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Unpacking Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo Philosophy

06 Mar 2022 at 08:18hrs | Views
During our War of Liberation, we had a huge rear base in Mozambique called Mudzingadzi.

As with many of our rear bases, Mudzingadzi suffered repeated Rhodesian air raids.

One such raid coincided with a meeting of ZANLA's High Command. It was well-timed and could have decapitated ZANLA's command.

The late Josiah Magama Tongogara was present, and set to chair a meeting we had scheduled to begin at 10 o'clock on that fateful day.

I was there too, as was the late Dauramanzi, the late Mayor Urimbo, the late Ushewokunze and many others in the top echelon of ZANLA command.

Attack on Mudzingadzi Rear Base

The first napalm bomb hit the command centre, throwing all of us off our makeshift seats.

It blew up and engulfed a lady comrade who stood nearby.

Her war name was Pedzisai.

After the raid, all we recovered from her remains were her two scalded palms.

She had melted into napalm, literally.

Rhodesians used napalm against us, in blatant violation of international law.

We lost 27 comrades in that raid.

The late Urimbo's Ghost

Still, war has its lighter moments.

Our base was sited close to Mudzingadzi River. On that day, Mudzingadzi's wooded valley saved most of us.

After Rhodesian sorties, we emerged from our hiding places, wending our way back to the camp to witness the horror the Rhodesians had wrought on us, to help the wounded and to bury our dead.

As we crossed the frothing Mudzingadzi, we saw an object floating. On closer examination, we recognised it as Mayor Urimbo's signature hat.

The late Urimbo was our Political Commissar.

Downcast, we concluded our legendary "Tete VeMusangano" had met his fate in that raid.

In keeping with our tradition of honouring fallen comrades, we lined up, rifles raised, to sing our mournful dirge, "Moyo Wangu Watsidza Kufira Zimbabwe", for our dear departed, "late" Urimbo.

Then we resumed our march back to the devastated camp.

As we did so, we caught sight of a figure running towards us.

Short in height, dark in complexion, he bore the dust and tatters of a battle survivor.

He had no cap on his head, as was customary with all comrades.

Near enough, and in line with ZANLA's tradition, he announced himself through a string of slogans:

Pamberi NeHondo!

Pamberi NeChimurenga!

Pamberi neZanla High Command!

Stunned and awestruck, none from our group responded to the slogans.

But we all recognised the husky voice as that of the "late" Mayor Urimbo, our "slain" Political Commissar.

In an instant, we all scurried for cover, in abject terror.

Our "dead" Commissar had rejoined us as a ghost, and so soon after his death!

His apparition even uttering our war slogans! After spirited reassurances from the "ghost", we regained our composure and realised Urimbo had survived the deadly air raid.

Not so for his unlucky hat.

It had been blown off his head in mid-flight, landing in Mudzingadzi's swift waters. It never came back to rejoin us right up to the war end!

Policies hewn out of hardships of Struggle

Mudzingadzi Camp was more than a military affair.

It had a large, makeshift hospital which housed our sick and war injured.

We called them "madhwende", in war parlance. The late Dr Herbert Ushewokunze led a handful of doctors in tending to our sick and injured back to wellness, of course as could be.

His team included the late Dr Muchemwa, the late Dr Gwata, and Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, who is still with us.

This inventive medical corps, assisted by several medics trained in the fog of a brutal war, saved many lives, saved thousands of limbs.

Mudzingadzi Camp, too, was the headquarters of our Production Department, which was headed by the late William Ndangana.

Ndangana was my colleague in the famous Crocodile Gang which marked our shift to armed, confrontational politics in our fight against settler colonialism.

The Production Department had other notables who included the late Ndodahondo and the late Makasha.

All survived the war, only to pass on severally in the early part of our Independence.

The Production Department was a creature of necessity. By mid 1970s, the flow of young Zimbabweans crossing into Mozambique to join the Armed Liberation Struggle grew into a deluge.

Our camps swelled, soon to be overwhelmed.

Food became scarce; clothing was bare; above all, outbreaks of deadly diseases were quite frequent, claiming many lives in those congested camps full of fighters, recruits and refugees who barely ate enough.

It was in those heartbreaking circumstances that we conceived the idea of a Production Department so we could meet ZANLA's food and nutritional requirements.

Before then, ZANLA had survived on donations from the OAU which would be routed through the Liberation Committee of Frontline States, and from other well-wishers worldwide.

At the time, our supplies were fairly adequate as ZANLA's numbers, though large and steadily growing, were still manageable.

Not anymore in mid-1970s as the war intensified, displacing several thousands.

