Being patriotic to your country …the Josey Mahachi example


LAST week I overheard a conversation between two gentlemen; “You know what if all our children that are outside the country could only be like this girl who convinced the Nigerian billionaire to come and invest in Zimbabwe, we would be different,” said one gentleman.
“Aahh ava ndivo vana vakarairwa ka ava, they care more for their country no matter what others say,” said the second gentleman.
I was left with so many questions about what some of our young people are doing overseas or wherever they are.
Josey Mahachi (32) is the young woman behind Nigerian businessman Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s pending investment in Zimbabwe.
This is a young woman who put her country first by luring a billionaire to invest in the country.
She thought of her country when others are busy demonising it.
Josey was quoted in the media as saying, “I felt inspired to bring Mr Alhaji Aliko Dangote to Zimbabwe.
“This inspiration was founded on the fact that I have heard of and seen several investors going in and out of Zimbabwe without doing anything tangible to improve the economy.
“Every time I’m in Zimbabwe, I see my fellow citizens and always endeavour to do anything within my power to improve their welfare.
“I am saddened by the plight of some of my countrymen, especially as the economy is facing challenges when there is so much hope on the horizon because of our country’s great potential.
“Government is working so hard to improve the economy, but cannot do everything alone. 
“It is also up to us, individuals, to play our part.” 
A lot of young Zimbabweans her age in foreign capitals are not doing the same, they rather talk ill about their Government and some have written books denouncing their country and have won awards for that.
Josey chose to do the different; perhaps this is why during the conversation, the other gentleman said Josey had the spirit of unhu/ubuntu which should be taught to all young Zimbabweans when they are young.
She has put her country first and that is called patriotism.
Patriotism is, generally speaking, the emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognises as their homeland.
This attachment, also known as national feeling or national pride, can be viewed from different features relating to one’s own nation, like ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.
Over the years, hundreds of young people fled Zimbabwe to foreign African and European countries alleging they feared for their lives or were being persecuted by the Government.
Some have remained holed up in these foreign capitals, while others sneaked back home empty handed.
Others died miserably as they were victims of xenophobic attacks.
Several young women of Josey’s age joined prostitution rings while others were turned into drug mules, but here is one young woman who defied the odds and did her country proud despite the negative publicity the country received from hostile foreign media.
The issue of patriotism also brings to mind the issue of National Youth Service training that I wrote about in this paper not so long ago.
The training helps our youth to be serious patriots.
I would like to reiterate that while the National Youth Service has been condemned in the West and in Africa for alleged ‘gross human rights violations on behalf of ZANU PF’, the same Western nations have more rigid and successful youth training programmes in their own countries.
The National Youth Service is a programme of the Zimbabwean Government for Zimbabweans of ages 10 to 30.
It was authorised by the 1979 National Service Act, passed by the Government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and established in 2001 under the Presidency of Cde Robert Mugabe.
Its purpose is to, “transform and empower youths for nation building through life skills training and leadership development.”
The service instills in young Zimbabweans a sense of national identity and patriotism.
While it proposes to unite people above party lines, it also promotes wariness of ‘foreign influence and intervention’ in national politics.
The opposing view, both inside Zimbabwe and abroad, holds that the service indoctrinates its members with absolute loyalty to ZANU PF and trains them for military operations to enforce its dominance. Damning reports from human rights watchdogs that are hostile to Zimbabwe such as Amnesty International, London, and Physicians for Human Rights, Denmark, and Zimbabwean human rights organisations, came out guns blazing criticising the programme, claiming that the youth ‘militia camps’ are aimed at forcing on all school leavers a ZANU PF view of Zimbabwean history and the present.
Western countries where these human rights watchdogs come from have robust national youth services where their children are required to undergo military training before they embark on careers of their choices.
As a result, when these countries go to war, their youths are well equipped with the history of their own country and are ready to defend the sovereignty of their countries, yet in Zimbabwe our children are discouraged by these same agents who underwent national service in their countries.
Furthermore, in contradiction to claims by these same human rights groups that the training was aimed at imparting military skills, military drills including weapons training as major elements of youth training since the first youth intakes, and that all youth should form a reserve force to defend their nation, falling under military command.
The Government recruited all the graduates into different sectors of the civil service, including agriculture, nursing, education and other critical sectors of the economy that require disciplined and well mannered youths with a deep sense of patriotism.
While some youth who have been through the youth training service are well satisfied with their experiences, others have fled the country after having been lured by imperialist governments and used to demonise the training centres by narrating falsehoods of what happens in the youth training centres and even the nation in order to discredit the programme.
The implications of the current National Youth Service training for Zimbabwean youths are commendable.
The legitimacy of providing non-politically partisan training to tens of thousands of youths every year must be hailed by all straight-thinking and patriotic Zimbabweans.
The social fabric for those who have undergone training has changed through encouraging part of the nation’s youth to be self-reliant and become economically responsible citizens who know their history and whose allegiances are entrenched in the revolutionary values of Zimbabwe.
It is a commendable and noble deed by Josey Mahachi to remember her country, and to other right-thinking Zimbabwean youths it is what you do for your country instead of what your country is doing for you.
“I am happy that, as a woman, I have achieved this goal for my country,” said Josey. 
“I just hope we will get more investors like Mr Alhaji Aliko Dangote who believe in Africa and that Africa is for Africans.”


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