The generation that broke Zimbabwe’s soul

One of the most memorable moments in my teenage years was when my father sat me down for our last man-to-boy chat. I was 14 years old.

He told me I had to start taking responsibilities that the man usually takes. He gave a list of things including inspecting and ensuring that the cattle kraal was properly closed each night.

The first few days after our chat, he would double check to ensure I had done what was expected. Then he let me take full responsibility. He would consult me, just to teach me to give my views.

A mutual relationship between the generations was thus nurtured by my father. I saw a similar nurturing culture taking place at village head and chief level. This passing on of knowledge, skills and responsibility has allowed smooth transitions between generations.

In the early 2000s, my father lamented that this was not repeated at national government level. He said generations coming after the Zanu (PF) era would need to start all over again, as the party was still fighting for things that were relevant in the 1970s and before and had no idea about what was relevant in the modern times.

Zimbabwe’s Generation Me had taken the country in 1980 and, like a dog with a bone, would seek to keep it to themselves – even from their own children.

He said they saw free thinking as a threat and did everything they could to choke initiation. They demanded that we all join them but then “you had to pretend that you have no brains of your own”.

Under their reign the country went bankrupt, and lost the honour of having its own currency. At least a third of the population got pushed out and is now scattered in foreign lands.

Generation Me sat on developmental plans and many Zimbabweans died needlessly due to collapse of the healthcare system. This generation sees people as expendable. They never had a vision and they mistrust anyone who has.

What makes our problem worse is the fact that Generation Me does not trust younger generations, they do not even trust their own children. Instead of at least grooming their own children to take over from them, they encourage them to leave the country.

As far as this bunch is concerned Zimbabwe was born when we voted them into power, and it will die when they die. Zimbabwe is theirs – not ours at all.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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