Zimbabweans’ readiness to accept mediocrity is why we’re so easy to oppress!

In life different people have different expectations, values, and ambitions.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

There are those who dream big, know what they are worth, and expect the very best.

And, there are those who are more than grateful with whatever life throws at them – even when that means being taken for granted, and always given the short end of the stick.

These are type of people who would thank you, and even glorify your name, for throwing them a few slices of rotten bread – despite the fact that you are the very same person who caused their hunger, by denying them food, in the first place.

This is in stark contrast to those who know who they are, what they deserve in life, and will never compromise their worth – who steadfastly refuse to settle for the mediocre, or be treated as second class citizens.

Tragically, though, the former group – those who hold no ambitions beyond the bare basics of life – far outnumber the latter, more so in our country Zimbabwe.

In fact, in our country, those who demand the best, and refuse the mediocre are labeled, “unpatriotic”!

Which explains our continued oppression by those in authority.

Surely, how can anyone explain a resident who has not had a single drop of running water in his home for over three months, and piles of stinking uncollected rubbish gathering into a little hill outside his house – all largely due to incompetent lackluster service delivery by local authorities – suddenly, heap the very authors of this misery with unbridled praises and glory, after finally being provided three days of running water, and the garbage eventually removed?

The same applies to residents, who go for hours or even days, without any electricity – thereby, being immensely inconvenienced in both their home and work plans, as a result of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption in the power utility – yet, screaming in hysterical excitement when power is finally restored.

We then have citizens – who have endured the indignity and pain of unemployment for years, regardless of their high learning, caused by an economic mess created by the ruling elite’s unmitigated ineptitude, and grand looting of national resources – but shockingly, sing and ululate, in wild transports of jubilation, after being given some handouts, or even small laughable so-called “empowerment projects”.

This, in spite of the fact that, had the economy been managed properly and functional, they would have been following their life-long dreams – and, not forced into agriculture, “income generating projects”, or artisanal mining, which they certainly never liked, nor studied for at university or college – but would have been living a life of luxury and plenty, as they earned big from what they truly desired and enjoyed doing.

Is it never perturbing, watching villagers exhorting the virtues of our country’s leaders – after being donated a few agricultural inputs, for small scale subsistence farming, that only manages to feed their families – yet, those in power own vast tracts of land, in a country large enough to accommodate most villagers into owning their own commercial plots?

Can anything be more shocking than well educated men and women pushing and shoving each other, as they battle to get onto the few ZUPCO buses, or illegal pirate taxis (“mushikashika”) available to ferry them to and from home – who should, in a normal country, be owning their own motor vehicles, but seemingly not seeing anything wrong with that picture?

What about teachers, who are forced by economic circumferences, to seek lodgings (usually, a room or two) at properties owned by their pupils’ parents – as a result, stripping them of all respectability, and leaving them open to ridicule by those they teach?

Why are we so comfortable with the mediocre?

Why do we even appear excited and proud of the clearly humiliating lowering of our standards as citizens of Zimbabwe?

Maybe, that is why we find those who actually celebrate the construction of a “world-class” international airport, or a “modern” parliament building, as some form of “development” – which will most likely only be used by the wealthy and powerful – whilst, they themselves are content with staying in ramshackle houses, and selling tomatoes at street corners.

Where then, do we find the strength and courage to stand up for our rights, when the very worst the country has to offer, seems good enough for us?

Admittedly, there are those who appear naturally inclined to look down upon themselves, never believing that they are worth much, or not deserving the “fat of the land”, and are satisfied with whatever falls on their laps – however, when this group begins to look like it is the majority of the population, then this becomes hugely problematic.

In the end, we ourselves make it so easy for those in power to take us for granted, and abuse us.

Are we not still stuck in the old colonial mindset, whereby when we asked for higher salaries equivalent to our white counterparts, our employers would retort, “what do you need all that money for, since all what you people need is a plate of sadza and vegetables!”

Sadly, most of us have hardly moved from that position – as we have accepted that we are alright with the least.

Quite frankly, unless we start boldly demanding bigger and better for ourselves – we will forever be given the worst, whilst those in power eat the best!

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer 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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