By Shephard Majengete
THERE is a very close relationship between religion and politics that can easily translate to life or death of a race.
And, if Africans cannot read this fact, that is exactly what is going to lead to the demise of whatever is left of the original African civilisation.
Beginning with slavery in the racist world, slaves were given a new religion and named after their ‘masters’.
If they were mere ‘animals’ only good for labour, why bother forcing them to practice the religion of their ‘masters’.
Forcing them to adopt a new religion was a depersonalisation procedure repeated with each resale or change of ownership, so that in the end, any family history was severely distorted to the point of being untraceable.
African space was being rearranged and renamed, informed by hostile and racist attitudes.
As a people, we live and live on in the religious institutions that we follow.
A religion sustains and immortalises the vision of its followers.
Any nation’s vision should be clearly legible not only in its curricula, but the religious institutions too.
A nation’s and national religion should be indicative of the ideological direction being taken by the nation.
Tragically, most of us have been made to believe that in order for us to develop and become modern, we have to de-Africanise ourselves, first and foremost, and become Western by all means necessary, chief of which is adopting foreign religions especially those from the West.
This unfortunate and costly assumption partly explains why we have come to regard the politics, goods and cultural values from the West as superior and, therefore, preferable to anything home-grown and indigenous.
But does development and modernisation of our societies need to be a a process in which we do away with everything African?
Why is it that the Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Malaysians and Koreans have become modern and successful without having to surrender their cultural identities as peoples of Asia?
The Asians are not eager to identify themselves as Westerners.
The Asian success story tells us that it is possible to develop ourselves and our African societies without having to sacrifice all those values and identities which define us as a distinct people.
We need to develop and yes we need to make use of knowledge and influences from outside Africa to promote that development, but without abandoning our values as Africans, as Zimbabweans.
Our ideological cornerstone should be rooted in the national consciousness; it boils down to one thing, that is serving our Creator while celebrating and upholding one’s Zimbabwean-ness and Africanness — never once forgetting that tiri vanhu vatema.
Our African traditional practices are not just directed by seeking salvation and joy in the afterlife but to also have a meaningful and happy life here on earth.
It is the colonial legacy that created a situation where there was no match between the religious and national life. Religions were urged to stay out of politics yet national leaders are said to be ordained by God.
For a religion to be meaningful, it must respond to the needs of a people. And to do so, it must be directed by a people’s philosophy.
A people’s philosophy then directs the people’s worldview.
The worldview in turn then dictates the people’s actions, highlighting whom they want to be in the family of nations.
Being Zimbabwean means living as a better African; the best version of a Zimbabwean one can be.
And being the best version of a Zimbabwean means, in practical terms, being an engineer, driver, pilot, teacher or whatever, who serves Zimbabwe and Africans because he/she has Zimbabwe and Africa at heart.
Patriotism is a deep love for the motherland while unhu/ubuntu is what drives us.
Humanity towards others, working for the country in every sphere, social, political and economic is what being Zimbabwean is all about, always.
Our thrust is on the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all Zimbabweans and all humanity.
To be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognising the humanity of others and, on that basis, establish respectful human relations with them.
As Zimbabweans, we have worked hard to do away with the colonial mentality, a terrible disease of the mind.
Victims of colonial mentality have suffered from a terrible inferiority complex in relation to the whiteman and the West in general.
The poor sufferers of this disease have taken the whiteman, everyone from the West, as the paragon of excellence, while the black sufferer looks down upon himself and all blacks as inferior beings capable of doing only ordinary things and nothing extra-ordinary.
Furthermore, the black sufferer always looks to the whiteman to take the lead in everything because he is assumed to be superior in farming, science, industry, commerce, education, language, culture manners or etiquette, books, jokes, mining, everything.
We have worked hard to get rid of that colonial mentality from our people.
Let us remind one another that the whiteman will never come back to do good things for us.
The whiteman never did good things for the blackman in the past, why should he come back and do good things this time around.
Vision 2030, of an upper-middle income economy, will be realised by Zimbabweans.
The cry for the whiteman we hear day and night from some of our fellow brothers and sisters is a complete waste of time and tears.
Munhu mutema is at the centre of developing Zimbabwe.
However, the same West which has been driven out of Africa has not given up on its quest to grab African resources for its own use!
It can be argued that Western mischief-making in Africa is at its height right now, more so when most of Western economies are now in decline.