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We need new heroes!

08 Aug 2021 at 07:16hrs | Views
Sometimes, Bishop Lazi is glad that his uncle is dead.

The man was never the same ever since returning from the war.

He was no longer the bubbly and chatty young man who revelled in the conviviality of family gatherings.

Instead, his stoic visage was always buried in the permanence of his now-favoured Castro beard, while the wild bush he had for hair was eternally clamped by his favoured black beret.

His boyish sprightly gait had since given way to a heavy limp, which he had sustained in a fabled fierce exchange of gunfire with Rhodesian soldiers.

It had to be something incredibly traumatic that he saw during the war that changed Khule Muvet — the bastardised version of sekuru muwar veteran — to be the withdrawn individual he became.

He always seemed to look for an elusive cure for his troubles at the bottom of calabashes and beer bottles, and this routine ritual was unfailingly punctuated by aggressive pulls on home-made cigarettes that had been fashioned out of old newspapers.

Each time someone or anyone mentioned anything about the war, he instantly sprang up and doddered away, all the while inaudibly mumbling his thoughts.

Although the blood-letting war of liberation was way behind us, it had left unconscionably painful emotional, psychological and physical scars on him.

You see, the generation of people like Khule Muvet and his ilk put their lives on the line to extricate us from more than 84 years of humiliation, slavery, subjugation and dehumanising treatment from greedy, imperial white minority settlers.

John 15: 13 reminds us that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

It is not only nerves of steel, but selfless and great personal sacrifice to take up the unpaid responsibility of defeating a menacing and determined colonial regime that was remarkable in these dedicated men and women.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that the lily-livered spinelessly fled from guerrilla training camps.

But Bishop Lazi is sometimes glad that his uncle died not because it put his troubled soul to rest, but he shudders to think how he would have reacted to the general loss in the sacred values of togetherness, selflessness, integrity, principle and honour that shaped freedom fighters into the fearless, indomitable and triumphant warriors.

There was nothing that this trained soldier hated more than disorder, dishonour, sloth and duplicity.

New leaders

But the sun is gradually setting on this valiant generation that delivered political freedom and are fittingly honoured this week.

Is the new youthful generation, in whose hands the future and fate of Zimbabwe lie, conscious of the generational challenge and responsibility they currently face?

How will it be able to navigate through a new eclectic value system shaped by "globalisation" and still be able to retain local values and defend our heritage and traditions?

Also, can it be able to overcome the toxic polarity that seem to be sowed by pervasive and perverted social media platforms, and espouse the togetherness, selflessness, integrity, principle and honour that successfully drove the war effort?

Is this generation even aware that there is a great war against neo-colonialism that needs to be fought to decisively vanquish imperial forces that continue to suck resources and wealth from the Global South and condemn Africans to perpetual misery and poverty?

We might have won political freedom, but our economies continue to be in the orbit of powerful multinational companies straddling every sector of the economy and whose influence is underwritten by the West.

And, most importantly, is this generation, which was raised on a strict regime of exogenous cultural influences mainly beamed under the guise of globalisation by Hollywood and the influential phalanx of the West's hegemonic media, able to rise above petty political differences and defend the national interest — if at all they can identify it — for the greater good?

Just as Indian scholar Vandana Shiva called for an "insurrection of subjugated knowledge" in her work "Monocultures of the Mind", Bishop Lazi also thinks there is need for an insurrection to reassert local value systems and radically improve the material well-being of our people.

Restoring Legacy

But thankfully, the project to restore local value systems is presently underway through efforts of the new political administration, which was ushered in by an transitional process aptly codenamed Operation Restore Legacy.

A lot of work has been done since that epoch-defining period in 2017.

Cantonment areas, key national buildings, roads and dams have since been renamed after important national and African heroes such as Zororo Duri, Abdel Gamal Nassar, Agostinho Neto and Patrice Lumumba.

Clinging to exotic names such as Selous, Rudd, Livingstone and Allan Wilson, which are evocative of painful historical periods of conquest, slaughter and subjugation of our people, was really an embarrassment and indictment for a people that call themselves free.

Mbuya Nehanda's immortality has since been achieved through a statue that overlooks the capital, while a statue of General Mtshana Khumalo, who defeated troops led by Allan Wilson during the colonial era, is in the offing.

However, the story of our people and civilisation is not episodic, but it is a continuum that is inter-generational, covering yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And this is why for the first time since Independence the recently introduced national honour system, will also cover civilians and members of the civil service who would have distinguished themselves by going outside the call of duty to selflessly champion the national interest.

Until recently, we didn't have a definitive honour system that recognises bravery, achievement or service of ordinary people to Zimbabwe.

But this week, the country will honour people like historian Pathisa Nyathi, author Charles Mungoshi, inspirational businesswoman Divine Ndhlukula, Martin Lock, among others, as part of its Heroes Day commemorations.

It is a revolution that is self-regenerating and mutating into a forward-looking proposition designed to perpetuate the nation-state.

This is also why dancehall artiste Soul Jah Love (Soul Musaka), himself a scion of a liberation fighter, finds himself a provincial liberation hero, while Dr Oliver Mtukudzi proudly rests in Madziwa in Mashonaland Central as a national hero.

Cultural revolution

But statues and a national honour system are not enough.

There is need to regain the narrative through creative arts that improve our national values through story-telling and artistic products that also make our values enviable and influential for generations to come.

Hollywood performs extraordinary work in minding American culture and influences, which help to improve the appeal and reach of America's political interest.

Bishop Lazarus always tells people that America is perceived as the powerful force on earth mainly because of Hollywood.

Despite suffering humiliating defeats in Somalia, Afghanistan and Vietnam, American film directors have always found a way to burnish the image of America's military and cast it as a unconquerable fighting force.

Why, for example, we do not have a gripping and riveting film re-enacting the epic and dramatic Battle of Mavonde in October 1979, which encapsulates and symbolises the gritty stand by guerrilla forces against a fierce onslaught by a well-armed Rhodesian military, is disappointing.

We really need to spawn a new generation that is self-conscious, aware of the national interest and wired to ensure the success of Zimbabwe.

They are already represented in mining, agriculture, construction, among major sectors of the economy.

We need not compete in taking Zimbabwe forward, not backward.

1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

We shall definitely overcome.

Bishop out!

Source - sundaymail
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