When will justice be done?
government of former President Robert Mugabe once indicated that a panel of learned Zimbabweans would be set up to write the liberation history of this country.
However, nothing had materialised by November last year when Mr Mugabe and his government fell from power under Operation Restore Legacy — even after such a long stretch of time when historians should have come up with the story of our revolution in order for born-frees as well as other people in the global village to know that the freedom this country now enjoys did not come on a platter.
Ironically, Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) assessors last year thumbed their noses on a book by a communicologist who lived through oppression of blacks in Rhodesia and lived and worked in exile chronicling the exploits of freedom fighters back home before returning to Zimbabwe at Independence to observe the transition from white to black rule.
The Zimsec assessors reportedly said they would not recommend the book titled Creatures at the Top for use in schools because it also featured top political personalities.
The title from the book was adopted from Mr Mugabe, then as Prime Minister in the early years of Independence when he denounced some of the leaders in his administration as “creatures at the top” who spoke their voices hoarse about socialism by day but by night shrilly embraced capitalism, thereby opposing the government’s efforts of turning the new born country into a socialist state.
It was ironically those same creatures at the top who by their huge capitalist appetite and anti-povo stance contributed to Mugabe’s fall from power and grace.
The Christian faith in Zimbabwe is historical. But if as immortalised in the Holy Bible the history of Christianity clearly tells how its founder and son of God, Jesus Christ, was vilified like a criminal, and finally nailed on the cross along with two criminals, why should lesser beings — in the person of political creatures at the top — be spared exposure by the pen to immortalise their political, economic and social discontinuities as hyenas in sheepskin?
A university lecturer, just over two years old at the time of independence in 1980, is among young Zimbabweans who told this writer that they strongly believed that justice remains undone in the absence of official historical accounts of the freedom struggle to enable the future leaders of this country to avoid the dark periods of white rule and with that knowledge also steer clear of any temptations to behave in ways that brought about distress to other members of society.
In that respect, therefore, the young stock, or born-frees, said the absence of an authentic or official history about how the country liberated itself from alien rule was an injustice to the young people who needed guidance to avoid pitfalls that caused violent conflicts in the country resulting in the armed struggle.
He and others of his age cited political remarks by one leader “who smelt breast milk” at the time of the birth of the new Zimbabwe as demonstrating ignorance about the past as a result of the absence of an authentic history of how Zimbabwe came to be.
The politician in question was quoted in the media as threatening to chuck out of Zimbabwe WHEN, and not if, he came to power after the harmonised elections next month nationals from a foreign country that helped build for us bridges from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe and then crossed the same bridges to help our people set themselves up economically.
[That the politician did not say he was misquoted, can only tell a big story about his knowledge of who rendered a helping hand in freeing this country from oppressive rule.]
Surely the concerns of born frees about the absence of an official Zimbabwean history of the liberation struggle should make the next government after independence consider moves for the writing of Zimbabwe’s liberation history an urgent next step so that foreigners may also understand why Zimbabweans pride themselves on their hard won independence and freedom.
Yes, one historian Mr Phathisa Nyathi of Bulawayo, is known to be writing the history of Zipra, the military wing of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) — an account that will obviously be one-sided without a complementary account of the armed struggle by Zanu’s former military wing, Zanla. NOW that everyone has decided to get fit and join an exercise class, it’s time to plan and prepare for what lies ahead. Just like any other place, you will need proper attire, maybe some equipment, and definitely a good attitude before you go. One more thing you shouldn’t forget is to mind your manners.
There are quite a number of exercise classes in Bulawayo and if you’ve never been a member of any of them, you may not know what is or isn’t expected of you. To all those who are members of a particular gym, it’s not a bad idea to read over some etiquette tips so you don’t become that person everyone avoids.
Basic gym manners are important especially now that the vast majority of the populace is joining exercise classes to keep fit. Different age groups are attending gym sessions, for body building, while others go there to exercise and keep their bodies in shape. Either way, whatever reason you hold, the gym is a social setting and likewise, you are expected to show courtesy and be polite to your fellow members.
A well groomed member will firstly learn the class rules that are there for everyone’s safety and comfort. Your instructor or the facility where the classes are held may have some things that are specific to them. Take time to familiarise yourself with the gym facilities and if you are not sure how to operate particular equipment, there is no harm in asking — “even the genius ask questions”.
Wear appropriate attire and if you’re not sure of what to wear to your exercise class, ask when you sign up. I have seen ladies who let everything hang out as they bend and stretch in different directions. If you’re not sure about an outfit, try it on at home. Move around in front of a mirror to make sure you won’t embarrass anyone by showing parts they don’t want to see.I always say, there is a time and place for everything.
Chances are high that you will sweat from all the moves, but make sure you put on enough deodorant to keep the smell bearable. Whatever you do, please don’t stink up the place. You surely don’t want other members to avoid you.
Show up on time — most classes begin with warm-ups and stretches, and you don’t want to miss out on that, or you risk being injured. Also, showing up late will disrupt the class, which is obviously rude. Allow for personal space — leave adequate space between you and the people around you so you don’t bump into each other with flailing arms and legs.
The fact that different age groups are attending the same exercise class with you should not tempt you to be an attention hog. You might be the best salsa dancer in town, but when you join a Zumba class, do the routine that the instructor teaches. Save your best moves for the dance floor.
Chitchat later – when you’re in an exercise class, private conversations are disruptive and unfair to the others who are there to get in shape. If you can’t resist the urge to gossip, when you’re with your friends, avoid the temptation by splitting up and going to a different part of the class. You can always get together for coffee or brunch after the session is over.
Please desist from judging others. You may have taken the class before, or you might be someone who catches on easily the first time you attempt a new move. That’s not the norm. Other people may be awkward and struggle with every new exercise the instructor demonstrates. Instead of laughing at them and making them feel bad, give them a smile and thumbs-up to encourage them.
Leave your cell phone in a locker – don’t be that person who gets calls and texts during an exercise class. It’s rude to the instructor and other members who are there to get fit.
Don’t create a bottleneck. If the facility where your class is located has a booked schedule, chances are, there will be another class ahead of yours. Wait for them to leave before you try to enter. Also don’t stand in the doorway chatting with a friend or the instructor.
Stay with the routine — you might have a move that you think is better than the instructor’s but this is not the time to show off. That said, if you’re injured or can’t do something, it’s generally fine to do a modified version.
Clean up after yourself — bring a towel, exercise mat, and anything else you need for the class. When it’s over, pick up everything and stash it in a tote. Don’t leave gum wrappers or anything else on the floor for someone else to pick up.
Just as important as the warm-up, the cooldown exercises will help prevent injury. And leaving early is just as disruptive as arriving late. Since exercise classes have become a hobby for most professionals, why not take the opportunity after class to network, make new friends and create relationships. It is way easier to start a conversation in a more relaxed social setting.
I know exercise classes maybe difficult, but you should still have fun getting fit. Whether you do it alone or with a friend, keep your attitude positive and focus on your goal. At the end of the day, you must enjoy and have fun.
Justice Simango is a Business Etiquette and Grooming Expert who writes in his own capacity. He is a member of Toastmasters International. Feedback: email@example.com