When so much of our media and entertainment must pass the sanitisation filters of the state, surely we are just jesting; using our privileges as globally connected citizens to mock each other and ourselves freely. We have mastered the art of using our phones to generate and record content, succeeded in deciphering the intricacies of uploading that content to the internet, and taught ourselves the necessary steps to share this content by means of social media.
Can it be that attempts to undermine such ingenuity are akin to criticising the late Safiro Madzikatire’s Mukadota as mediocre and insulting – who would do such a thing? As a divided nation let us not lose our sense of humour as it has served us well and continues to give us comfort – whether times are good or times are tough.
However, as the vocal criticism suggests and as is so often the case, there is possibly some truth to the view that a rivalry between the diaspora and home population exists, focusing on the perceived losses and gains of residing in either community.
It would not hurt to reflect on how art reflects life and vice versa. What Mukadota so cheerily caricatured about love, society and domesticity, zvirikufaya satirises about our personal aspirations. Perhaps we need not look further than here, zvinho zvirikufaya. This is the seemingly light-hearted evidence that shows us where we lost our way, where we lost our moral compass.
We have all been re-educated in the curriculum of money. How are we any different from those we oppose? They purchase allegiance with land, contracts, money and food. Those we hoped would oppose the corruption accepted their 30 pieces of silver – showing what the controllers of our political system have known for a very long time: everyone has a price.
Some will sell their principles for a shiny new car while others for the promise of power alone. This reveals that before we can begin to change the nature of our present state we will need to reflect deeply on the nature of our actions and desires for the future of our country.
This willingness to revel in one-upmanship and to further our personal positions suggests that within every person of principle who claims to support the dream of democracy is a person who is merely waiting until it is his time to eat. Do not be mistaken: we are entitled to enjoy the fruits of our labours; but do we need to gloat?
Soliciting envy, approval and praise for our ability to purchase possessions, feeding the very aspirations that have corrupted many an admirable intention. If you have really made it because you can afford to buy an expensive car or iPads for your children regardless of whether you live in country or abroad we offer you congratulations. Is that not what you want, recognition for your achievements?
Those less fortunate than you will tonight think of how the cards are stacked against them. They will dream of working hard but some will never find jobs or will make only enough to barely feed and clothe their offspring. At the end of this day, the bigger picture shows us that the red star, the socialist foundation of Zimbabwe centrally positioned in our country’s flag, is no longer simply symbolic but a nostalgic reminder of our forefathers’ good intentions.
Like hopeful parents we as a nation made promises – to do everything in our power to secure the future of our first-born new child.
Fast forward 34 years later and we are now the parents who have remained in an unhappy marriage, bitter and acrimoniously squabbling over the terms of a divorce that is unlikely ever to be finalised. We battle over the terms of payment, the size and sources of our incomes, and ultimately the child.
Look at what we have done to the child we once promised to love and nurture: Zimbabwe. Our nation was founded on the premise that as a united nation, people of all creeds and colours would, in the hard won and justified freedom to self-govern, work together to build a great nation. Our national motto is “Unity, Freedom, Work”, but anyone from the outside looking in will be forgiven for thinking it is in fact “Money, Power, Respect”.