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Individuals don't live to be a hundred years old; tribes do.

09 Oct 2018 at 19:50hrs | Views
In Mhandambabwe, Chivi area, the community is paramount. I drive my perspective from the community, not from me to the community; that to me is a western culture. Tribal survival and prosperity are always the paramount prerogatives of my clan leaders and chiefs. I always try to cooperate with the group since I find it had to survive on their own. This imperative also defines my other social values: conformity, compassion, respect, human dignity, humanistic orientation, and collective unity. In addition, I believe in mudzimu—the providers of my moral code, the original founders of the community and settlement. I owe my existence to my ancestors and therefore owes them a duty to carry out their commands and uphold their name and dignity. Although they are dead physically, they are spiritually ever present, influencing the course of my daily life and mediating between the earthly and the supernatural.

What I have come to realize however, is the community does not preclude my individual responsibility. My community would not survive if I or my tribesmen were lazy men. We frown upon laziness. Our community expects an able-bodied person to have an occupation (hunting, fishing, farming, craftsmanship, etc.) to support their families. "You reap what you sow," "Life is as you make it," "He who does not cultivate his field will die of hunger" are some common proverbs in our society.

We take care of each other but still understand that we are responsible for ourselves. The African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" does not absolve anyone of parental irresponsibility. We are happy to see our kinsmen owning wealth and property that can be accumulated in social or physical forms: cattle, tradable goods, buildings, canoes, hunting gear, clothes, guns, trinkets, and so on. Prestige, status, honor, and influence are all attached to wealth in indigenous systems. The wealthy are "important people" with influence in social and governmental affairs.

We recognize and respect inequities in wealth distribution since not all members of the lineage are engaged in the same occupation. Since each occupation offers different fortunes and opportunities, differences in wealth are bound to occur. What I love most about my society is we always help each other. My father gave me 10 cows when I became a man and am now proud of my wealthy and ready to help my children who might wish to undertake highly risky economic ventures - times are changing. If my children fail, I will always be there to catch their fall. If they succeed and becomes wealthy, they will bring me pride not just to myself but to my clan as well. The wealth they accumulate is private property, not communal property but will make everyone proud and happy. The rich are expected to help their less-fortunate brethren or kinsmen.

Further, the pursuit of wealth—just like individual freedom—must be conducted within certain boundaries that are set either by social norms. It is wrong for an individual to pursue wealth at the expense of his kinsmen or in a way that results in injury to his kinsmen. My culture forbids stealing and the charging of interest. If only chiefs would be true to themselves! Peasants pool their resources together, cooperate, and help one another. This may be referred to as "communalism" but it is not the same as "communism." One can be communalistic or socialistic without being a socialist. Being social implies a desire to interact with others. Socialism, however, is an economic ideology that entails, among other things, state direction of economic activity.

Peasants go about their economic activities on their own free will, not at the behest of their tribal government. Communism involves state ownership of the means of production, and, hence, all goods and services produced. But in peasant societies the means of production are owned by the clan, the lineage, which acts as a corporate body or unit. However, the clan is not the same as the tribal government; it is a private entity and, therefore, the means of production are privately owned.

What boggles my mind is why Zimbabweans living in the cities quickly forget communalism? It pains me to see these stage-managed shortages of what what what drama. MaZimbabweans, musatinyangadza. If you have failed in your risk economic ventures, come back to the roots; we are still here and enjoying life. I told you never to queue for anything and some of you thought I was a joking. Anywhere in the world, if drivers want to fill up their tanks at the same time, there will be petrol queues and shortages. To prove to you that this is stage-managed, I have never seen anyone spending the night at the pump waiting for petrol or diesel. If these drivers where actually intending to fill their tanks and the fuel ran out, how did they get back home?

Last, can you imagine, the pharmacies saying they are only accepting US$. Just think about it—communalism. When local shops in Mhandamabwe charge too much for medication, we pool our resources together and go to town to buy enough for those in need. We band together, no headman, no chief organizes us to do something good for ourselves—we do. So why is it that the townspeople, boyz dzepatonas with all their money, education, and status not come together and go order the vital medication from South Africa using even a weaker rand?

And now varume vakuru, vakachena kwese kwese are asked to go on the streets to demonstrate by some fat and confused dude who will not even be near the demonstrations themselves. What exactly have you as an individual done to get out of your situation? What do you hope to achieve by toy-toying the streets of Harare? Look, we heard many Americans were very upset when Trump ascended to the thrones of the Presidency but we also now hear that America is enjoying the best unemployment rates in its history. This is not by mistake, Americans realized very fast that they are stuck with Trump for at least four years. What the Americans never want to do is to waste four years of their lives therefore they went back to their families, jobs, and do what they know how to do best--work for America to be prosperous.

We in Zimbabwe are stuck with Mnangagwa for 5 years and some confused individuals are determined to fight him at every corner. Are we ready to lose five years of our lives and expect to come out tops? What exactly has gone wrong with our people? I am ashamed of our youngsters, when we were young, we liberated this country from colonialism. We could not have done it with the caliber of youths I see today. A country's business is every citizen's business. Muhondo taiziva kuti iwe neni tine basa!


Source - Sam Wezhira
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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