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Other factors sustaining the 'regime-change' agenda

11 Jun 2017 at 09:59hrs | Views
On 01 June, 2017 Bulawayo welcomed the launch of the Blues Café, a new creativity nest ideally founded to contain the creative capacity the City of Bulawayo.

The launch of this arts hub is a welcome development largely because the city's arts and culture sector has remained unstructured for far too long.

However, there are spasms of hesitancy around the launch of the Blues Café because its operations are externally funded. This poses one crucial question on whose interests are served by the Blues Café?

An attempt to address this question was made in this week's series of The Patriot newspaper in an article titled, Nhimbe Trust: Let's call a spade a spade.

The article raises crucial highlights on how much the creative sector of Bulawayo is now plunged into a serious regime change makeover following the establishment of the Blues Café.

The article also indicates that the establishment of the Blues Café is in tandem with neo-colonial milestone which aims to topple the ruling party.

Nonetheless, those behind the Blues Café initiative have dismissed such notion, maintaining they are only providing a platform for the arts. This is because a similar project was once initiated in Harare under the banner of the Book Café until its final collapse as a result of donor funding challenges.

And most donors who have infiltrated the arts sector have been of course anti-establishment.

Thereafter, Bulawayo became the next target of this similar project of what many believe is exploiting the arts sector for regime change interests, hence the transfiguration of the Book Café to Blues Café. At the surface, this makes some sense because of the City of Kings' traceable role as a capital if not a tapestry of creativity. This largely owes to what Enocent Musindo attributes to the role of Bulawayo as a mosaic of Zimbabwean culture because of the different individuals of different ethnic groups one finds in Bulawayo.

This view is worth some considerate attention as it reveals the extent to which the intellect of the City of Bulawayo is also embodied in arts and culture. Of course this is the city which has also produced many literary greats such as Yvonne Vera, Pathisa Nyathi, the Mhlanga creative brothers — Styx and Cont, Ndabezinhle Sigogo, Mthandazo Ndema Ngwenya, Sibongile Mnkandla, Ericah Gwetai, Barbara Nkala and many other old time stalwarts of the writing craft. The same city has also produced another unique set of writers who are occasionally alleged of being proponents the regime change agenda.

It is Bulawayo's rich creative intellectual ground space which also produced some writers whom in the Dambudzo Marechera's school of thought belong to a unique fraternity of the "lost generation". These include my good friend Philani Nyoni —an ardent subscriber to the Western style of poetry writing and yet a very seasoned "African" poet.

In a superficial Marechera parody Nyoni is one writer who situates his writing in no place of cultural abode. He occasionally dubs his chameleon poetic writing as cultureless and in the moments of his excesses and the many erroneous slips of his verbosity Nyoni portrays himself as an epistemic destitute.

Nonetheless, contrary to this character, there is one Tswarelo Mothobe, an occasional African fundamentalist with a consistent lament on systems and interferences of Whiteness and their constant nefarious propensity to erase the intellectual fortitudes of Blackness and its ontological density. Not only is Mothobe a writer of poetry, but he is a writer of songs and plays.

Besides it all, Mothobe is one person who ushered me into finding that lost acrylic shade of Black consciousness to that final point when I decided to take the yoke of pan-Africanist advocacy.

To that effect, he took it upon himself to do the cover design of my first academic publication on pan-Africanism. To this day, we are still in the same radar of Black intellectual consciousness — because in my other life I am a poet like him.

However, this does not entail that Tswarelo and I have no contradictions, but I believe we have protagonist contradictions. Our contradictions are not antagonistic, the same applies with my other literary home-boys like Mgcini Nyoni, Raisedon Baya and Philani Nyoni just to mention a few.

Of note is that our passion for the continent's development is the same and so are our aspirations for the development of Zimbabwe. This further entails that as budding makers of a memory of the present our writing is informed by those aspirations of national progress.

The memory we are making through our different sources of inspiration will one day form a narrative of the future on the present. In that collective effort to write the nation and find the nation through writing we find ourselves situated in ideological paradigms of difference which must be reconciled in favour of national unity.

This is because our post-independence political culture has not been underpinned on defined ideological basis. For far too long we have been staggering along West and East leanings. Besides, we are not a nation which believes in investing in ideas and nurturing them in defence of patriotic interests.

This is the reason why our convergence on the national question is dismembered by external interference. This is because we have failed to establish local voyages of knowledge making. In the process, our creatives have no viable spaces of expressing their loyalty to the republic. This explains the current state of our ideological crisis underpinned in the "lost-generation" factor.

This is because our thinking is not informed by the enduring values of the republic. As a result, the available seemingly democratic spaces of articulation are snares of trapping our brilliant minds to the coloniality of power.

This is the reason why the refill of the pen capturing the story of Zimbabwe is inked by the West. Then we expect the same pen to be a medium of nationalist social cohesion process?

This tragedy is not unique to Zimbabwe, but the truth of the matter is that arts and culture hubs in Africa are not sustained by a pedagogy which draws its inspiration from the African ideological value system.

This is the major reason why the so-called "regime-change" mantra is enduring and is progressively stifling the growth of a pure African identity representation in our arts and culture spheres and writing in particular.

This crisis invites critical considerations as policy-making level for African stories to be financed by Africa governments. It is also sad that even at continental level the cultural portfolio of the Africa Union is funded by the West.

This means that genuine African intellectual perspectives have no place in the Africa Union. At national level, the same African cultural advocacy is funded by Western countries through foreign affairs departments and cultural development philanthropist units.

This means that before we apply the usual protestant and seemingly pro-African rhetoric on regime-change agents we need to make enquiry checks on national and continental investment on promoting local ideas and preservation of those ideas.

There is no way we can continue to lament regime-change initiatives when we are not effecting any regime sustaining ideas.

Above it all, in the market of ideas the best idea will gain its rightful traction. In this case, it is clear that the true values of true pan-Africanism will endure the sabotage of all externally induced plots to undermine the nationalist trajectory.

However, this does not mean that the nationalist movement must be immune of the responsibility of manufacturing consent which is within the confines of genuinely promoting and preserving national culture and heritage.

As a result, there is need for more policy commitments to nation-building which is informed by Zimbabwean ideas and not borrowed ideas.

Richard Runyararo Mahomva is an independent academic researcher, founder of Leaders for Africa Network — LAN. convener of the Back to Pan-Africanism Conference and the Reading Pan-Africa Symposium (REPS) and can be contacted on

Source - zimpapers
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