All human beings are basically good because they were created in God’s image. However, it is common that some people are regarded as good while others are regarded as bad. We have to understand the real causes of such conditions, in order to be in control, rather than being controlled.
The world we live in is sinful. Therefore, anyone born into this world is susceptible to being polluted by the bad people around him. However, some people become good, as long as surrounded by good people. Any young child could be potentially good when born among good people. Yet the same child could also be potentially bad when born among bad characters.
Whatever it is that shapes such a person, it has no bearing on his true character. A good person is not the one who gets influenced by the environment. He influences the environment, to change it for the better or for worse. Each individual carries the potential to change the environment in his own surrounding, whether for good or bad intentions.
Strong characters are those, not influenced by others in following a particular trend, whether good or bad. It is common knowledge that in schools, teachers contend with unacceptable student characters. Sadly, such characters are the ones with a negative influence over other students, causing the entire school to be disdainfully regarded.
The common method of dealing with such delinquent children is punishment. The only shortcoming with such a mode of disciplining children is that it does not address the mental faculty of those concerned. Goodness is not a product of punishment, although the child may abide by the school rules, in fear of punishment. Under those circumstances, the child takes comfort in pursuing the wayward behavior. Teachers cannot always be available to monitor school children in their private enclosures.
The bad characters, known to oppose the authoritarian teachers, become heroes to most of the naïve school children. This is the answer to how misdemeanors infiltrate the school system. The delinquent heroes become heroes because of their opposition to the authoritarian school system. This opposes true heroism, shaping the eventual betterment of the school system and future generations.
Punishment is loathed by anyone, operating under normal conditions. There is often a demarcation between teachers and schoolchildren, as a result of corporal punishment. Teachers seem to uniformly bear the false datum that children become good because of punishment. Instead of appreciating that, instinctively, children are basically good, due to their having been created in God’s image.
This world, in its unacceptable condition, is a product of the authoritarian school system, assuming that punishment is effective in positively molding children. The task of correcting such school authorities appears unachievable. This is because the educational authorities are, themselves, the product of such an evil system. Those authorities do not seem to have the capacity to take stock in determining whether some valuable final product is manifesting or not.
In our forty-year independence in Zimbabwe, virtually, most children had an opportunity to access education. But where is the tangible result of such an education? A child born in 1980 is now over forty years of age. I remember, immediately after independence, most parents endeavoring to send their children to well-resourced, formerly exclusive A-Schools. These had been reserved for the whites. The poignant question is: Where are those superiorly educated children, as Zimbabwe burns?
Currently, we are governed by those at the age of retirement. Whose fault can that be, when those having accessed education cannot take the responsibility to address problems in their own country? Most of those young people take pride in providing manpower to the already developed countries of the world. They have lost hope in their own country, as allowing the senior citizens to remain in authority, well past their retirement ages.
Blame ought to be rigidly directed at the school system, which assumes that good graduates are a result of punishment. Hence, it is considered overwhelming for the forty-year-old men and women to question the over seventy-year-old people on matters of governance. The negative effect of the authoritarian school system is produced by fear.
While commendable that we have the Chamisas of our time, most of those forty-year-olds cannot challenge the tyrannical dictatorship. They would rather be abused by the whites in countries like Australia, Canada, the USA, and other foreign lands than confront their situation in Zimbabwe. The countries to which they prefer submitting to, for manpower resources are considered rich, because of corruptly acquiring wealth from corrupt countries like Zimbabwe.
The mineral resources of Zimbabwe are considered more valuable than ordinary people, in the same country. This is the false datum that needs addressing, as a matter of urgency. The mineral resources of any country cannot be more important than the inhabitants of a country. Nothing discouraged me more, in this country than hearing about the Chiyadzwa people being relocated, without compensation, for purposes of mining, by the Chinese people.
Some of them were, actually, reported to have been killed in the confusion of scramble for diamonds. Those diamonds were considered more valuable than the locals. How more insane can one be, to put value in inanimate objects than in human beings? The only person to blame at that time was Robert Mugabe. But under whose authority was Mugabe in power? It was, actually, those considered valueless people who had voted for Robert Mugabe in their large numbers.
This is notwithstanding that from those diamond-rich territories were considered bright children, having gone to look for employment in Western countries. The information they lack, even today, is that those so-called rich countries are rich because of the looted diamonds from African countries. But who is to blame? Mugabe is still blamed, even long after having since died.
The same Chiyadzwa youths are being used as foot soldiers to support Mnangagwa’s corrupt system, whose intentions of stealing are brazen. Some of them still call themselves “youths,” even at age forty. The term G40 is, actually, stigmatized in Zanu PF, to intimidate youths, so as to never consider themselves valuable, at age forty. All this is a product of a punishment-driven school system, whipping most of the naïve young populace into line.
Discouraging, as all this may be, there is some flicking light of hope, at the end of the tunnel. This comes from the apparent few courageous young people, willing to confront an evil system. Otherwise, opposing a wicked system appears too overwhelming for the cowards, fearing punishment. But the few courageous ones can be trusted to carry the hope of the future.
Over the years there have been some courageous young people who seem to have since lost hope, as to be silenced. The price of being good is too expensive for most people. Like the people of Chiyadzwa, most people consider themselves as lower in value than the diamonds on their own territory. Ordinary people cannot be less important than the considered mineral resources of a country.
This, in no way, means advocating for fighting a war, to reclaim dignity. The idea of engaging in fighting against an evil system is a false datum. The current condition, comprising the so-called war heroes of our country is a true testimony of how false that datum is. Wisdom starts by appreciating that the authoritarian school system is as evil as the current manifestation in our country shows it.
The starting point is for teachers to appreciate that children reflect that which was created in God’s image. Teachers need to listen to those children more than teachers should be listened to, by the same children. The only reason for children to behave delinquently is their not being given chance to be listened to. The authoritarian system does not encourage those children to speak. Instead, it encourages them to listen more than they should talk—assuming they know better.
Even the parental system, also carries this authoritarian curse. Parents rarely listen to their children. I have often contended with elderly people, living in the cocoon of assuming that the older generation is wiser than the present generation. The wisdom often shown on display is of the Kembo Mohadi demigods, dabbling with married women, at the expense of the governing responsibilities.
Of course, it takes only the uneducated youths, who still assume that such elders display wisdom in their behavior. Unashamedly, they call themselves the revolutionary youths, defending the gains of independence, when defending such stupidity. Young people need to be given time to talk and display their reasoning capacity. Failure which, there is need for a clarion call for the tenacious youths to come forward and challenge this malevolent governing system.
Such young people need to ignore the effects of punishment, as long as doing the right thing. True heroes do not need sympathy from anyone. They enjoy doing the right thing, even under the most difficult circumstances. They are willing to lose their lives fighting for the right cause. Nevertheless, such youths will always endeavor to mold themselves to become champions and heroes of tomorrow.
This world is meaningful, only when living to do something worthwhile for one’s own countrymen. It is simply a question of what one does for other people, rather than what other people do for one. This is what all the known true luminaries are made of. Currently, Zimbabwe needs more of such young people than ever before. This is different from those choosing to make European countries places of domicile, yet having a country of origin, as beautiful as Zimbabwe.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99