The beau­ti­ful Zim story we must tell

We need to counter the lies with facts and pro­claim greater truths of our equal hu­man­ity, of de­cency and com­pas­sion. We need as a na­tion to cher­ish ev­ery pre­cious ideal that gave us our free­dom and in­de­pen­dence.

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS & OPINION - Love­more Ranga Mataire

IHAVE al­ways been in­fat­u­ated by Zim­babwe. No place has be­sot­ted my heart so much like this teapot-shaped land, which had Ce­cil Rhodes so awestruck that he willed to be in­terred at the apex of the sa­cred Matopo hills. Sadly, his wish was granted. To­day, the Bri­tish im­pe­rial agent of du­bi­ous sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion lie buried at one of Zim­babwe’s most revered places - the Matopo hills that has within its vicin­ity, the Njelele Shrine. Lo­cated about 100 km south of Bu­l­awayo and of­ten re­ferred to as Mab­wedziva or Ma­ton­jeni, Njelele is a rain­mak­ing shrine on the south west­ern fringes of Matopo Na­tional Park in the Khu­malo com­mu­nal area.

Njelele dates back to the time when the Mbire eth­nic group mi­grated south­wards from Lake Tan­ganyika and even­tu­ally set­tled at Great Zim­babwe.

Oral tra­di­tion has it that the Njelele shrine was first es­tab­lished at Great Zim­babwe be­fore the Rozvi ad­min­is­tra­tive power shifted from Great Zim­babwe to Matopo Hills.

Zim­babwe is a spe­cial place with spe­cial peo­ple. Sadly, fa­mil­iar­ity breeds com­pla­cency. Po­si­tioned at the cen­tre of south­ern Africa, Zim­babwe is the heart beat of Africa south of the Sa­hara.

This is not hy­per­bole. I am not play­ing cheap pa­tri­otic ca­pers. No. This place we call Zim­babwe is no or­di­nary place. If only its peo­ple knew how en­dowed this coun­try is; so­cially, spir­i­tu­ally and with so much eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

It is in Zim­babwe where we have the Great Zim­babwe mon­u­ment, an in­de­fati­ga­ble record of an an­cient civil­i­sa­tion whose in­ge­nu­ity has vexed gen­er­a­tions of sci­en­tists and his­to­ri­ans.

This place is a na­tional trea­sure. The Great Zim­babwe bears our um­bil­i­cal cord as na­tion.

An acrop­o­lis of Africa, the Great Zim­babwe was the ci­tadel of civil­i­sa­tion and a vi­brant trade cen­tre that con­nected the coun­try with the rest of Africa and the world. It is a unique artis­tic achieve­ment that has struck the imag­i­na­tion of African and Euro­pean trav­ellers since the Mid­dleAges. The Great Zim­babwe bears tes­ti­mony of a once mag­nif­i­cent city, rich in his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, ar­chi­tec­tural won­ders and un­re­solved mys­ter­ies.

Rhodes, Ian Smith and ear­lier Euro­peans tried but failed to dis­tort the history of the Great Zim­babwe.

Be­sides the Great Zim­babwe, the coun­try is en­dowed with plenty of nat­u­ral won­ders. The mis­named Vic­to­ria Falls quickly comes to mind. Why have we not in­trin­si­cally me­di­ated on why the Mosi-oa-Tun­y­a­colo­nially called Queen Vic­to­ria Falls has its best view on our side of the Zam­bezi River?