The situation in camps became progressively dire, forcing us to think outside the box.

ZANLA which had been raised and groomed as a fighting machine, had to be recast to morph into a food producing machine for the survival of our struggle.

Education with Production Policy

Nor was scarce food the only challenge.

I have already referred to disease incidence in camps, and how that forced us to develop a strong medical corps in ZANLA.

As the volume of refugees grew, we found ourselves saddled by many kids of school-going age.

We had to evolve a strategy to educate such children.

We started bush schools, powered by curricula developed amidst the struggle.

Dzingai Mutumbuka headed the Education Department, which included cadres like Dr Fay Chung and the late Sister (Dr) Janice McLaughlin.

From this emerged the philosophy of "Education-with-Production", by which schools were established as centres both of knowledge impartation and food production for our camps.

At Independence, we migrated and infused the same idea into our schools, led by demonstration schools like Mavhudzi and Nkululeko, under the ZIMFEB project.

Sadly, the idea did not take root and soon fizzled out.

All told, it is clear our thinking, our philosophy, nay our ideology in struggle was conceived and broadened in harsh circumstances where we needed to evolve solutions for our survival.

This is key to understanding our thinking and outlook under the Second Republic.

We are a building civilisation

Our long history as Zimbabweans casts and stands us apart as an architectural and agricultural civilisation.

We are a building civilisation, vavaki.

Our forebears raised the iconic, time-defying walls of Great Zimbabwe, and its several siblings strewn across and beyond our territory.

To this day walls from that great age still stand to bear testimony across time and generations.

Because we built cities, our civilisation was not nomadic; it was sedentary.

Above all, it is a civilisation of stone, indeed of hard granite which endures.

Today our nation harkens to that era for inspiration.

We are sons/daughters of the soil

Those sprawling stone citadels and settlements needed secure sources of food to support thousands who lived in and around them.

Early written records, notably from Portuguese traders, confirmed us as heirs to a highly diversified agricultural civilisation which tilled the land and produced grains of all manner.

We lived off the land, thus becoming vana vevhu, sons and daughters of the soil.

As we struggled for our Independence, vana vevhu became a powerful organising mantra.

The land was our principal grievance because the land is our identity, indeed is us.

This bonding with the land comes at birth when the umbilical cord of the newly born is committed to our sacred earth.

Bona fide Zimbabweans belong to the land whose elements create the matter with which we build and rebuild; on which we grow that which gives succour to life; indeed, from which we dig the precious minerals that we trade.

Roots of philosophy of food security

Much later, in the 19th Century, the Ndebele Kingdom upheld the same tradition of huge settlements.

At its demise in 1893 under King Lobengula, the Ndebele State left a huge national herd and an elaborate network of underground silos full of grain to cater for lean years.

That food security system was pillaged and dismantled by the conquering British imperial army, as records clearly show.

It even created loot committees for the purpose.

Contrary to colonial stereotypes, we are a prudential Civilisation which provides for lean years.

National Food Security has always been a preoccupation of our leaders and the polities which they govern.

After conquest, Rhodesian settlers realised there was no Second Rand.

They turned to farming much later.

Before they did, right up to the late 1920s, they lived off African agricultural produce, African agricultural surplus.

Early white grain merchants who dominated grain trade soon after colonisation extracted this huge African grain surplus to meet grain requirements at mines in Witwatersrand, South Africa.

We have always been a serious grain producer in the region, indeed a solution to perennial grain deficits in our region.

Colonial attack on African Agriculture

Colonial white farmers feared competition from our forebears.

They used the law to create monopolies in agriculture which gave them a head start.

Several pieces of legislation on land apportionment, and on marketing gave them a head-start, while attacking our agricultural production base.

The Rhodesia air attack on our farms at Mudzingadzi was thus very much in character with Rhodesian thinking and hostility towards African agriculture and food security.

Whatever setbacks, we still come back stronger.

Our broad agricultural recovery plan must be understood from that historical experience now so firmly internalised as to become our DNA.

Heritage of global trade in history

We have always been a trading civilisation, right from our beginnings as a people.

Munhumutapa Empire traded with the Chinese, Phoenicians, roving Arabs from Oman and, much later, with Europeans, led by the Portuguese.

We are outward; never insular.

This outward, global outlook arose because we were a Mining Civilisation.

We mined gold, iron and copper.

We traded these across centuries.

History confirms that most mines currently in Zimbabwe, came from old workings traceable to our forebears who also recovered alluvial gold from our main rivers like Mazowe, Mupfure, Save and many others.

