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Rise and shine Zimbabwe

05 May 2020 at 08:18hrs | Views
After attending a burial of my sister in February, in Plumtree, it was only normal that we would gather, lighten the moment a little bit and catch up as close family and extended family alike. It was not long before we plunged into habitual themes of how our children were doing in school and sport.

"That's good investment brother. Three children is very good investment"
Before I had fully processed and figured out what my sister actually meant, I am sure she should have seen the expression on my face and decided to elaborate further.

"One could be the one to find the real cure for cancer, one could be the next one to launch a rocket from Zimbabwe and one could probably be the next president. You're investing for your country."

We all laughed at this prospect with scorn and less faith, not because I don't believe in my children's absolute potential but simply because I don't believe the current system is designed to nurture and extract maximum potential out of our children. Or rather, it has not become attractive to compel them into thinking of it as worthy of their academic or professional contribution. The Zimbabwean education system, adopted as an identical twin to colonial Britain's, is crafted within perimeters of discipline and obedience; becoming a good worker and getting a good job. So, have we managed to put an effective, efficient platform in place for our children? The answer is debatable, depending on the side of argument you want to be.

But here is a simple example; An engineer graduate from NUST will dream of working for Sasol South Africa, Al Futtaim Engineering in the UAE or GLK Group in London, all things being equal. An accountant graduate from UZ will aspire to work for a top firm in the skyscrapers of New York, Grass & Co, maybe? Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The world is an oyster and the sky can only be the one restraining us. But, let's not get them hooked on these overseas architectural and professional escapades simply because we have failed to provide fertile domestic turf for them to nourish. Zimbabwe, alleviate the uncertainty, low pay, horrible working conditions and create a rewarding and trustworthy workplace infrastructure. Make the pastures greener within. Zimbabwe, don't be like a lazy, able bodied father who ignores the plight of his children until they're fed next door and then begrudgingly fights the neighbour for belittling and demeaning his manhood.

I remember having failed to acquire pertinent A level points that would open doors to challenging and prestigious university degrees, I was offered POLAD ( political administration). I still remember vehemently denying the offer and going for an apprentice course instead. Again, there was nothing wrong with POLAD but I didn't want to do politics. We were encouraged to be outward looking and dream big. I still remember my A level teacher telling me, "Leave politics alone, you're an economist!" But with this current setup in Zimbabwe, it looks like if you're not into politics, or at least have some political affiliation, you're like a non existent rebel who is not law abiding. I think Zimbabwe can do better than that. Let's produce great thinkers, let's innovate, research and encourage our populace to dream, while providing them with the quilt for warmth during the incubation of their dreams. Let me give you an example if you're not satisfied;

Not so recently, the late MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was pelted with derogatory insults and told that he couldn't lead the nation because he was a "tea boy". Saviour Kasukuwere was embarrassed for his quest to emulate the American Dream in Zimbabwe. He was reminded, " This is Zimbabwe, not America where there are the Obamas ". During presidential campaigns, MDC's Nelson Chamisa was laughed at for suggesting that he will bring spaghetti motorways to Zimbabwe if elected. My question is; Is it wrong to dream big in Zimbabwe, especially in good will? Is there a ceiling put to everyone's dreams in Zimbabwe, be it political or otherwise? Is this a good example to the thousands of graduates we produce at every other level, year in, year out? What does it mean to dream in modern Zimbabwe?

But in 2017, as if to defy all political theories, Gambia elected a former security guard, Adam Barrow as their president and in the same year, a former businessman and television personality was elected by the USA - Donald Trump. What these fore mentioned human beings have or will achieve in office is irrelevant in my subject matter today.What excites me is the prospect of fairness and equal opportunity awarded to each and every citizen to dream big. It is the same dream that gave Barak Obama the chance to occupy the world's highest office. It now makes sense that our children are investments. If Gambia can do it, Zimbabwe can do it.

It's time Zimbabwe invests in the younger generation and discard the theory that high office should be attained by the knowledge of dismantling and re-assembling an AK-47, how many colonial masters one captured, tortured and killed or how one was an intelligent war strategist. While we applaud and acknowledge their gigantic sacrifice and patriotism, that we will forever be indebted to and celebrate in infinity, it is time Zimbabwe ushers the abundant, progressive and intelligent young great minds that are languishing in unemployment so that they can shine for their ancestors and liberation heroes. It's time Zimbabwe lays the foundation and start enjoying the investment it made. If the current trend continues, the dilemma in this conundrum will be a generation that has nothing to aspire to and that will continue to breed self-hate, resentment and promote diasporianism and a lost identity.( I don't know if there is a term called diasporianism but I guess you all know what I am trying to say)

As a nation, I know it's difficult to divorce ourselves from the hardships that are the result of the lottery of our birth but nothing beats trying harder. Nothing beats a dialogue with the right tone. For example, there are many countries that have had difficulty in their infancy. Imperial Japan brutalised South East Asia and China. Where is China now, as a global economy? In British ruled Hong Kong, the Chinese were treated the same way Rhodesia treated blacks. And we have Ethiopia, a country that doesn't share the same pain we and the likes of South Africa went through during colonial rule but still suffers from billions of external debt and more than 80% poverty as we speak. In all these examples I have given, there will be other factors for and against the overall performance of their economies but my point is; even faced with colonial injustices, we can always try , Zimbabwe can dream. Zimbabwe should not stop dreaming. Zimbabwe has to dream with, and for the young fresh brains that are well equipped to understand modern economic ideologies, stop sidestepping them and shoving them into the fringes and cliff edges of economic functionality.

As we speak, China, Russia and USA's next intellectual challenge is to go to Mars. What is Zimbabwe's next challenge? Of course I am not assuming Zimbabwe to leapfrog her immediate problems and join in the lucrative pursuits of exploring the multi million forms of life on earth but my question to Zimbabwe today is; Why can't Zimbabwe become a bread basket of Africa again? What is she doing to future proof herself and protect the investment she has, of young brainpower? When will she stop exporting the ever so valuable human investment? When will this sleeping giant rise again and give our children a new life and a new beginning?

Mandlenkosi Siziba is a social commentator )

Source - Mandlenkosi Siziba
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