As bad as colonialism is considered to have been; the blacks were also bereft of responsibility. They didn’t understand the principle of cause and effect. Except for being white, what was the other sin by colonial masters? Exercising power was also common among blacks, themselves. The uncivilized people, whether white or black, assume power through military prowess.
It is grand dishonesty, to apportion blame to white colonialists. Blacks were not the only victims of colonialism or imperialism. America was also under British colonialism but later rose to become great in the entire world. Rather than blame colonialism for the African condition, let us also consider the possible benefits of colonialism. The white people contributed to some form of civilization.
Of course, racism is not civilization, but being able to read and write advances civilization. Africans should not be ashamed to admit that education was not their priority. The typical Ndebele man, for instance, valued three things; commonly sustaining their adorable culture, comprising women, cattle and beer.
Agricultural farming was necessary only for producing corn for food and traditional beer. The status symbol of a man was having many wives, helping in agricultural farming and a big kraal of cattle and goats. Happiness was limited to that condition, where traditional beer was idolized, as also linked with the ancestral religion.
Adventurism was in becoming a warrior, developing skills and dexterity in the usage of assegai in order to win wars. Humanity has been identified as conducting the survival of the fittest mode, from time immemorial. There is no nation on earth that has not gone through that phase of stupidity. The skill of fighting enabled a nation to get the best women, increase its population and create a great army.
As primitive as that kind of life can be imagined to have been, it characterized the normal standard of living. There are some people who accuse the whites of having brought the Bible. Any person with such an aberration ought to be excused, as depicting the nature of humanity. What can you expect from a person who does not understand the principle of being the cause, in his/her environment?
That person can condemn even the best food brought to him; when suspecting evil intentions. This is how best opportunities get rejected. Rather than loathe the whites, what if the Ndebeles had considered Lotshe Hlabangani’s suggestion? Lotshe was killed for having suggested engaging the whites, in communication, rather than treating them out-rightly as enemies.
Lotshe was labelled a traitor by his comrades, who killed him. Only after having been vanquished in a war in which the Ndebeles were weaponry disadvantaged, did they realise that Lotshe was right, after all. Wisdom is not found in emotion, but it is found in engaging in communication with one’s adversary.
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace” (Luke 14:31-32 NIV).
The Ndebele fighters were butchered in that war. Lotshe’s suggestion had been to consider fighting those whites, only after having developed skills in using modern weapons. That is more to do with common sense. But, unfortunately, common sense does not appeal to emotional characters. They killed Lotshe for suggesting such a noble idea.
The same mentality continues to dog Africans, today. This is why President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia is loathed, rather than praised for creating workable policies for the Zambian people. The foolishness is manifested in suggesting that the destructive trajectory by ZANU PF is the best for Africans. It can be quite impossible to reason with people who hold onto that mentality.
There is truth in that the colonialists invaded Africa for exploitation purposes. But there is also some truth in that the colonialists’ intentions were to advance civilization in Africa. The Bible, although possibly manipulated, was the greatest vehicle in advancing civilization. Only fools cannot see anything good in the Bible.
There are two things a person can do to attend to a mound of rubble, being a mixture of dirt and gold. A person can focus on the dirt, thereby, suggesting its disposal, but without noticing the existing gold in it. That can be described as a sign of lacking wisdom. However, another person can ignore the dirt contained in rubble and concentrate on the gold. That is wisdom.
Putting a blanket condemnation of the evils of colonialism, without considering the good things about colonialism, affects people with reactive minds. Such people may have caused ZANU PF to deteriorate into a state of destructive mode. Nothing good can be found in the thinking pattern of those people, except to normalize the abnormal.
The hatred of the white people is mistaken for heroism in revolutionary activities. However, there is nothing different between white people and black people, except the skin colour. The colour of the skin and its texture are insignificant, as both lose value at the point of death.
What needs to be considered valuable is the dignity of humanity, which is enhanced by education. An individual can be educated or uneducated, regardless of the person’s skin colour or racial background. However, it is also necessary to appreciate the need to remove some aberrations with education.
A person can attain a doctorate in some field of education and yet remain uneducated. When confronting the Pharisees, Jesus expressed this truism, generally affecting proud people, assuming being wiser than others. A truly educated person is characterized by humility and willingness to learn, at all times.
Jesus said, “For judgment, I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:39-41 NIV).
Recently, social media was abuzz with people debating on whether life was better during Smith’s time, as compared to the ZANU PF government. That is a silly debate, coming from people who assume being the effect, in their circumstances. Those debating such nonsense are like rattling stones, affected by the environment. Nothing good can come from such people.
If the wind goes to the South, they also go South. If the wind goes to the North, they also go to the North. If the wind takes them where they feel uncomfortable, this is how they engage in debates, comparing previous and current leaders. Those people could not control things in the past, and cannot control present developments. They cannot control what is ahead.