Gold dust would be kept and traded in quills.

We ran foundries, mvuto, and turned metals into weapons and agricultural implements.

Under the Second Republic, ZISCO will rise from ashes, singularly through our own efforts. The more than US$400m we currently spend on steel will be used in other needy areas.

Prudent management of flora and fauna

Above all, we have always lived in harmony with our flora and fauna.

Early reports by missionaries who visited King Mzilikazi and King Lobengula admitted that trophy hunting and trading, themselves prerogatives of royalty then, carefully balanced harvesting and conservation of huge wild mammals which roamed our landscapes.

The Ndebele monarch even had a royal elephant herd.

To this day, we have the President's herd of elephants, with our commercial hunting season following the calendar developed and set by the Ndebele Kingdom.

Our thinking, which crystallises into environmental institutions and practices comes from our rich history.

Key spiritual and cultural shrines and sites dotted around our country related to rain-making.

Agricultural to the bone, we knew the value of rain, and the art of rain-making.

We knew the value of wetlands, which we protected.

Political Power and rain-making skills interwove or, as in Ndebele culture, blended, reposed and resided in the person of the King.

Elsewhere, rain-makers were powers behind thrones of our kings.

It is not fortuitous that water harvesting through dam construction is a pillar policy under the Second Republic.

White fowls were spared

At Mudzingadzi, Rhodesians targeted more than our cadres and our military arsenals; they targeted farms and many agricultural units which produced food for our struggle.

In one instance, they bombed all black chickens in our huge fowl runs, and spared white fowls which Ndangana and his team had set apart for breeding.

By such acts, Rhodesians lived their racial outlook and beliefs, including in how they dispensed death. This was nothing new.

In 1893, and again from 1896 until the end of First Chimurenga, sites of food storage were dynamited as part of the invading force's strategy of total onslaught, and to break African resistance to colonial subjugation.

At the height of our Liberation Struggle, Rhodesians destroyed African food barns in villages, stopped families from raising crops by quartering them in notorious "Keeps", as a way of trying to subdue our revolution.

Sanctions and attack on our agriculture

Similarly, a key target of current illegal Western sanctions against Zimbabwe has been attacking our capacity to grow our economy, including targeting our capacity to finance and produce food for ourselves.

They sought to make us food dependent.

International Banks domiciled here, which historically financed white agriculture, stopped doing so on instructions from their headquarters in European metropoles.

Local banks active in agricultural financing were placed under sanctions.

Our overseas markets were closed.

Expectedly, after our 2000 just Land Reform Programme, Zimbabwe became food insecure.

With the advent of the Second Republic, we told ourselves the Land is here and is ours; our people are here, hardworking as ever; God continues to favour us with his rains, although not always in abundance.

Why can't we restore our food security?

Why not ourselves?

Therein lies the genesis of our agricultural policies which are already paying off handsomely.

Triple Heritage

The Second Republic has drawn hard lessons from history and all these experiences.

It is conscious of its triple heritage: Zimbabwe's long and rich past dominated by far-flung kingdoms, movements and economies; our protracted Liberation Struggle under the then Patriotic Front which taught us that we are our own liberators, and which gave us the wisdom and ethos of self-reliance.

Third and last, our contemporary experience of having to survive and live defiantly under conditions of hostility from entrenched, powerful interests.

This triple heritage conditions our thinking, indeed define our outlook.

It, too, shapes our thinking, philosophy and ideology.

Our liberation and independence; the heritage of national unity and the land we got from the First Republic engender our resolve to rebuild and prosper Zimbabwe from our own efforts and resources.

Our rich heritage, aided by high literacy and skills base we built since Independence, puts us in good stead for a durable, sustained economic take-off.

This we are determined to do before 2030, guided by our successive plans, namely the Transitional Stabilisation Plan, TSP, and its sequel, National Development Strategy 1.

Through both, we are set for sustained growth.

Practice without thought

Late Kwame Nkrumah taught us in "Consciencism" that Africa needs a proper sense of its own history, a sound philosophy and ideology which is grounded in its history and heritage; in its concrete material and social milieu, and in scientific grasp of contemporary situation.

That way, Africa can overcome its baneful colonial heritage, and can surge ahead.

He warned: "Practice without thought is blind; thought without practice is empty."

This is to say our concrete actions in seeking to transform our societies should and must be informed by a scientific philosophical and ideological framework, while our philosophy and ideology must never be an alibi for concrete and transformative action.

Above all, our ideology must be integrative. I am happy that under the Second Republic, we have broken the inertia of talk without action.

