THAT we are an independent State has never been in question.
This is a fact of our lives that is steeped in our glowing history.
It is that history that we need to constantly remind each about. We need always to enjoy our resources with that history in mind.
This week, I generate the following paper on nationalism as part of our thrust to posit new perspectives on issues like nationalism and unity.
The struggle for nationhood has its roots in colonialism, which subsequently led to the birth and spread of unionism and liberation movements across the African continent between the 1950s and 1990s.
The desire to self-rule and the quest for nationhood prompted many movements like the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), Movement for the People’s Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the African National Congress of South Africa (Martin and Johnson, 1981).
Msiska (2001:150) defines African nationalism as: “A subjective feeling of kinship or affinity shared by people of African descent.
It is a feeling based on shared cultural norms, traditional institutions, racial heritage and a common historical experience.”
The colonial experience and its attendant colonial trauma are central in the depiction of African nationalism and liberation movements in African literature.
This depiction, however, is not only limited to the positive attributes of both nationalism and liberation, as the enduring colonial experience remains to weigh down on the post-colonial nation state after political independence.
This rationale obtains in The Non-Believer’s Journey, Mayombe and Echoing Silences.
The essence of nation and what constitutes nationalism remain an area of contestation.
As Amilcar Cabral points out there in Unity and Struggle (1973): “Struggle is a normal condition of all living creatures in the world. All are in struggle. . . We advance towards the struggle secure in the reality of our land (with our feet planted on the ground).”
He maintains: “It is not necessary to unite all the population to struggle in a country. Are we sure that all the population are united?
No, a certain degree of unity is enough. Once we have reached it then we can struggle.”
The idea, therefore, is nationalism and freedom cannot be achieved without ideological vision, for individuals will always see issues differently.
Not everyone can go to war in defence of a shared ideal, but a few will go and represent the others.
What is required, however, is not only to allow space for the third space outside the binary ‘either’, ‘or’ but to pull towards one goal; unity.
But could this unity be possible if there is no clarity in ideological vision and individuals remain outside the realm of unity because of gender, ethnicity and socio-cultural background.
In the end, ‘colonialism’, which De Waal (1991) defines as a word used by those who have been colonised, not by the colonisers themselves, does not seem to have departed from the doorsteps of the post-colonial nation state.
Nationalism, which is birthed from the same colonialism appear to be hamstrung as liberation movements deviate from their original ethos.
No wonder there was ‘Operation Restore Legacy’ in Zimbabwe in November 2017! It was a quest to reroute to the founding principles of the liberation struggle.
Let us unite and preserve our nation as one people!