African culture: The source of values for patriotism


CULTURE is the source of a people’s self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-pride.
Self-knowledge entails who a people are and what belongs to them in order for them to survive. Self-knowledge also motivates a people towards the protection and defence of their name and what belongs to them as their heritage.
This is what is called patriotism.
Patriotism comes from a people who know who they are and what belongs to them and the need to protect and defend it by their own lives if necessary.
Without culture, therefore, there can be no self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-pride, patriotism or a people’s preparedness to lay down their lives to protect who they are and defend what belongs to them as their heritage.
Patriotism is called kuzvipira in Shona.
It is taught throughout the process of upbringing from childhood through adulthood up to death and even beyond.
It involves a people’s readiness to lay down their own lives in defence of their name and heritage.
A people’s name and heritage are likened to one’s mother in Shona culture and symbolism.
The abuse of a people’s name or heritage is like the abuse of the name and integrity of one’s mother.
No one abuses the name and integrity of one’s mother in Shona and gets away with it even if he or she were a Goliath or an Amazon.
A Shona person is taught from childhood to prefer to die fighting to protect and defend the name and integrity of their mother from abuse by anyone and by any means necessary.
Anyone who dares destroy a mere mound of soil meant to symbolise one’s mother’s breast or zamu ramai triggers the adrenaline in a Shona person to fight and vanquish the offender or die in the process.
Rhythm-and-game-songs of Shona childhood such as chidhanga chidhanga tiyamwe amai serve the same purpose of infusing in a child from an early stage the love and enthusiasm to defend and protect its own people’s culture and heritage and never follow the ways of strangers no matter how alluring they may be.
A stranger who tries to turn a Shona child away from the values of its people would be told with a straight face that Amai vangu vakafa vasingapute fodya, meaning: My mother never smoked tobacco till her death.
Stories of girls who fall in love with strange handsome boys and follow them to their homes through dark forests where the boys turn into hungry monsters and consume the girls, are lessons to the African child never to trust strangers or follow their ways.
African proverbs serve the same purpose.
Rooranai vematongo means marry among people whose culture and history you know very well. Matongo in Shona does not mean neighbours as some would like us to believe.
Matongo means roots, origins, history, culture and values.
Everything that a people do is done according to their culture as the source of their philosophy of life and principles for living.
They govern themselves according to their culture and philosophy of life.
They control, preserve and utilise their land, environment and resources according to their culture and philosophy of life.
A people’s culture as the source of their philosophy of life and principles for living contains the dos and don’ts of their society.
These are the same as the 10 commandments of the Bible and the 42 principles of Maat of the Ancient Africans of Kemet, where the 10 Commandments of Moses were borrowed from without acknowledgment.
A people without culture have no idea who they are or what their value is as a people.
They do not know what belongs to them or their heritage as a people.
They have no idea of their history or destiny as a people.
Anybody can call them any name and they would not know whether it is their name or not.
It is for these reasons that African culture as the source of values for self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-pride and patriotism should be made an integral part of upbringing and education in Zimbabwe from childhood to adulthood so as to stir in Africans the spirit of patriotism that is so indispensable for the defence of Zimbabwe as a heritage and destiny for Africans.


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