By Munyaradzi Gumbo
“I have travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” That was Lord Macaulay’s Address to the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835.
Growing up in the village, I always thought it was a curse being born in such an environment. The trauma would even worsen during the festive season or any family gatherings where my cousins from the city would come to the village. I envied them – their lifestyle was my dream life.
To make matters worse, the visitors (usually the kids of my age who were born in the city) would despise our way of living and even the food we ate. I remember their mothers would give them different food from that we were eating. What is wrong with the sadza we eat on daily basis – two to three times a day?
It was traumatising but we endured.
In Zimbabwe, in most cases the villagers are despised by urbanites, who, because of colonisation think that being a rural folk is being primitive. I remember one festive season our usual guest from the city, as it was their norm came to the village. By then I was doing my grade four. I was the eldest among my peers in the village.
One day, my friends and I went out to the nearby mountain herding cattle. We invited our guests from the city (two boys) who were our age to come with us. Just from the dressing among us you could see the difference, let alone the language. The city boys usually spoke in English as such it was difficult for us to engage with them.
As someone who was in the higher grade than others, I tried speaking to my cousins in their language. My sentence construction, grammar and ascent was just terrible. They laughed at me to the extent that one of them missed his step and got himself injured on one of his toes.
My grandmother had taught me traditional ways of cleaning and bandaging a wound which I did to my cousin.
Granny had shown me many herbs to use when I fell sick. As such going to a clinic was foreign to me.
I helped my cousin and I was very proud. A job well done!
We returned home. I was so eager to tell his mother what had happened. Without being given enough time to explain what had happed, she started shouting at me and even accused me of using witchcraft methods. She told me my methods would worsen the injury and even cause infection.
Granny had taught me these methods and I never had infection before as opposed to what she was claiming. The remnants of colonial rule engraved in our minds by the British should be put to rest. That even after 40 years of Independence we still find ourselves trapped within their beliefs and values is a misnomer.
Today, the main problem we have as Zimbabweans is not the Rhodesians, but the legacy they left behind – turning black people against black people so as to perpetuate white supremacy.
They have left behind a spirit of sell-outs and puppets who roam around claiming to be agents of democratic change, which in actual essence they represent the values and beliefs of the former colonisers.
As a nation, we need to deal with political party leaders who seek office by going around the world asking for economic sanctions, and at the same time belittling the efforts of our founding fathers.
A reversal of the land reform is certainly a reversal of the independence we acquired in 1980, as such those Zimbabweans who call for reversal of the land reform act should not be tolerated.
It is high time as a nation we drill sense in the minds of organisations who have become puppets of the West and have forgotten that the freedom we enjoy today was a result of the sacrifices made by the revolutionary fathers of this nation.
We should restore our lost pride, our national unity and our dignity.