We are all Zimbos: Ubuntu blues

We are all part of a collective struggle. I say this on good authority and many who realise that being an African means living on the fringes of the free, share my viewpoint.

We need to build one another up to totally break free. The xenophobic attacks witnessed in South Africa demonstrated the ‘brokenness’ of our way. We all know that Zimbabwe and Mozambique helped South Africa attain its freedom. These

two nations reached out in solidarity and unity during the dark days of apartheid. Our grandfathers worked in mines, gardens and kitchens of South Africa. They had the same masters. We all had the same oppressors. I grew up on stories of Sophia town narrated by uncles returning from Egoli where they had gone to work. Some of them brought back wives from Qumbu and Ixopo.

This is how Africans have always lived their lives. The only difference between Dandora, Kenya and Alexandra is merely geographical distance. Our villages look the same, our townships have the same original purpose.

We share a path well travelled by our ancestors. We share languages, ideologies, values and a shade darker than blue. Sadza, Sima, Nshima, Posho, Ugali, Ngima, and Oshifima are no different from Pap. The ‘Zulu’ surname can be found in-between handshakes at Kwa Ngilazi in Enkonjeni, Kwazulu Natal and around the corner from Mwinilunga Bar in Matero, Lusaka. All these things led me to believe that killing another African is like killing your own brother or sister.

The ideology is not indigenous to South Africa, but to Sub Saharan Africa. The Zimbabweans call it Unhu. The Burundians call it Ubuntu and in Uganda and Tanzania it’s known as Obuntu. Our way is linked and it’s up to us to exercise unity and humanity to advance our legacy.

Our kinfolk on the continent look to South Africa because they believe in South Africa, not only as a country, but also as a beacon of democratic freedom. The vicious attacks on fellow Africans by South Africans show a lack of civil education within the general population on the very foundation of ‘Ubuntu’.

Apartheid left a legacy in us that is only coming to the fore now, that black is bad, therefore a black foreign national coming from another African country is even worse. Africans cannot pay the price for poor local service delivery because of their mere addition to the population.

I’m a Zimbabwean and I say we are all Zimbabweans. I have Shangani roots, but apparently this might be a problem to some of our brothers and sisters. We are all related to one tribe or the other but it’s critical to acknowledge the unity that exists in a shared destiny.

The media wrote that South Africa is a nation at battle with itself and the horrific images plastered across newspapers and websites bear testament to the calamity of the situation. This is not only in South Africa but also across the continent. What do we need to do to grow as a collective? How do we right the wrongs of the past and restore pride and dignity in our people?

‘A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed’ – Archbishop Tutu

Elder Drake Koka spoke of freeing the mind and liberating African genius. This is what we all need to strive towards. Our former freedom fighters are getting bloated on wine, big cars and suburban bliss but on the other hand there are those freedom fighters who are about the people and for the people. These are the people who gave their time, prayer, property, and a shoulder to cry on during the aftermath of the attacks. These are the people who symbolise the possibility of a unified Africa.

We need national, local, traditional, social, religious, and spiritual leaders to use their persuasive skills to ignite a movement of intervention and unity. Our people need to know our history. We need civil education to be implemented by our leaders and we need to identify issues that hold us back and not group people on colour, geography and social class.

We want our collective intelligence to be the backbone of our progress on this continent. We want our children to be proud of their roots not only as children of a tribe but also as children of Africa.

Mr. President we want action on your part. We want the state hospitals to provide the care that is needed. We want the education system to become the most important tool to progress our nation. The police should be our protectors and not conspirators. Africans should not be known as refugees. We are neighbours on this continent.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *