Nehanda’s bones not yet risen – as she didn’t die for White Rhodesia to be replaced by Black Rhodesia!

Yesterday, the 7th July 2020, I took time to watch the usual post-Cabinet media briefing, beamed live on state television - whereby, several government ministers update the nation on their deliberations during meetings of the country's executive arm, and policies adopted, thereof, in addressing Zimbabwe's never-ending, always-intensifying, and seldom-resolved challenges - when, at the conclusion of this press conference, journalists (and, the hapless viewing population, at large) were treated to an obviously hurriedly and shoddily cobbled together short documentary on the planned erection of a statue of Zimbabwe's gallant and valiant heroine of the 1896 - 1897 first Chimurenga/Umvukela (uprising) against White settler rule - Mbuya Nehanda Nyikasikana.

Mbuya Nehanda

Due to the short docie’s apparent drab and lacklustre appeal, it was so easy for me to drift away into dreamland, where I started deeply contemplating on how the same Mbuya Nehanda – who, irregardless of appreciating the losing battle she, and her fearless warriors, were clearly confronting, considering that all they had were spears and clubs, yet facing off a well-armed and non-tolerant foe, nonetheless, proceeded, undeterred, with their mightily valorous and unrelenting mission – would have thought about the current crop of leaders we have presiding over the now ‘independent’ Zimbabwe.

I could not stop wondering – had she been alive today – whether she would have been proud of those people who loudly, boisterously, and self-conceitdedly never waste a chance to remind the rest of us poor mortals, that they “liberated us from colonial bondage and domination”, as if we were somehow indebted to them.

Would she have been congratulating this ruling clique, who have now formed their own privileged elitist fortress and laager, and feels entitled to all the country’s wealth and resources for their own self-aggrandizement – whilst, the rest of the population (including those who actually carried guns, and fought in the subsequent liberation struggle of the 1960s and 70s) wallowing in abject poverty?

Was she, and other dauntless and unshakable men and women of valor – like Sekuru Kaguvi Gumboreshumba and Mlimo (in Matebeleland) – prepared to face obvious death, as they were clearly out-weaponed by the colonial British South African Company military, so that those aptly named ‘vadzvanyiriri’ (oppressors), ‘vasveta simba’ (blood suckers), and ‘vapambi vepfuma’ (looters and wealth grabbers), could be replaced by a similar group, but only this time, being Blacks?

In fact, are we to believe that, had the leaders of the first Chimurenga/Umvukela – Nehanda, Kaguvi, Mlimo, and others – succeeded in their battle against the settlers, they would have established their own elitist, overly-privileged, and exclusive junta, taken over everything (at the exclusion of the rest of the local population, including their own warriors, who would have been at the forefront of the war, and faced, head-on, the bullets of the enemy), as well as looted and accumulated all the gold and wealth for themselves?

Would it have even been remotely imaginable, that Nehanda, Kaguvi, Mlimo, and other leaders of the struggle, could have started brutalizing, beating up, abducting, torturing, mass raping, and butchering their own people, who would have expressed disdain, dissatisfaction, and dissent over this hypothetical looting, plundering, and atrocious injustices meted by those in power?

The answer to all these questions would have been a resounding and unequivocal, NO!

So, why did these indisputably courageous men and women partake in this most dangerous and fatal confrontation with the settler establishment?

It is quite simple to understand. All they wanted was for the situation to go back to how it was before the arrival of the settlers.

What was that situation like?

It was the typical African way of running a nation. The same way that our ancestors would have done it – where members of the community shared equitably the resources and wealth of the nation – since true Africanism embraces everyone in the community (irrespective of social or political station), as worthy of their dignity, and treated with respect and honour.

That is why, even today, Africans have such sayings as, “there is no such thing as an orphan, as every child belongs to the community” – and as such, every member of that community would benefit equitably to the abundant resources of that nation – including, widows, the elderly, and orphans.

Yet, what we witness in ‘modern day’, and ‘independent’ Zimbabwe, makes a truly disturbing and embarrassing mockery of who we are as a people – whereby, those who loudly purport to have ‘fought for our liberation’ (but, were largely nowhere near the front-lines of the brutal and bloody war against the Rhodesian army during the second Chimurenga/Umvukela) have turned into replicas of the same colonial institution that they claim to have removed.

In fact, based on historical fact – the current Zimbabwe regime is far much worse than the Rhodesians, as the White community appreciated the true value of equitably sharing the nation’s resources and wealth amongst themselves, with the inevitable overflow reaching the rest of us, such that life for most Black Rhodesians was arguably much better than under ‘independent’ Zimbabwe…where the Black rulers care nothing for the rest of their own kith and kin, as long as they are outside the elitist opportunistic mafia class.

Save for a very few who are truly ‘enjoying the ‘fruits of independence’ – the rest of the nation: nurses, teachers, military and security officers, war veterans, students, business people, the self-employed and unemployed, and even ZANU PF grassroots members, have all been left out in the cold of this ‘independence’…abandoned to the caprices and unkindness of the economic ruin caused by the ruling junta’s greed and selfishness.

Thus, as thes same looters and plunderers erect the statue of our grand and great heroine, Mbuya Nehanda Nyikasikana, they should also remember that that same astute and gallant lady promised – at her execution by the settler administration, that, “My bones will rise” – as she prophesied that, in spite of her brutal killing, the genuine desire of the children of this great nation (for equity, development, prosperity, and respect for human dignity) would be realized sooner or later.

Indeed, that prophesy was not in vain – but, not as this current regime of mercenaries, who hijacked the liberation struggle for their own self-serving, power-greedy, and repressive unAfrican agendas, would want everyone to believe.

As long as the real desires and aspirations of such heroic luminaries as Nehanda, Kaguvi, and Mlimo – which made them face off imminent death – are not fulfilled, then her bones have certainly NOT risen yet.

Even those, who were previously abused and misused by this rogue and pariah junta – to violently and brutally protect their perverted and sadistic anti-Nehanda immoral corrupt greed, and ill-gotten wealth – need to seriously reevaluate their stance, by joining the correct side of history – which is, the side of Mbuya Nehanda. The side of justice. The side of equity, and equality. The side of Ubuntu.

Let is not normalise what is clearly not normal. Let us not normalise impoverishment. Let us not normalise queuing for food handouts. Let us not normalize living from hand to mouth. Let us not normalize the enrichment of a few in the ruling elite, whilst the rest of us can not even afford medication, basic food stuff, decent accommodation, and school fees.

It is not normal for over 90 percent of the population to be out of work. It is not normal for millions of Zimbabweans to endure untold hardships and xenophobic attacks in foreign countries, just because they can not make ends meet in their own motherland. It is not normal for our children growing up not even certain if they will be able to make it in life. It is not normal for one section of the population to be deployed to kill, abduct, beat up, rape, or torture their own fellow country men and women.

Therefore, as the statue of Mbuya Nehanda raises in the capital Harare, let it serve as a constant and unambiguous reminder to all Zimbabweans – who respect, honour, and treasure the pure values she stood for – to ensure that “Her bones truly rise again”, by steadfastly, resolutely, and unshakeably stand up for her aspirations and convictions for a Zimbabwe for all its citizens…and not for just a few.

As failure to do so, is as good as betraying and cursing these most respectable and honoured true heroes of Zimbabwe – and, is akin to taking down that statue, and throwing it into the fire!

©️ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is also available for those requiring editing, writing, and/or researching services for non-fiction and fiction books; advocacy and publicity material; press/media releases, and articles; policy blueprints; public speeches; manifestos; corporate or organization reports, documents; and university thesis/dissertations, etc. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Calls: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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