Youths must de-link with West to be new heroes
MONDAY was Heroes’ Day, a special day on the calendar of most Zimbabweans, the youth included. As a youth myself, I thought it best to share my views on how my generation can become the future heroes. Heroes’ Day is more than just a day for honouring and celebrating the bravery shown and sacrifices made by our gallant sons and daughters of the soil in liberating the country from white minority rule.
In as much as it is a way of remembering our heroes, Heroes’ Day should also give insight into what it took to stand up against the institutionalisation of the exploitation of black Zimbabweans and their resources so as to appreciate that a protracted and bloody liberation struggle was necessary in the fight against oppression.
It undoubtedly took bravery and foresight for those who took up arms and ultimately lost their lives in defence of their birthright — the land — in order to set the stage for a sovereign government chosen by the people for the people.
Frantz Fanon in the seminal text, The Wretched of the Earth, opines that, “decolonisation is the meeting of two forces, opposed to each other by their very nature…which results from and is nourished by the situation in the colonies”.
Thus, it can be noted that the liberation struggle was indeed a struggle of ideologies, one bent on oppressing and exploiting the majority under the Rhodesian system and the other being that of the sanctity of the land and how it is the preserve of the masses.
It is imperative from the onset to note that the youth played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the liberation struggle as they stood up to be counted among those who fought against white minority rule.
Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri, a lecturer at Midlands State University’s Media and Society Studies department, said Heroes’ Day is not only a day of remembrance but is also a rallying call for today’s youth to exhibit the same courage needed to preserve the ethos of this nation.
“The liberation struggle was a vibrant and energetic movement as soldiers were recruited at the age of 23. The youth today have to develop a national interest that goes beyond sectarianism or partisanship but must be much more embracing”.
“Heroism must now be showcased through the youth growing in political consciousness, social responsibility and cultural awareness because the struggle continues”, Prof Mhiripiri said.
He also pointed out that the youth, being in their formative years, must be aware of the requirements of a constitutional democracy in order to articulate ideas in a peaceful manner so as to contribute productively to the economy.
The youth must spearhead the continuity of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary tradition and prepare for the nation’s future as they are facing new challenges that include sanctions, economic problems and new technologies like social media which are now competing for space within the local environment.
The youth have to negotiate an identity that is rooted in African ideals like Ubuntuism and must adopt a cautious approach to the adoption of the benefits of globalisation.
With the advent of globalisation, Zimbabwean youths and their African counterparts must “sleep with one eye open” so that they do not become mere imitations of the West’s paternalistic ideals that are now being disseminated faster than ever with the aid of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Renowned playwright and social commentator, Mr Cont Mhlanga, weighed in saying the youth must work ardently to adopt and revise ideologies created by previous heroes in order to prepare for a better future.
“The on-going digitalisation drive being undertaken by the Government is commendable as it gives an opportunity to accelerate the Zimbabwean project of self-definition”.
“The youth must now take advantage and set the tone for the configuration of global identities that are rooted in liberation stories and colonial stories and even pre-colonial stories”, Mr Mhlanga said.
He also urged the youth to become heroes by spearheading the nation’s Cultural Revolution and criticized the recent street protests going on in the country as regressive as they defeat the processes that went into the people’s formulation of the constitution.
Jean-Paul Sartre in the preface to Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth opines that, “we only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of what others have made of us”.
Therefore, Heroes’ Day is a reminder that in the colonial era, the youth were courageous in the sense that they refused to be swayed by colonial hypocrisy that was bent on making sure the African’s position was that of perpetual subservience, and thus contributed to the end of the decolonisation process in Zimbabwe.
Neo-colonialism, however, presents a new challenge for today’s youth as it seeks to reverse the gains that came with the sacrifices made by thousands who gave up their lives for the Zimbabwean cause by using home-based agents of illegal regime change.
The youth must ultimately instigate the inculcation of an epistemic and political de-link from the West in order to pave the way for a future that is engineered wholly through the auspices of Zimbabweans for the total benefit of the Zimbabwean people for generations to come.