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Mthwakazi New Year message

01 Jan 2021 at 19:39hrs | Views
New Year Greetings to all!

As we leave the year 2020 behind and begin a new year journey in our struggle for freedom in Mthwakazi, it is important to reflect and highlight the obstacles that we have come through as a people. The COVID-19 pandemic devastated our communities and continues to do so unrelentingly.  We cannot be very certain that we shall overcome this scourge in 2021. We can only hope so, owing to the fact that vaccines have been developed to combat this deadly pandemic. It is therefore our hope that the people of Mthwakazi will also benefit from these vaccines.

Yet I would have been happier had our own people been able to participate in the development of any vaccines. However, as we all know, even if some of our people had the capacity to be part of the process, they would not and still cannot because they are still in chains, and therefore not free. Only a free people with access to their own resources backed up by their own people's government whose priorities put the health of its citizens at the forefront can venture into such medical research explorations to combat killer diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and indeed any other diseases threatening humanity across the world.

But then, it will not help us to be locked in a situation in which we are always helpless. We need to respond to the human conditions as they affect all our people by redoubling our efforts in order to overcome all adversity, in whatever sphere of our lives, without fear or favour. These conditions of domination, subjugation and humiliation have gone on for far too long - 87 years under European colonial rule and now approaching 41 years under Shona hegemony, and thus totaling a whooping 128 years.

Indeed, it is our combined responsibility as the people of Mthwakazi, to rise to the challenges facing our purpose in life, which is to change our conditions for the better at all times.  That is what progress and development is about, rather than find ourselves as a people still locked down in a never-ending nightmare of misery and human rights violations.

It is important that as a people, we revisit any meaningful skills developed in Mthwakazi over the ages and in the present so as to empower our people to face all adversity. It does not matter how small or insignificant we view such skills as a people. They are all important in order to ensure that our people are liberated from a situation of helplessness and combat unacceptable levels of poverty conditions that have characterized our communities ever since. We cannot afford to sit idle and hope that somebody from somewhere will come to our aid. As the people of Mthwakazi, we need to understand that we have no one but ourselves to survive. This is why it is fundamentally critical that we empower one another in everything that we do.

Such skills as crafts making (amacansi, ingcebethu, izikhwama zabo mama), weaving, leather processing for various products and others, are very critical. Carpentry skills are absolutely vital in equipping our schools, clinics, halls, homes and others with desks, tables, chairs, book shelves and wardrobes. Wood carving even for the production of little things such as puzzles is absolutely vital and critical in moving the imagination and thought development processes of our children forward. These should extend to toy making of all sorts for our children. All these should be done with an unshakeable view of regulating and controlling deforestation which has already caused a lot of havoc to many communities across Mthwakazi.

There are also opportunities offered by our access to smart phones (which are now in use by various community members, not only in towns but across rural hinterlands) for photography and film production. With regard to photography, there are many beautiful places that need to be brought to the appreciation of the outside eye, including landscapes and other aesthetic sceneries. It is fundamental for our people to begin appreciating what we have in our country through photography, whose pictures could be distributed at a stroke of a button.

In the case of film production, we could learn from other best practices such as the methods and approaches used in most Nigerian film making and elsewhere in Africa, which depict real stories, some based simply on imagination, others on superstitious beliefs and still others on true stories and many various themes. There is also an opportunity to produce documentaries telling all sorts of life stories of our people, in particular the pain that they have gone through as a result of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Not so long ago, a group known as Loyiko was formed with the collaboration of best minds in the 1893 Mthwakazi Human Rights Restoration Movement (MHRRM) and South African young people which culminated in the theatre production of Gukurahundi.  

Thanks to Loyiko, many people particularly in South Africa and other international audiences have had the opportunity to learn through their production how our people were killed by the Gukurahundi brigade and others in the Zimbabwe security apparatus.

