My father was a very fertile man. He left behind sixteen offspring (ten boys and six girls!) that he had with his four wives (my mothers). I happen to be the youngest of his sons and number fourteen in hierarchy although my own mother had four boys and a single girl. I am however my motherâ€™s last and youngest son. Unfortunately, my parents did not live long enough to see us grow and become not only citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe but also of Africa and the world at large. I know not the plans they had for us as their children but because of my inherent belief in the goodness of every human being, I sincerely believe that my parents had noble plans not only for me but for all of us, their children. They werenâ€™t sterile parents but fecund ones. They believed in productivity and not laziness. This productivity has been generously passed on to each one of us and if this werenâ€™t so then you wouldnâ€™t be reading this very piece which is itself a product of productivity!
It is very possible to be good in the midst of evil. It is very possible to be altruistic in the face of selfishness. It is very possible to be fecund in the midst of sterility. I have decided to be productive dear readers. It isnâ€™t a weakness but strength to care about the needs and happiness of other people more than my own. I am grateful to God Almighty that I have two university degrees and working on getting a third one. At least I can look after myself and others but this isnâ€™t enough. There are parents whose offspring have left the country and are having it rough in the diaspora. The parents are struggling and their children are struggling. I have a brother (from the ten of us) who crossed the Limpopo River as an illegal immigrant. He never lived long enough to tell us his experience. He was found dead and in a state of advanced decomposition.
Unfortunately, it had to be me who had to positively identify his body following his demise. He ran away from the political and economic problems in our country. He had noble plans to support his family but all this came to zilch. It would be very unfair on my brother and other victims of these problems if I were to stand idle and do nothing about this situation that we find ourselves in. The time has come and now is for us to raise the cost of misgovernance in Zimbabwe. I dedicate my life to fighting this. I am doing it for my brother and other families that have been brutally separated from their loved ones. I will continue to challenge the political environment that affects our ability to accomplish our life tasks, alleviate distress and realise our aspirations and values. Each of us is capable of some form of meaningful participation in the mainstream of society.
It is quite painful to come to terms with the fact that our country is made up of traumatised persons. Ours is a society in which decision makers are also traumatised and no doubt under immense pressure from a traumatised constituency. Irrational decisions are made by traumatised leaders. Public discussion and consensus are significantly impeded because there is no way traumatised leaders can handle disagreement constructively when their impulse is either to oppress those who disagree or to withdraw. Untreated trauma, however, has been known to destroy the foundations of a democratic society. Democracy involves passionate debate and conflict bounded by rather clearly defined rules of safety. We need to do something about this. We need a seismic shift in our behaviour. We may dodge our responsibility but we canâ€™t dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
Let it be known that I am not attempting to dictate a particular political view. I am simply seeking to inculcate a value system. I want to remind Zimbabweans that just as colonial influences and attitudes did not vanish with British leaving in 1980, three decades of this so called independence, these are issues that Zimbabwe will wrestle with for years, possibly decades to come.
Conclusively, Zimbabwe is built upon a cult of personalities. We would do well if we worked with some mixture of well-articulated theory and practice wisdom which is a combination of imagination, intuition and creativity. May God be with you all! The struggle continues unabated!
Born in Chipinge, Zimbabwe Mutsa Murenje went to school at Manesa Primary School, Hermann Gmeiner Secondary School, and Ruya Adventist Secondary School. Murenje holds a Bachelor of Social Work Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe as well as a Master of Science in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Mutsa writes on social and political issues affecting Zimbabweans at home and abroad. He can be contacted on email@example.com
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