These are not rhetor­i­cal ques­tions. These are gen­uine ques­tions that must in­form present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions about the spe­cial place that Zim­babwe oc­cu­pies in the uni­verse. Why are we not talk­ing about this mag­nif­i­cent God-given phe­nom­e­non in­stead of be­ing ob­sessed by this “jecha” crap? And what about the Ngo­maLun­gundu? The Ark of the Covenant. Many doubt, but sci­en­tific ex­am­i­na­tion has all proven beyond doubt that the Ngo­maLun­gundu arte­fact is the old­est arte­fact in the world and it’s here in Zim­babwe. In 2010, the Ngoma-Lun­gundu was dis­played at the Na­tional Mu­seum and very few took in­ter­est, but the Bri­tish and other Euro­pean na­tions did. Why do we step-fault our own worth? Said to have been built more than 700 years ago from the re­mains of the orig­i­nal Ark, the Ngoma Lun­gundu be­longs to the Lemba peo­ple, with African Jewish an­ces­try. The Ngoma Lun­gundu was used to store Moses’ 10 Com­mand­ments dic­tated to him on Mount Si­nai. For decades, the an­cient ves­sel was thought to be lost, un­til it was found in a store­room in Harare some years ago. The arte­fact is be­lieved to be the old­est wooden ob­ject ever found in sub­Sa­ha­ran Africa.

So why are we not talk­ing about these beau­ti­ful sto­ries in­stead of be­ing ob­sessed with the non­sen­si­cal “jecha” mantra? Shouldn’t we re­sist kow­tow­ing to a cer­tain op­po­si­tion leader who is at­tempt­ing to flat­ten the po­etry of Zim­babwe and be­smirch our found­ing ideals of free­dom, peace, sovereignty and our ex­al­ta­tion of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle?

Should those in op­po­si­tion not re­sist the temp­ta­tion of fall­ing prey to an un­sta­ble, stub­bornly un­in­formed and an au­thor­i­tar­ian dem­a­gogue whose only claim to fame is be­ing youth­ful?

Things that once be­longed to the pe­riph­ery of the main dis­course are creep­ing back to the cen­tre; glar­ing misog­yny, in­tol­er­ance, and child­like histri­on­ics and a shock­ing amenabil­ity to di­rect for­eign in­tru­sion. Isn’t time as a na­tion we re­sist the temp­ta­tion of be­ing stuck in a by­gone past char­ac­terised by a de­bil­i­tat­ing per­pet­ual elec­tion mood? Isn’t it time that we re­sist the slen­der­est ex­ten­sion in the precincts of what is right?

I think now is the time to speak up and to wear as an em­blem of hon­our the ex­co­ri­a­tion of big­ots. I think now is the time to speak up and wear as an em­blem of hon­our the ex­co­ri­a­tion of big­ots.

I am forced to agree with the Nige­rian writer Chi­ma­manda Ngozie Adichie when she says that; “Now is the time for the me­dia, on the left and right, to ed­u­cate and in­form. To be nim­ble and alert, clear-eyed and scep­ti­cal, ac­tive rather than re­ac­tive. To make clear choices about what truly matters.” I think as the Fourth Es­tate we need re­fo­cus on is­sues that re­ally mat­ter.

Why are we not talk­ing about the ded­i­cated tobacco farm­ers who are now pro­duc­ing a record crop, the hor­ti­cul­ture farm­ers who are once again ex­port­ing our fruits and roses to Euro­pean shelves; the man­u­fac­tur­ers who are de­fy­ing the odds to cre­ate prod­ucts and jobs; the men and women lead­ing our roads and dams in­fra­struc­ture re­nais­sance? These are the sto­ries we wish to tell. Zim­babwe is ir­re­place­able. It is our coun­try to­gether. If we fall, we fall to­gether. If we pros­per, we pros­per to­gether. This “jecha” thing is as much an af­front to our as­pi­ra­tions as it is ret­ro­gres­sive. Now is the time to re­sist a cer­tain dark pop­ulism that only scape­goats- a dark pop­ulism based on mere blus­ter.

We need to counter the lies with facts and pro­claim greater truths of our equal hu­man­ity, of de­cency and com­pas­sion. We need as a na­tion to cher­ish ev­ery pre­cious ideal that gave us our free­dom and in­de­pen­dence.

We must al­ways chal­lenge the crop­ping up of ugly ideas that seek to present our na­tion as be­ing at odds with it­self. We need to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of turn­ing ugly ideas into the norm. It surely does not have to be like this.

Why are some of us ob­sessed with this ‘jecha’ non­sense and not cel­e­brat­ing this mag­nif­i­cent God-given awe- in­spir­ing phe­nom­e­non?

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