The Long-Awaited Dawn is divided into three parts, following a fairly consistent chronological line. The line narrates the story of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, in relation to other parts of the world. Its title is apt. The dawn of a new-democratic dispensation has been long delayed in Zimbabwe. The wait continues and questions followed: When will the dawn come? Does one’s patience run out in the meantime? Or can small rays of light be found in the midst of gloom?
The sub-title of this book is also apt. Tracing the narrative of Rhodesia through to Zimbabwe through the lens of church social teaching is very unusual. Those who do attempt to tell this extended story, and they are few, normally make dominant use of other lenses – be they political, sociological, historical or whatever! The lens of social teaching is distinct and is a major strength of this book.
In his foreword to the book, Cardinal Wilfred Napier, Archbishop of Durban, refers to the Second Vatican Council; statement:
“The joy and the hope, the grief and the anguish of the men of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. For nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. Theirs is a community composed of men who, united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, press onward the kingdom of the Father and are bearers of a message of salvation intended for all men. That is why Christians cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.” (G & S, 1).
“This statement is the basis for the church’s commitment to continuing to work out and implement its social teaching, which derives from the revelation of God’s will for humankind in natural law, in the scriptures and in the tradition of the church,” writes Napier.
“Foremost among this teaching is the supreme value of human life, because it is the breath of God. The right to life is sacred and thus first among human rights recognised and codified in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations, and in national Constitutions. This supreme right, and not narrow political ideologies or motives, is the reason for the Church’s concern about what is happening in Zimbabwe.
“Therefore, until human rights and, in particular, the right to life and dignity of every citizen, are fully recognised and respected, the Church will join its voice with those who are decrying the current political, social and economic chaos, resulting in much inhuman suffering. May God be merciful and deliver the people of Zimbabwe from their trials and tribulations by bringing them to mutual acceptance, respect and fraternity,” writes the Archbishop.
Significant events, especially post-independence (1980), are described, sometimes in considerable detail, and insight into the major personalities who shaped the narrative is offered. Political manipulation whether pre or post-independence is a constant theme; democracy has become more an aspiration and mirage than a reality. The author’s experience of growing up in this undemocratic milieu and his involvement in Justice and Peace issues are woven into the text and add zest to the narrative.
The distinctive character to this book – being written from the lens of the Church’s social teaching and its noble vision – contrasts with the reality on the ground. The book keeps this vision alive. It also provides a message of hope seen in the widespread acceptance of a new home-grown Constitution and in the desire of the people of Zimbabwe for healing, reconciliation and renewal of society.
The root causes of the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe continue to be greed, indifference, discrimination, corrupt governance, abuse of power and a warped ideology of nationalism. All of this reflects a great lack of spirituality and morality. The concept “warped ideology” requires unpacking.
It refers to a mentality which says: “we are the ones who fought and died for freedom; we drove out the colonial farmers; we gave the land back to the people; only those with the credentials of the revolutionary struggle have the right to rule this country”. The narrative of this warped ideology is told within the pages of this book. It is one of political intrigue, power-politics, arrogance, self-justification and apportioning blame.
It is a narrative with a violent edge. The violence was extreme during the mid-1980s (Gukurahundi), but much violence was also associated with land redistribution, urban displacement and political elections in the New Millennium. The author is keenly aware of violence in recent times and does not hesitate to describe it.
The book ends with a message of hope. Hope is provided by the new Constitution. It is also seen in the desire of Zimbabweans for healing and reconciliation.
“The book is ambitious in its chronological span, and thus no more than a sketch is offered at times. However, there is considerable detail in certain sections, especially in relating the story of elections from 2000 to 2013. Here the narrative has a violent edge which the author does not hesitate to describe”. Fr. Michael Bennett, Justice and Peace Chaplain, Diocese of Tzaneen.
(From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe through the lens of Church Social Teaching)
Author: Albert Hororo
Foreword by Wilfred Cardinal Napier OFM
Edited and Introduction by
Fr Michael Bennet
ISBN No 978-1-920339-60-9
Printed by Marrianhill Mission Press
For more info contact the author:
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Next week we will publish an excerpt from the book.
Don’t miss it!Post published in: Entertainment