Let us all celebrate being Zimbabwean

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THE greatest damage that colonialism infl icted on its victims, Zimbabweans included, was destruction of identity. The programme to destroy employed various agencies and techniques to erode the victims’ cultural beliefs and practices, how they perceived themselves, understood the world around them, their value systems, fears and failures, hopes and successes, dreams and convictions in order to change them. What eventually remained was a caricature of our former self, a hollow and unsure people who looked at themselves with pity and disdain. On the other hand, the colonisers lived a meticulously choreographed life, hiding from our view their weaknesses and failures, their misfortunes and ordinariness, until we believed they were mystical and nearer to God than ourselves and that they could not be entirely human like ourselves. We fantasised and dreamt their way of life and in the silence of our hearts, cursed God for creating us black and not white. Therefore, there is a compelling need to reclaim and celebrate our identity within the context of our Zimbabwean nationality. We should instill a strong sense of being Zimbabwean and African in every one of us, feeling proud about it. Our past and history should actually make us proud. Let us recognise that our history did not start when the white man arrived in the country about 100 years ago. The unquestionable truth is that we have a glorious past that stretches back to the days of the Great Zimbabwe civilisation during the Mutapa and Rozvi Empires. We, and not Europeans, built the Great Zimbabwe, therefore we should not only celebrate our Zimbabwean and African heritage, but also assert it. The Patriot desires to play an active role to achieve that objective by fi rstly acknowledging that colonialism destroyed our identity and our minds and the need for cleaning of the mind. Kenyan writer Ngugi waThiong’o, called it ‘decolonising the mind’ and it is the biggest challenge we face to date. We still have people among us who wish they were not Zimbabwean, but British or American. It is evidenced by the way they lacerate and mutilate their country and, in the process, themselves. The way they glorify the Europeans and their way of life is sometimes embarrassing even to the Europeans themselves. The story of our people lost its way after we encountered the white man and were defeated. That is where Ambuya Nehanda became a villain and not a heroine. That is where Lobengula became a fugitive on the run in the country where he was once King and where Kagubi was hanged as a common criminal for fi ghting the white man who had invaded the country. Let us now sing songs to their praise because they are our heroes who actually fought for our independence which we attained in 1980. The Patriot will constantly remind us why we went to war. It was a quest to reclaimed land, to redeem our identity, to assert it and take full control of our destiny. Many people who have been outside the country tell varying versions of how outsiders admire our resilience to overcome adversity whilst we remain focussed on the greater goal of making the people masters of their destiny. The Patriot calls on everyone to join hands in that jubilant and euphoric national celebration of who we are. We are Zimbabweans for Zimbabwe.

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