Youths must de-link with West to be new heroes

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/analysis - Mpumelelo Ny­oni

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.

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