We are delivering on all fronts.

Late Nkrumah went further to say, "Every society is placed in nature. And it seeks to influence nature, to impose such transformations upon nature, as will develop the environment of the society for its better fulfilment."

Conscious of our age-old heritage, our experience as a Liberation Movement now wielding State Power, and informed by the contemporary global situation, we must provide leadership both in thought and deed.

Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo

After critically reviewing our total situation, including our current capabilities and possibilities, we have reached an unassailable philosophical and ideological conclusion that, NYIKA YEDU INOVAKWA NEVENE VAYO.

Simply translated, this means the responsibility, mission, duty and burden of developing our Zimbabwe rests with us who own and belong to it.

We cannot subcontract that responsibility to any other race, nation or people from another continent or planet.

It is none but ourselves, falling back on our God-given resources and our ever growing ingenuity.

Our painful history shows the world has not always been kind to us.

Nor is it any kinder today.

We continue to engage and re-engage the world, but working very hard ourselves as we do so.

Nyika Inotongwa nevene vayo

Politically, our victory against settler colonialism sealed and sanctified our claim to self-rule, and to owning Zimbabwe, then, now and forever.

Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, and shall remain so unto eternity!

For that reason, we firmly proclaim that, NYIKA INOTONGWA NEVENE VAYO, or Zimbabwe is only governed by its own people who are its sole owners.

There will never be a re-conquest or second colonisation of Zimbabwe by whomsoever, friend or foe.

Those seeking to restore foreign hegemony will fail.

NYIKA INOTONGWA NEVENE VAYO is thus our pledge to repulse foreign domination or tutelage, and to reject politics of foreign patronage.

Indeed, it is our oath to defend our territory in order to keep it sovereign, now, across dispensations and generations.

Land, People, Knowledge

How then do we fulfil our responsibility, mission and duty in order to carry out the burden of developing our Zimbabwe?

Fundamentally and unfailingly by turning to its endowments and resources, whether animate or inanimate, above or beneath the ground we tread, whether known or unknown.

As Kwame Nkrumah emphasised, we are located in nature, which is our God-given territory of Zimbabwe.

We have the LAND and all which lies under it, grows and crawls above it.

We have our PEOPLE: black, white yellow, brown; short, tall, medium; hailing from this or that corner, tribe or region; of this or that faith, religion, belief or creed; speaking this or that language or dialect.

We have the KNOWLEDGE: culled from our heritage, developed through own inventions or sourced and borrowed from other civilisations.

With that pooled knowledge, we develop and acquire CAPACITIES to carry out and shoulder burdens of our development.

Through national capacities, whether inherent, developed or acquired, we transform our NATURE in order to change and develop our ENVIRONMENT for a better life for all, leaving no one or no community behind.

NYIKA INOVAKWA NEVENE VAYO has given us a debt-free model of development, and challenged us to self-finance our progress, brick upon brick, stone upon stone.

We have to avoid the debt trap through which we return to bondage.

No contradiction

Often a question is raised: How does NYIKA INOVAKWA NEVENE VAYO cohere with our ZIMBABWE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS mantra?

Is it not discriminatory, exclusionary, anti-FDI even?

The simple answer is that the philosophy and ideology of NYIKA INOVAKWA NEVENE VAYO is not exclusionary. Nor does it eschew foreign direct investment and partnerships.

All it does is to set parameters for both, all the time stressing the centrality of Zimbabweans and Zimbabwean plans and priorities in all such arrangements.

Our vision of sourcing and attracting FDI and partnerships is based on augmenting our own capacities as an economy, people and Nation.

Our vision in sourcing and attracting foreign investments is mutual gain and benefit.

It is not founded on our displacement or marginalisation, whether as indigenes, communities or as a people who own finite resources.

Indeed, these are key lessons from our Struggle for National Independence.

Augmenting national capacities

We secured foreign arms to enhance our capacity to fight colonialism and to dislodge the settler system.

We bore those arms, fought the enemy ourselves. We made sacrifices for our own liberation. Equally, we prosecuted that struggle on the basis of our thinking, philosophy, ideology and history.

The result and outcome was a free and independent Zimbabwe, freed from foreign values and ideologies, and thus ready and able to chart its own course independently.

So, NYIKA INOVAKWA NEVENE VAYO is a philosophy and ideology of self-determination and of national responsibility; indeed, it is an affirmation of our national sovereignty and independence.

Above all, it is a call and an exhortation to national duty and action.

Zimbabwe's fate rests with Zimbabweans: They bear all its burdens and define its futures.

Source - The Sunday Mail
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