History means the past, present and future

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I REMEMBER my history teacher the first day at high school on January 13 1997, the lesson he gave us. Yelling on top of his voice, he gave us what he said was the true and real definition of History: “History is not only the study of the past as has been said by colonial historians. History looks at the past, present and future events.” Before ending the lesson, Mr Mubhedha then gave us words of wisdom that I have remembered for the past 14 years when he said: “If you want to be in charge of your life and country, remember that history will help you shape your destiny. But for us Africans, it is very difficult to do that, not because we want to, but because those who colonised us do not want us to. These colonialists want us to learn their history and forget ours.” Today, Africa stands on the brink of neo-colonialism smuggled in by our colonial masters who have taught the continent to forget its painful history and how it is being manipulated to make Africans see no value in taking back their land, exploiting their resources and owning and controlling their economies. Any African leader who wants to control the future of his country by shaping the present using the history of colonialism is labelled a dictator, tyrant or despot. What is baffling about these attacks is that they do not come from Africans, but from foreigners who decide which person should rule or should vacate office as and when they feel like it. Through this, Africans forget that their land did not come on a silver platter, but that it was fought for, hence whites cannot decide how we should run our affairs. Who shall the younger generation turn to when they are being told we can’t run our economies, we can’t farm our land, we can’t own and control our resources? What has been happening in Zimbabwe since the year 2000 when whites have been trying to make us forget our history so that we become a carbon copy of what they want the continent of Africa to be? It is not a secret that whites have never really wanted Zimbabweans in particular and Africans in general to learn their history because doing so would result in Africans taking charge of their resources and economies in general. In Zimbabwe, they have been talking about reforming this or that institution so that the empowerment agenda that is being initiated for the majority becomes null and void. The following account will bring to light why the West, as Mr Mubhedha rightfully put it, do not want us to know our history. Three years after this inspiring lecture by Mr Mubhedha, history duly took its course in Zimbabwe when the country embarked on the revolutionary land reform and resettlement programme that brought with it a lot of things that would shape the present and the future for many generations to come. Zimbabwe’s historic and heroic land reclamation exercise brought with it a thing called the regime change agenda. It also brought with it a political party that wants to change the country’s course of history by bringing to Zimbabweans the so-called democracy and not development. It also brought a sustained media onslaught against President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, all this aimed at making the people of this country forget about their past and surrender their future to our colonial masters. When some in our midst talk about our country, through what they call ‘the Zimbabwe situation’ or ‘Zimbabwe crisis’ they do not in any way paint a positive picture of certain individuals or policies that are crafted to benefit the majority. The claim is that the so-called Zimbabwe situation, crisis or whatever they call it, was brought about by the land reform programme because blacks were not supposed to ‘steal’ from the whites who are the only people who have the ‘divine’ right to own and control the most important of assets, even in countries that do not belong to them. Suddenly the objectives of the country’s war of liberation which centred mainly on the issue of land and which our history has captured do not matter because the land reform programme has destroyed the country. To make this case attractive, the whites, using their powerful media paint a picture of hunger, strife, war, hopelessness and a desperate situation that requires the urgent need of the international community so that democracy can be brought to Zimbabwe again. This is done to ‘show’ the world how economic mismanagement and poor policies have led to destruction of this once vibrant economy which I will once again reiterate was a minority economy that the black Government of President Mugabe inherited from Smith in 1980. It is important to keep this in mind when analysing how desperate the propaganda and hatred of President Mugabe and ZANU PF get as they fight to make us forget our history. After nearly a decade of unstoppable media attacks on President Mugabe for not ‘opening’ up space for media freedom in the country, Zimbabwe has since 2009 registered 25 media houses, most of which have taken a stance of attacking certain individuals and peddling outrageous, malicious and potentially damaging lies about the country yet no one reprimands them because there is freedom of expression in the country. Last month when Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day, something terrible and rather shocking happened and is still happening. The United States of America Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, revealed that he would be sponsoring newspaper vendors. We all thought that was to be done in goodwill, but as expected the truth is coming out in the open with some vendors telling the world of how they are being forced not to sell publications that are perceived to be sympathetic to President Mugabe and his ZANU PF while selling those that attack him. To make matters worse, Ambassador Ray is the one in charge of the project and its thrust and perspective is not difficult to understand. The Americans and the West do not want Zimbabweans to know the truth about their country, but lies and propaganda that the West sponsors so that they achieve regime change in the country. It is not debatable that information is very crucial in shaping or destroying people’s mindsets on particular issues and the West intends to make good use of this platform through Ambassador Ray’s vendors’ project. The West wants to use the media to make Zimbabweans forget their past through propaganda but what is now clear is that this will never happen because the people of this country are now firmly in charge of their destiny through the ownership of their land and now economy. As Mr Mubhedha said, colonialists do not want us to know our history because they want us to remain in perpetual poverty and untold suffering which they brought upon us through colonialism. Now is the time to fend off this challenge by changing the History syllabus in schools and follow the path of indigenising the economy so that Zimbabweans will chart both their economic and political destinies as a truly empowered people. Let those with ears listen.

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