By Dr Ireen Mahamba
A NATION’s people are its greatest resource, if these are properly educated, it is a formidable force.
The struggle was not won because there were abundant means of executing it.
There never was sufficient food, clothing or medicines.
We would have loved to train more people at any given time, but the resources were limited.
In the battlefield, the comrades were outnumbered by the Rhodesians, the Rhodesians had more weapons, a greater variety as well, they had transport, they had war planes, plenty of good nutritious food to sustain their terrorist army.
The comrades had no transport, they literally mapped the country with their feet, for food and clothing, they depended on gifts from the people of Zimbabwe and they carried their guns and munitions on their bodies, but so how did we win?
It is that spirit, that determination and sacrifice, that indomitable spirit that challenged injustice without hesitating to make the ultimate sacrifice, it is the spirit that made it possible.
And so as we teach young Zimbabwe, we have to ensure that the socio-cultural content and context of our teaching and learning activities celebrates this spirit of self sacrifice even as the Bible says: “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.”
That spirit that never gave up despite repeated imprisonment, year in, year out, that never retreated in the face of repeated torture, the spirit that never gave up even when it meant that anything could happen to your family, even when your family members died and you would not be freed to bury them, that never gave up even when the war took those closest to your heart, that never gave up when thousands fell all around one and you had to bury them with hearts too hurt to shed any tears, that never gave up when confronted with death, not once, not twice, when death was a daily possibility.
It is not degrees, certificates or diplomas that brought Zimbabwe, it is not even the guns, it is that spirit that burned in each fighter.
Without that spirit, no amount of guns, military training, food clothing or medicine could have brought Zimbabwe back.
When we honour our heroes of the liberations struggle, we do not celebrate their degrees, diplomas, certificates or lack of them for that matter, we celebrate their self denial, their sacrifice, their great love for this great land that burned in their hearts.
So the degrees, the certificates, the diplomas, the knowledge and skills, even the guns are there to be used by the person whose heart is in the right place, only then do the knowledge and skills become relevant.
And that is where we have to start in the education of our children.
That indomitable spirit that burned in the hearts of Tongogara, Mujuru, Muzenda, Chitepo, Nkomo, Jason Moyo Nkala and other illustrious sons and daughters of Zimbabwe is there in our children of today also, but we have to rouse it so that it slumbers no more, we have to nourish it so that it burns so brightly as they too walk in the footsteps of these great Zimbabweans.
If we teach them right, they will do it.
Our schools therefore should be the cradle of this founding mentality, the self sacrificing personality of all those who fought to bring back Zimbabwe but our schools cannot do this alone.
If so much that our children and youths hear on the radio, see on television, be it films, music, dance, militates against this revolutionary consciousness we want to cultivate in them, then we will not win.
Moral decay cannot fuel the revolutionary spirit, it cannot build revolutionary consciousness, it corrupts it, dissipates it, whether this decay is brewed in the West, in Africa or here in Zimbabwe, it is a narcotic that dopes the senses and those that are continuously dozed of this dope will seek to service their addiction, and therefore cannot have a clear vision of where we want to go as a nation, nor can they have the strength to pursue it.
They cannot be vigilant or diligent in working for and defending their land.
Kana nharirire dzakadhakwa, dzinovata, musha unotorwa navatorwa.
Our children do not need to read books, watch or listen to material that makes them so sad inside, that are so debilitating.
Each child who sees or hears things that are not morally, ethically and aesthetically uplifiting cannot feel good about themselves.
We want our children and youths full of positive, vibrant energy, caring for their families and fellow Zimbabweans, full of promise for better things, not buried under a morass of decadence created by depraved minds, assailing them from all directions, decadence that is so corrosive nothing it touches survives.
We owe this to our children, we owe this to generations to come, we owe this to those comrades who sacrificed for Zimbabwe’s liberation.
We love and honour our heroes and we should raise our children in a befitting manner.
Their legacy is impeachable and so should be our practice be.