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'You have pinned my neck down. I can't breathe!': The spine-chilling cry of Matabeleland

10 Jun 2020 at 08:00hrs | Views
The sad narrative of underdevelopment in the generality of Matabeleland is a horrendous and unattractive delineation of the unceasing marginalisation of the region since the primitive and callous dethronement of King Lobhengula of the Ndebele Kingdom in 1893 by the invading British colonisers. Ever since, the Matabelelanders have known no peace and development. The tender arteries and veins of Matabeleland's lifeblood have been brutally blocked and her oxygen-providing nostrils maliciously closed by a generational predation of exploiters. Successive parasitic regimes have shamelessly cemented installations of leg-irons and head-chains around all aspects of the existence of Matabeleland, thereby hellishly  suffocating and choking our livelihoods. The spine-chilling and tragic "You have pinned my neck down! I can't breathe!" mournful wail of Matabeleland reverberates and echoes to the ends of all corners of the world and cannot be ignored. Fortunately, it cannot be overstated that it is the very Matabelelanders themselves who can gracefully save their own souls.

The lacerations and wounds on Matabeleland
The devilish onslaught on Matabeleland has left the region and its inhabitants socially, culturally, politically and economically dismembered and amputated and smarting from serious lacerations and wounds in terms of loss of dignity, human rights deprivations and a wounded self-worth. The holistic decay pungently smells through the forests, valleys, gulleys, ghost towns, potless and foodless kitchens of our existence. Ultimately, this colonisation and capture demands immediate and decisive arrest to ensure the unfettered advancement of the living conditions for the good of everyone.

Successive invading regimes
The poverty and deprivation that are prevalent in Matabeleland today are as the result of the malice and callousness of the successive invading regimes since 1893 when the British South Africa Company (BSAC) invaded the Ndebele Kingdom and usurped all available power. This illegally granted them mining, land and political rights while condemning the Matabelelanders to squalor, disenfrachisement, hunger and starvation in all spheres of life. This discrimination and wild exploitation culminated in the struggle for independence which was spearheaded by the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) from the early 1960s ending in 1980 when a combined but not united Matabeleland and Mashonaland gained independence from colonial Britain and consequently became "Zimbabwe". Unfortunately, this conjoinment diabolically manufactured its own, if not worse, version of invasions and deprivations of our self-determination as the Matabelelanders. Today the ordinary person in Matabeleland is a stranger and a filthy beggar in his or her home town while the new comers sit bare on the neck of the City of Kings. We have been systematically knocked off and choked to political, cultural and economic death and decay. The fellow black man and erstwhile neighbour during colonialism now bestrides our narrow borders of Matabeleland, and like a merciless and provocative dragon, selfishly inhales all the little available life-giving oxygen of our existence.  

Social, political and economic amputations
Matabeleland has also ceaselessly suffered serious destruction in the form of social, political and economic amputations leaving it in a shocking state of desolation and wilderness. Education, health care, employment and social welfare have collapsed. Institutions and infrastructure are severely eroded and gorged. The region is deeply vulnerable and dying a slow painful death. Most of the political space, especially in towns and cities, has sadly been devoured by some tribal slate in a certain political party in what can be viewed as the commodification of Matabeleland politics. This has negatively resulted in outsiders running rings in the narrow and shrunken political space of Matabeleland, specifically Bulawayo. Painfully, the unjust and shameless pocketing of political power by the tourists has inevitably resulted in the gruesome social, political and economic imputation and dismembering of Matabeleland which needs to be attended to with the urgency it deserves.

Perennial marginalisation
The people of Matabeleland are perennially being treated as insignificant, peripheral and second class citizens in all spheres of their existence by the national political parties in Zimbabwe. That should end. The recent tribal rants by the uncivil and un-African Energy Mutodi of ZANU PF are just part of the testimony of that. Generally, decisions by authorities about Matabeleland are top-down and imposed. The essential input by the Matabelelanders is largely ignored. The gukurahundi issue is one such example wherein the perpetrators are the ones defining the modus operandi of redress. The so-called development of Matabeleland is not in the hands of the Matabelelanders but corrupt external officials. How far has the  long-proposed idea of the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam gone, for example? This suffocation and blockage of the life-giving windpipe of Matabeleland spreads over a wide range of aspects including employment, access to education, freedom of association and of participation, human rights and cultural heritage, among others. Both the formal and informal sectors have been raided and captured, thereby condemning the Matabelelanders to rural-urban squalor and poverty. Ultimately, it is the duty of us all to stand up and be counted in order to successfully tail-dock, head-clamp and jail this scourge of marginalisation which embarrasses even the perpetrators.

Dethronement of local leadership
Another thorn in the flesh of Matabeleland is the ongoing primitive politically motivated dethronement of the local leadership of the region and replacing it with surrogates and bootlickers of ZANU PF. This is unashamedly aimed at politically mauling and tearing apart, the traditional governance windpipes and bronchioles of our region. This is done through, among others, the illegal and politically motivated removal of chiefs from their constitutional leadership positions and replacing them with ZANU PF stooges and bootlickers. Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna is one of the casualties of such Stone Age shenanigans. Within and among political parties there has, sadly,  emerged the trend of imposing external leadership through among other chicaneries, the proportional representation concept in parliament. Woefully, this good concept has been hijacked by the marauding  hyenas and jackals and used to politically  molest and serially murder Matabeleland. More so, we daily suffer the mauling and devouring of our livelihoods by the fortune seekers. We are denied the means of securing the basic necessities of life by the myriad of choking methods and strategies that have been institutionalised through tribalism, nepotism and corruption, among the litany of other ills.

"I can't breathe!"
Inevitably, the spine-chilling and hair-raising cry of Matabeleland is "You have pinned my neck down! I can't breathe!". These wails and groans of Matabeleland bellow and echo in every ear throughout the globe. As the affected Matabelelander, the mournful cry invites your heart, your conscience, your brain and ultimately  your action. It is only a willingly conscious and solidly united community of Matabeleland that will successfully wade off this uncivilised onslaught by the power-usurpers.

Those who can, let them hear!

Nhlanhla Moses writes in his capacity as an ordinary Matabelelander.

+27 73 386 2303  

Source - Nhlanhla Moses
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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