Importance of ‘centredness’ in literary analysis: Part Seven…..consequences of Western re-engineering


THE consequences of the spatial dislocation of the Zimbabweans were multi-faceted but of fundamental relevance to the cultural discourse is the fragmentation of the people’s spirituality.
Zhuwarara (2001) argues after the successful importation of the colonial Government following the defeat of the African forces in 1898, the political infrastructure of the indigenous people was paralysed.
Also, following the racial colonial land laws hitherto described, most of Africans found themselves dramatically transformed overnight into squatters on white farms which had been their ancestral lands, a loss which disrupted the smooth functioning of the people’s belief systems.
For Africans, the land was both an economic and spiritual force.
It was part of their metaphysical worldview.
Zhuwarara sums up the impact of colonial displacement on Zimbabwean culture and spirituality as follows: “African societies regarded the land as the home of the ancestral spirits, who, according to tradition, acted as intermediaries between the living and God.
In the systems themselves was enshrined a social vision whose ideals called for the consolidation of communal values.
In a sense, a whole way of life was at stake here; the land functioned as a geographical and metaphysical world at whose centre was entrenched the roots of African belief systems, systems which denied a star-division between the sacred and the secular, man and his environment…harmony was maintained between the physical and the metaphysical. Thus, removing the African from his land was tantamount to a severe disruption of the meaning and coherence which ancestral lands had always provided him.
It also undermined the dialogue between him and tribal history, between one generation and its oral literature, in brief, the crucial dialogue between the African and his past out of which he derived his identity, was severely disrupted.” (2000:12-13)
Besides physically severing kins-people and re-appropriating them as ‘Portuguese’, ‘Rhodesians’ and ‘South Africans’ after the colonial powers, it became necessary to further alienate the people through a myriad of ideological dopes, chief among them religion, education and the mass media.
Missionary activity was one of the earliest forms of cultural imperialism in Zimbabwe as elsewhere among the so-called Third World.
In Zimbabwe, Robert Moffat paved way for Charles Rudd and later Cecil John Rhodes.
Christianity dictated that the converted Africans change their ways of life.
In a nutshell they were supposed to rebuke their identity, which Christianity associated with barbarism/darkness, and ‘be born again’.
Can you see ‘where the rain began to beat us’?
When we talk about alienation, we are therefore referring to a situation whereby people are being removed from their values, their systems of thought, their sense of who they are, their worldview, their relationship with each other and their sense of oneness with their total environment.
They become disabled mentally, spiritually and culturally because in the process of being re-shaped they become something else; commodities of their new designer.
They shift focus from everything that was passed down to them by their ancestors and look up to everything brought by those who impose themselves as harbingers of good news.
And do you know how the African was, and continues to be, tricked by these people?
They are duped by very trivial things, namely products of technology some of which are mere innovations of what was originally African but which Africans no longer recognise.
Yes, technology is the major lure of most unsuspecting Africans.
It is the charm and catalyst for turning the African into a worshipper of everything white.
Simply by creating; first, the lie that Africans have no history; second, that the history Africans can share is that which the whiteman brought; third, that Africans are not only known for not having created anything but also for not having the capacity to create anything in the future, thus leaving the privilege of creating technological innovations for eternity in the hands of the whites up to whom Africans should look gratefully for eternity.
Meanwhile, the African has been programmed to be mesmerised by any new piece of technology that is brought his/her way; and with each new technological innovation, the African continues to be forever thankful and looking forward to its next edition.
Can you see where the rain began to beat us?
How many times have you come across your own asking you: “What have our ancestors produced except goat skins for wear?
Shouldn’t we thank the whiteman for the clothes we now wear?
For the cars we now drive?
For the cellphone and the great facilities it has brought?
The twitter?
The whatsapp?
Tingadai tichiwatsura here?”
The list of such silly and stupid questions is endless but these few examples serve my illustrative purpose – to show you how Africans have been programmed to be mesmerised by technology while at the same time believing that the prerogative to design technological innovations belongs to the white race.
And yet technology belongs to no particular race.
Yes, it is a human invention or improvement to answer needs of society.
To serve and not to be served by man!
To make work light!
To improve lives!
And not to be worshipped!
The primary purpose of any piece of technology is its function, not its extrinsic value.
Only twisted minds think otherwise and indeed ours have been disconnected to this realisation, hence the permanent stifling of our creative and innovative potentialities which have been subsequently immobilised and demobilised.
There are institutions that have been put in place to sustain the lie that technology is the whiteman’s domain.
You do not need to go too far to confirm this pitiable ignorance.
You find a Zimbabwean with a functioning Mazda B16 truck manufactured by Japan.
As soon as the Japanese release its B-18 series, our character outpaces his kinsmen to own one ahead of everyone.
And when the B-22 series is released, the feat is repeated.
The same is done with greater alacrity with each succeeding series.
Meanwhile, you are complaining about capital flight when your so-called tycoons send your much valued foreign currency in trillions to Europe and Asia in return for such trivial trinkets as cars and shoes.
Can you imagine such deficiency?
Just to mesmerise fellow Africans with having acquired the latest, thinking that their new acquisitions add to their human worth?
May our ancestors forbid!
I am on record for saying beware of the alienating imperialist institutions such as media, education, religion and foreign ideologies, just to mention a few.
They are designed not to enlighten Africans but to still their creative capacity and to nurture a dependence syndrome that will see us looking up to Europe for solutions to any of our problems?
How do you expect your tormentor to become your saviour?
What part of our anatomy are we using to think like this?
These institutions cannot save us as long as they face Europe and the rest of the West.
We need to transform them and give them our voice and only then can they speak of our future, and not our extinction.
Education, for instance, tells this grim story better: How on earth do we take pride in graduating thousands every year without realising a single return from our graduates?
The next instalment will take this lamentation back to its source.


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