There is so much we could also do to change our economic dreams into reality within our own country Mthwakazi. Story telling by grandparents could also be brought to the home screens across Mthwakazi to benefit our children and assist in their cognitive and intellectual development. We have always had children's stories in our communities which could be written, produced and translated in different local and international languages for distribution and sale and thereby injecting a dynamic economic spinoff for sustained development of our communities throughout Mthwakazi. Children's stories are big business elsewhere and therefore a major economic resource that needs to be tapped and nurtured, rather than neglected. We also have many comedians who can bring laughter to our homes and to the international audiences.

Then there are skills to do with construction, as we have throughout the ages built our own dwellings. In the towns and cities, these extend to plumbing, electrical wirings and connections. All other skills, notably water harvesting especially during the rains and drilling of boreholes are also absolutely vital. Furthermore, we have skills that need to be developed and sustained in the areas of food production and security. Agriculture, including vegetable production, meat production, milk production and its associated diary products from our pieces of land throughout Mthwakazi is also very critical. It is important to note that Mthwakazi sits between the great Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. We need to have access to these waters for the sustained development of our communities throughout Mthwakazi.

It is imperative that we get organized and get skills in marketing and distribution of our products. In this regard, Mthwakazi business people are called upon not only to inject funds for small and medium enterprises, but large ones in every economic sector. There is no reason why we cannot achieve this kind of feat when we have so much capacity and many mineral resources in our country.

I particularly encourage all the people of Mthwakazi, especially our youth (without gender exception), to acquire driving skills, as they are also vital not only in Mthwakazi but all over the world. The same goes to our disabled people, they also need to be assisted with life skills. So too should our attention be directed at taking care of those with other illnesses including mental disabilities. There can be no question that we also need to care and protect the elderly in our communities who have many times been abused by the younger generation. We have become a mobile community such that all these skills are absolutely vital for our survival as a people.

Our people also need to be highly literate and by that I do not mean just the capacity to speak eloquent English. We need to establish libraries wherever we are and to those who can source books for their communities, please do so as we do not know where the skills of invention will emanate from. Our languages throughout Mthwakazi need to be developed and nurtured with the greatest pride ever, as they depict who we are in our existence as a diverse people.

Computer skills are also critical. There must be a concerted effort to have such at every local level, through self-funding by communities where assistance is not readily available. We also need to have early warning systems about such important matters as the weather, hence even at these various community levels we will need to develop such skills. Added to that, we need to have information sharing about our localities at any given time, so that we keep in check whether or not our local representatives are doing their jobs efficiently and effectively. Efficient and effective communication is therefore key as we strive to take charge of our destiny.

The role of the media even at these local settings is therefore of critical value, hence our young people will have to develop journalism skills. The development of news media, including social media, is also imperative. We should know the ins and outs of our communities including threats of whatever kind through community-based reporting from local reporters. Such threats could include the incidence of communicable diseases.

Incidences of child abuse and gender-based violence should be identified and addressed through skilled people such as trained social workers and psychologists within our communities. It is also absolutely critical that we respond to cases of poverty affecting some members of our communities through community charities, donations and food banks. There is so much more, including communities having to identify community accessible places for the burial of their loved ones who have passed away (community burial sites) which shall be protected by local community by-laws, instead of the prevailing situation where those who passed are scattered all over and simply abandoned whenever a certain family decides to move and resettle elsewhere. The current practice of scattered and uncoordinated burial sites also affects land availability as people are reluctant to build or carry out economic activities near graves.

Running water and modern ablution facilities in every home are also imperative. The sky is the limit with regard to what we can do to empower ourselves in addressing the scourge of poverty. This should be self-reliance at its best. In a nutshell, this submission calls on all of us to utilize and seize the opportunities that come our way so that we may inject the same to benefit families and society at large.  And for those in the diaspora, it is important that we utilize our time there and leave no stone unturned in equipping ourselves with all forms of skills and education, in order to help develop our country Mthwakazi for the benefit of our successive generations to come.  

I thank you.
Churchill Mpiyesizwe Guduza

Source - Churchill Mpiyesizwe Guduza
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