If there are Zimbabweans who love suffering…fine – but I’m surely not one of them!

A couple of years ago, probably in 2017, I recall asking my dear wife Tinta why there were always those employees who appeared all too willing to be told what to do by their bosses at every turn (as if they lacked initiative), and were easily pushed around.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


In fact, these workers seemed to love being at the beck and call of their employers – such that, if given the chance, would literally carry their bosses around all day on their own backs!

The answer from Tinta was swift, straight, and simple – without any hesitation she said, “There are people like that, who actually need to be under someone else, want to be told what to do, and will not be able to function on their own”.

Wow, right there I knew she was absolutely correct – since, I have always regarded her as the wise, insightful, and discerning one in our marriage…and, her response has been firmly engraved in my memory ever since.

This takes me back to around 2007 – at the height of the debate over the proposed domestic violence act in Zimbabwe – when I was watching the ever-popular Mai Chisamba Show on ZTV, whereby, as to be expected on the talkshow, there was a fierce furore about the merits and demerits of such a law.

What I found quite interesting, though, was the shockingly huge number of women who were rabidly vocal against this legislation – which they viewed as an utterly unacceptable attack on our culture and values as Africans and Zimbabweans – further starting that, a husband had every right to “discipline” the wife he had paid lobola for, in any manner he deemed fit…and in fact, a man who did not beat up his woman, did not love her!

As disturbing and incredible as this may seem, there were more females fighting against the domestic violence act than were males – most of them being married, who accused gender rights activists of being unmarried women, who not only had no idea of what marriage entailed, but also were sexually loose individuals, who sought to wreck other people’s homes.

They argued that, domestic issues should remain within the home – and, anyone who sought to assist (or rather, interfere) would be considered unfavorably, and more likely their efforts resisted, even by the abused themselves.

These worrisome scenes have also, unfortunately, stuck with me ever.

What all these illustrations clearly showed was that – in this world, there were those who actually did not mind suffering, and as matter of fact loved being subjugated and abused, and appeared to thrive in such a toxic environment.

This also showed that such people would readily defend (violently, if need be) their oppressors and abusers – in what many psychologists may regard as a severe and most troubling case of the “Stockholm Syndrome”.

Have we not encountered church members who become so unreasonably enraged and murderously infuriated towards any who dare question their leaders’ credibility and authenticity – going as far as threatening physical bodily harm (or, even carrying out this threat), without ever taking the time to give serious thought to the veracity of the accusations?

This then brings us to the people of Zimbabwe in general.

The manner in which most of us have been so docile in the face of apparent oppression, suffering, and impoverishment induced by the country’s ruling elite, in itself is most worrying.

However, the fact that there are even some amongst us – a very significant portion of the population – actually prepared to fiercely defend and protect our oppressors and abusers, is on its own perturbing level of insanity and revulsion.

Indeed, as with the examples we have already alluded to – in any society, there is always bound to be that group of people who want to be oppressed, and even seem to derive some depraved masochistic enjoyment from suffering and pain.

These are the type of people we often see, willingly supporting a ruling establishment that has authored the cruel destruction of our once prosperous motherland Zimbabwe – into a shameful laughing stock of the entire globe, including by countries (usually, war-torn) that would normally be considered basketcases in their own right.

These are the people, in spite of their own poverty and lack, would loudly speak against all those exposing the rampant looting of our vast national resources by a few in the highest echelons of power, with their sidekicks (and, sidechicks), families, and dubious business buddies.

We have watched, in profound disbelief and dismay, hordes of ruling party supporters allowing themselves to be used to met out violent aggression towards the opposition – yet, seemingly oblivious to the fact that, they are just as much victims of the powers-that-be’s incompetence, mismanagement, and corruption as the rest of us who are standing up, and speaking out, against this rot.

However, this should never shock me, as Tinta’s words will forever ring in my ears – “There are people like that, who actually need to be under someone else, want to be told what to do, and will not be able to function on their own”.

Indeed, as sad as it may be, we will forever have such people – who will stand with their tormentors, and fight those who seek a better life for them.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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