Any civilization is adorned by its human capital. Yet, like cancer, self-centredness can only serve to destroy those desperately desiring its benefits. This could be the only reason why the principle of giving is adjudged as more beneficial than receiving (Acts 20:35).
There is only one reason why I welcome the crisis that Zimbabwe is in. We are at a stage where, as a nation, we have experienced what value is, as compared with what it is not. Most Zimbabweans may have now discovered that the value of a person is not in acquiring things for self. But what one gives to benefit others. The enlightened ones agree with me, in that a new Zimbabwe is beckoning.
After independence there was a stampede of black people relocating to the exclusive whites-only suburbs. It was fashionable to renounce properties in high-density, towards low-density white suburban areas. As far as most people were concerned, such activities revealed the taste of attainment of independence. It was as if the liberation struggle had been driven by desire to attain the comfort, perceived as being enjoyed by the white people?
The lifestyle of the white people had been envied by the blacks, yet it had been that kind of exclusive lifestyle that caused the initiation of the armed struggle. Did our liberation war heroes go to war so that they could take up comfortable positions of the white settlers and behave like them?
The majority of those remaining in high-density areas could only envy those managing to make it to the low-density areas. This reflected the birth of abdication of responsibilities. Life is not about what you get, to gratify the self, but what you give to others. An apple tree produces fruits, not for its own consumption, but for the fruit-eaters. That is what sustains the value of an apple tree.
Acquiring a twenty-two bed-roomed house in some low-density area may bring good-feelings. But it is as worthless as valuing a tree-less mountain, as long as one’s poor relatives cannot afford even to pay for bus-fare to come and appreciate the comfort that one would imaginably be enjoying. Generally, this cozy lifestyle, adopted from the white settlers, served to slacken the knit relationship code that had bound the black populace.
My prayer is that Zimbabweans would soon discard the idea of lampooning our ninety-plus-year-old president as having been responsible for reducing this country to its current condition. The self-centered culture was manifest among Zimbabweans at independence in 1980. What prevailed that year was only an out-come of the ecstasy exuded, without appreciating the tenets of responsibility.
To most Zimbabweans, independence meant being reduced to selfishness. It became fashionable to embrace selfishness as displayed by our white colonizers. To make matters worse, sending one’s child to expensive private schools was viewed as elite and therefore clever. However, this was exposing one’s child to the stupidity of exclusive selfish behavior.
Initially, we saw the development of what was to be called nose-brigades. This was projecting the behavior of our black children, trying to imitate how the white children spoke, so as to sound elitist? In reality, there cannot be any better word to describe the stupidity associated with that kind of behavior.
Imagine how much was spent on private schools by the so-called elite parents? How many Zimbabweans benefited from monies spent on those elite private schools? I suppose those schools produced elite children? But where are those elite children, as Zimbabwe burns?
The Year 2018 is around the corner. Many people are focusing on the transformation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Election rigging is viewed as having been responsible for our problems. Others are salivating that Robert Mugabe, viewed as the shrewdest strategist in election rigging, the world over, is ageing and may not be effective, come election time.
However, ZANU PF may be focusing on sharpening the rigging skills, if the claims by the opposition have any merit. But, I have a different view.
The whole nation would be sold to a dummy, if supposing that our problems emanate from the rigging machinery of ZANU PF. The national introspection is what is urgently needed, before the transformation of our cultural values. Our problems have got nothing to do with President Mugabe’s ZANU PF, Morgan Tsvangirayi ‘s MDC, or any other opposition politician. These are only a reflection of the reality, emanating from the self-centred culture that grips the general populace.
A careful analysis reveals that the economic deterioration of this country comes from the general behavior of the Zimbabwean populace, since 1980. Obsessed with questions like: “What is there for me?”, there is no way Zimbabwe can be extricated from its current unpleasant economic conditions.
When what you get is not what you wanted, then what you get is experience. I suppose most Zimbabweans have learnt their lessons from the effects of ‘hondo ye minda’, 2008 money ‘burnings’, election riggings, etc. These led to the effects of what we are currently experiencing. However, my own analysis is that it is unfair, or unreasonable to apportion blame when we were in it together.
As Zimbabweans, whether white or black, in the Diaspora or local, the only avowal to ring in our educated minds should be: “The responsibility to restore sanity is in our hands, not foreigners.”
There is a lot of talk about investments from outside, whether from China or Western Europe. I hear those voices. But looked at carefully; those nations can never bring effective solutions. There are also those claiming that our country has potential, because of its mineral and agricultural resources. And all that is needed is proper management. I partly agree and partly disagree with that.
The most important resource in our country is human capital, with or without money. What is required is the change of mindset. Let us realize that the things that we have all along considered to be of value, since 1980 are, but rubbish. To some people this may be a call for reverting to high-density suburbs, or communal lands, regardless of the so-called high status attained. Rebuilding entails pulling up sleeves in order to effectively handle the mud, associated with rebuilding.
What makes me proud of Zimbabwe is the absence of war, in a country that has been economically ravaged to insignificance. Our human value is beyond measure, as long as we could recover from our previous follies. Forget about gold. Forget about diamonds. Forget about all those material things. They are, but a bonus. We have the potential to rise up and become the greatest civilization the world has ever known. God is on our side.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99