Do we know who we are?

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THE PATRIOT recently wrote about the Catholic Church, particularly reminding the institution how it played a shameful role in the occupation of Zimbabwe and later on in the execution of our First Chimurenga heroes and heroines. 

The backlash we received was not just interesting, but alarming to say the least. 

Yes, many say we are heathens, but is that true? 

When we talk about how Christianity was used to brainwash blacks, we are often criticised by the same blacks who have forgotten their roots. 

However, we are used to it because the tragedy we face is that many have been hoodwinked to the extent of forgetting who they are. 

Of course, there are a combination of factors, the major being Christianity. 

That Christianity played a leading role in colonisation is not a secret. 

The letter from King Leopold II to the first missionaries in Africa in the Belgian Congo in 1883 is quite revealing. 

Part of it reads:     

“Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the niggers to know God, this they know already. 

They speak and submit to a Mungu, one Nzambi, one Nzakomba, and what else I don’t know. 

They know that to kill, to sleep with someone else’s wife, to lie and to insult is bad. 

Have courage to admit it; you are not going to teach them what they know already. 

Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators and industrials, which means you will go to interpret the gospel in the way it will be the best to protect your interests in that part of the world. 

For these things, you have to keep watch on disinteresting our savages from the richness that is plenty in their underground. 

Your knowledge of the gospel will allow you to find texts ordering and encouraging your followers to love poverty, like: ‘Happier are the poor because they will inherit heaven’, and: ‘It’s very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God’. 

Your action will be directed essentially to the younger ones, for they won’t revolt when the recommendation of the priest is contradictory to their parents’ teachings.” 

The above speech came to light in 1935 after one Moukouani Muikwani from Congo bought a second-hand Bible from a Belgian priest who forgot it (the letter) in the Bible. 

It is such information that our former colonisers do not want us to know. 

Today, many blacks, and Zimbabweans in particular, have abandoned their indigenous ways. 

They dismiss their culture, values and norms as archaic and some have completely forgotten about their ancestors. 

They have forgotten who they are. 

I repeat, do we really know our fathers, mothers, grandparents and ancestors? 

We must dig deeper into our history to understand who we are. 

Only then can we raise a generation that defends our culture as black people; a generation that knows that being black is a blessing and not a punishment from God.

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