the liberation struggle, still live with unmarked graves of unknown freedom fighters.

In Rhodesia, colonialism came in several waves, imposing itself on our people, who had their original political ideas, economic innovations and cultural idiosyncrasies, and sought to establish a new system in which the black person was a subservient animal, used by the whites to promote their hegemony on natural resources.

When the wave came, it rolled over African humanism, its contents contaminating and corroding the existing social, political and economic fabric and indeed establishing white supremacy, which only real black men and women started challenging at the expense of their limbs and lives.

Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, was the terrain upon which the colonial waves had wash, swash and backwash effects.

The liberation struggle forced some of the waves to roll back, leaving behind terraces that are a manifestation of the former colonial system’s desire to regain lost pride.

The question of what changed over time, what remained, what was washed away, what was altered and what still holds firm is the central occupation of this villager in this instalment.

Yes, the villager is back, you can say that again!

Most affected were the blacks, the Shona and Ndebele and others, the autochthons of the land of Munhumutapa. To call people autochthons, literary meaning those who came out of the ground, sounds village lingua franca, but implies that they are thought by themselves and others to have a special intimacy with the territory they occupy because they are thought to be the earliest to have lived there.

This villager uses the clumsy word autochthon for want of a clearer term that conveys the partly mythical, partly historical, partly attitudinal references that it contains when handling national matters in Zimbabwe.

The remnants of the colonial legacy left by the last Rhodesian should be put to rest.

That even after the victory of the founding fathers ushered Zimbabwe, now 39 years old, is to bury to finality any such Rhodesian thinking and values.

A reversal of the gains of our Independence is certainly a reversal of the victory against the British and their allies, who have not hidden their displeasure at our own self-rule, our land reform and indeed black empowerment. What is victory if the key concepts of victory are altered by it and what is defeat if little that is crucial is lost?

Cecil John Rhodes is part of our history, so is David Livingstone, so is Leander Starr Jameson, so is Robert Moffat and Ian Smith and many others who made our lives and those of our forebears miserable.

Leander Starr Jameson

Today, they incarnate through funded opposition political parties, masked as democratic institutions fighting Governments born out of liberation movements.

Their narrative is to portray liberation movements as undemocratic, yet the same had to fight a bloody war to liberate Africa.

Today, the main problem is not Rhodes, Jameson or any of their contemporaries, but the legacy they left. It is this legacy of turning black people against black people, the agenda being to perpetuate white dominance.

The former colonial master funding opposition parties to destabilise their own countries in the name of Eurocentric democracy, good governance and accountability.

We need to exorcise the spirit they left behind, that has inspired a brigade of puppets and sell-outs, manifesting themselves through self-acclaimed political movements of democratic change, which of course, we know are undemocratic puppetry.

We need as a nation to deal with those of our kind who seek political office to deface on our humanism, to destroy our values and to defecate on the template of our liberation history.

We need to deal with latter-day political parties that seek to defecate on the graves of those black revolutionaries who lost limb and life in the fight to snatch Zimbabwe from the jaws of colonialism, glorifying illegal economic sanctions, and belittling the revolutionary fathers of this nation.

We need to look at ourselves and deal with the living puppets.

In the culture of Rhodes and others, the dead never come back as spirits or through spirit medium, so why waste our time?

We must drill sense into the heads of those opposition formations who have become willing slaves of the West and have no shame telling the whole nation that our economy collapsed out of mismanagement and that there were never sanctions.

We must drill, drill and drill harder the essence of humanism that gay gangsters are not something we cannot support.

It is the values that we must drill into these people, our brothers who have lost their social and moral bearing.

Once that is done, then we can restore our lost pride, our national unity and our dignity.

Villagers know Zimbabwe did not come easily.

It came through the barrel of the gun.

We are the autocthons being fought left, right and centre with the aloshtons brazenly sponsored to grab power by our erstwhile enemies.