By Tawanda Chenana

WE, in the village, are very particular about stories, especially of where we come from.

To know one’s origins firmly secures your place in the village; it informs you of your capabilities, even your rights and benefits.

In the village, you will be a joke if you do not know your story, the story of your family.

And as we rebuild our nation, isu vene venyika, do we know who we are, what we represent in the family of nations.

How many pages, as a nation, collectively, have we set aside for the specific purpose of telling our story.

It appears there is very limited space devoted to this very important story.

Of course we know the dates, when this party and that party was formed, when this movement began, the first spear thrown and the first bullet fired.

But do we really know the stories behind these epic moments?

How did we lose our indepence?

Who were we before colonisation?

Do we remember our political and economic systems before they were rudely interrupted by the colonisers? 

How did African countries get into the position where they had to fight for their very lives.

Did our people just get to fight for independence for no apparent reason.

Has the question; fight who or what and why really been explained, especially to the younger generations. 

As we build our country brick-by-brick, our story must be told loud and clear. The forces of imperialism cannot be safe in our country because they interfere with ongoing development efforts.

Our children will not understand why the country has to be built by its owners, the rationale for talking about vene venyika, without us also telling them about how the Westerners got together and parceled out Africa in order to exploit its riches for their benefit to the exclusion of us the owners of the land.

We will successfully build our nation if our children, who must defend and protect what is being built, know and understand that they are heirs of a very rich country; if they know that they have been victims of a vicious racist colonial system that left them in poverty hence the current redress.

Our children must know that they are special; who they are, what is happening around them and, most importantly, the forces that threaten them and want to steal what is rightfully theirs.

For our edifice to grow and not crumble, our children must have a correct perspective of themselves and their circumstances. 

It is not normal to be so richly endowed with incredible resources and to then wallow in poverty. Our children need to know that something is seriously wrong for this to be so, and when this anomaly is not explained or discussed at all, they become disillusioned.

Our former colonisers do not want us to get out of poverty for we will no longer need them if we all become self-sufficient.

And our children must know this.

And the only way they will know this is by telling them the story of their people.
When we deprive our children of the story of their people, they are disempowered and become vulnerable to predators.

Let us not rob our children of their patriotism by denying them the story which makes them who they are? In the village we grew up on the story of vanamukoma, ana mujibha and chimbwido, vana muzvinachitoro who supported the guerillas. 

The stories helped us understand and appreciate what it means to be Zimbabwean.

It is essential to remember that the right to tell our story, to determine our trajectory, was hijacked by the British imperialists and only reinstated through the blood of thousands of Zimbabweans who willingly laid down their lives for the freedom of their countrymen.

Our children need the story of their country, and need to be fed with it constantly so that they are not defined by other people.

Our story will open the faculties of our children so that they can fully appreciate their reality and enable them to see the chains and learn how to remove them and never be chained again.

Let us not tell short stories about ourselves and very long narratives about people in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

It would seem our children have already learned all they can about Zimbabwe and the lives lived in its 10 provinces; about our relatives in Southern Africa; about the whole of Africa; the Third World; now that we are tasking them to spend their time learning more about foreign lands thousands of miles away.

Our children need their story, in unabridged version, so that they fully appreciate and understand why nyika ichivakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe liyakwa ngabanikazi.


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