The Curse of Memory

This world is entrapped in the past. The Curriculum Vitae or Résumé is the only standard by which anything or anyone gets evaluated for future development considerations. But how can the best engineers of the twentieth century, if still alive, continue to be effective for the twenty-first century needs? Misfortunes are caused by failure to concentrate on what lies ahead. For instance, an accident occurs, when a driver keeps his/her eyes on the rear view mirror.

Proverbs 29:18a “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (KGV).

Vision is not revision.  Zimbabwe is currently a typical reflection of what happens when obsessed in the past, hoping to sustain past realities, in shaping the future? The stigma of past memories also engulfed those of Jesus’ time:

John 1:45-46 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”. Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  (ESV).

Having found the prophesied Messiah, Philip was delivering the most current news to Nathanael. But the mere mention of Nazareth confused Nathanael. Why? Because common sense, as appealing to most people’s judgement, even today, does not allow such developments to take place. Nazareth had been notorious for lacking moral values. How possible could the Messiah emerge from such a town?

Zimbabwe is under a curse because its leaders are stuck in the past and have not made an inch of progress since attaining independence in 1980. Saturated by the historical achievements of the liberation struggle, our leaders lack clue, let alone time for the future. Zimbabwe may be another Nazareth of Jesus’ time.

We are led by corrupt people, thinking more about themselves than future generations. This stems from inability to disentangle the present from the past.  The solution lies in reversing the mind-set, focusing on the future. Like Nazareth, Zimbabwe may emerge as the greatest civilization on this planet.

The so-called developed nations may not appreciated this prediction. Nevertheless, Zimbabwe’s current problems reflect what sustains world civilizations. Like Zimbabwe, other nations enjoy replaying the scenes of the past, foolishly supposing they remain in that condition for ever.

Even in nations with developed democracies, candidates for positions of authority are evaluated on the basis of past achievements, not current realities. I suppose other nations will soon take a leaf from Zimbabwe’s current experiences. There is no value that comes with basking in boasts about past achievements. God declares:      

 Isaiah 43:18-21 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beast will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” 

The above pronounced blessings become effective when heeding given instructions and moving with God, for the better future. Whether good or bad, past achievements should not control current behaviours, as necessary for future development. We should only use past experiences for correcting observable mistakes. Past successes can shape the present, but should not shape the future.

The only values found in our leaders’ past achievements are in leading us to where we are today. The current actions are the ones that impact the future, whether good or bad.

Paul appreciated the concept of freedom from the past. He went through hard times, preaching the gospel. To him, the future was more important. He had to endure persecution because he valued the future more than the past and present. Obsessed in the past, those persecutors did not understand reasons for despising past values:

Philippians 3:7-11 “….If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:… to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Whether we like it or not, we all die. Our physical flesh is temporary. Yet the future does not exist, among those obsessed in the flesh. They enjoy talking about achievements of yesteryears. They cannot see the beckoning calamities of the future. Their values  are ensconced in the past achievements. They cannot see the future, only guaranteed by today’s bad or good actions, either in self-centredness or altruism. Hopefully, this leads many to think more about the future, than continuing in the intoxications of the past.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99