They mourn when a bad government is in power. But they also become apprehensive of the future government. They, accordingly, hold on to the proverbial datum that the devil you know is better than the unknown devil. That is what describes characters taking comfort in being the effect, rather than being the cause of what goes on.
Anything that goes wrong is always the fault of somebody else, and they consider themselves victims. Annually, Zimbabweans throng the National Stadium, to celebrate the day of attaining independence. But most of those people appear unaware of the meaning of independence.
Those are people currently lamenting the effects of bad governance. Hence, you have such funny debates like Ian Smith was better than ED, etc. It is probably true that, even though claiming to have been oppressed by Smith, those people were free. Was Smith really that unapproachable?
Like any reasonable governing authority, Ian Smith could not have allowed lawlessness in the country. There is a statement attributed to Ian Smith, often taken out of context: “I envisage no black majority rule in this country; not in a thousand years!” That statement unnecessarily raises a lot of emotions.
We have now gone close to half a century, being governed by ZANU PF. The candid question that needs a candid answer is; “Have we been under a black majority rule?” ZANU PF may retain power, in the next elections, but that does not mean the black majority would be in power.
In the last forty-two years, Zimbabwe has not been under a black majority rule. After independence, in the early1980s, the whites were calling the shots. Blacks were enjoying the propaganda jingles, while the Gukurahundi was massacring those from Matabeleland and Midlands.
Others may interpret that as having manifested a black majority rule. Not at all. The whites were in charge. That is why Margret Thatcher’s government never felt agonized by the Gukurahundi. During that time, white farmers were enriched, more than at any other time in the history of this country.
Robert Mugabe was, actually, awarded the knighthood by the Queen of England, for governing according to the white man’s will. This was during the time when the blatant genocide was being carried out in Matabeleland and Midlands. Call that Black majority rule? The answer can never be affirmative. The dreaded whites were calling the shots, using Mugabe.
The white rulers could have continued in that trajectory until the problem of corruption arose. Robert Mugabe was not qualified to handle corruption because he was corrupt. While desiring to please his masters, he also desired to please friends, having facilitated his corrupt ascendance to power. The country’s economy began to slide southwards, uncontrollably.
Inflation became difficult to contain. The first targets from flagrant inflation became ordinary workers. The weakened currency implies a weakening of the buying power, affecting ordinary workers. Workers could no longer afford to send their children to school or buy properties. This is how the labour-based movement by Morgan Tsvangirai got established.
The whites had been calling the shots. But, out of naivety, those whites joined hands with Morgan Tsvangirai. They ought to have known which side their bread was buttered. Mugabe’s rule had enabled whites to remain in control of issues that mattered most, for their comfort.
Under normal conditions, there was nothing wrong with whites supporting opposition politics. But the whites had been in power, as long as their man, Robert Mugabe, was in power. This is why it is said that a wild cat is more dangerous when caught in a corner. The propaganda machinery was evoked, pronouncing whites as scapegoats, after the formation of the MDC.
Just like what is currently happening with Putin, the destructive mode was adopted and labelled “Third Chimurenga.” History carries fuller details of what happened, after that. In the previous twenty years, wise people had all along noticed there had not been any black majority rule, anyway.
Lawlessness became the order of the day, but confirming the impossibility of the black majority rule, was validated by Smith. Things worsened, for the ordinary people, in Zimbabwe. Hence, thousands, if not millions, found themselves having to cross borders to find work in the Diaspora.
Fast forward to the current situation; where we now have unhandled disputed election results. Obviously, that cannot be said to be descriptive of the black majority rule. We are still counting towards the one thousand years; according to Ian Smith’s prophesy.
Hence, the innuendos suggesting that the whites were better than black rulers are increasing in volume. However, it is not the skin colour that is exciting. It is about human dignity, which in our vernacular languages is called “Ubuntu” or “Hunu.” That condition is not instigated by the skin colour of a person. It suggests responsibility.
Indeed, the idea of either being black or white majority does not concern dignified people. Integrity carries the day. Those in the leadership would come and go. Their racial or tribal identity is not what concerns responsible people. The person in power becomes the people’s servant, rather than the ruler.
For instance, what could be wrong with electing a white person to be president, if elected democratically? In my view, that can only disturb those with a psychopathic viewpoint. There is no substitute for responsibility. If a white person would be elected democratically, what could be the problem?
The bottom line is the inability to know that the manifestation of anything in the environment is caused by responsibility or irresponsibility. There is nothing that happens without being caused, in this world.
Something can be corrected by anyone, concerning anything affecting humanity. Regardless of his background, each person ought to appreciate having been born to cause things to be what they are. A boulder, blocking the way, will remain until it is removed.
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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99