Our spirit of resilience


HARARE – Wananchi, the goat month draws to an end and not many will shed tears to see the echoes of its ironic laughter.

It has been a long month, with even longer scars and shadows of pain planted across the land.

The citizen has been put to the test, stretched ,tortured ,drained and twisted. Yet this is just the beginning.

The thing is in troubled times such as the present the Wananchi must keep their heads high and dig in.
It is so key to look the beast in the eye and not blink.

There are problems, there have been problems and there will be problems.

One is guaranteed of this as long as the country remains under the bondage of a predatory, tired, exclusive and exhausted nationalism.

There was a time not so long ago when the majority of Zimbabweans lived below the poverty datum line surviving on less than thirty five cents a day.

There was a time not so long ago 4 000 people were dying every week of hunger and disease and life expectancy had sunk to 34 for women and 37 for men.

But the Wananchi survived .The citizen stuck to it, buried its dead, wiped its tears and moved on.

The Zimbabwean spirit is exhibit A for resilience, for strength and for perseverance.

Across the country one sees the old, the young, the not so young pushing forward with the quest of a better life, of survival and resistance.

It may be in dusty fields that yield nothing. The kind of fields up there in Gwanda where they plant maize and reap stones. It may be some  damp factory in Gweru producing nothing except pain and grief.

It may be a poor mother whose husband ran away with the neighbour’s last born child selling tomatoes in Nketa.

It may be No Violet’s little monsters stealing guavas in some suburb in the middle of unhappiness.

The Wananchi get on with it.

Some will say its docility and plain stupidity.

Some will whinge and wince.

Yes some amongst us are professional whimpers, whingers and whiners.

It is the fault of everyone except ourselves. It is the fault of the movement that failed to deliver. It is the fault of the grade seven teacher who was always drunk.

You can tell the professional whinger from afar. They tend to know everything, have an opinion on everything except themselves. They tend to be a very ungrateful lot, a very judgmental lot.
They whinge everywhere, in church, in a bar, even when their poor team is winning.

I know this lot. It is only happy when it is unhappy.

It must grow up. It has stayed too young for too long.

The challenge of the past has always been to let dictatorship come in the way of our lives. The citizen adjusts and modifies one’s own life according to an unwritten code.

The citizen speaks in hushed tones and buries his head in the sand.

Fear becomes the dominant discourse. The citizen is very afraid.

Fear envelopes same. He lives outside himself like a shadow. He has no dignity.

He loses his manhood and can not look his children in the eye.

Other people are left to fight his wars as he swallows his fear in the decadence of immorality, drunkenness or long hours spend in church or a golf club.

That is what fear does.

I have seen this kind of fear. I have lost friends because of this fear.

There are funerals or weddings I have not been told or invited because of this fear.

But the citizen can not live a borrowed life because of the actions of a tottering regime arrested by its own contradictions and that is slowly suffering a slow painful death.

There is nothing as liberating as the capacity to speak one’s mind, to speak without riddles or idioms.

There is nothing as wholesome as being able to tell the truth and tell it as it is.

Even the regime itself envies and admires this.

So in the end freedom is just what it is, the ability to capture and control the little space one has.

Your own mouth, brain, pen and the ability to use same.

Happiness is not wealth or fame. Happiness is that capacity to be free.

As they say in Chiendambuya ,”kufa hakuuraye.”  Zikomo.

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