If Rhodesians of 1923 had made different decision maybe Zimbabweans would have better leaders today!

Again, we woke up this morning to a dark Redcliff town - electricity having been gone since around midnight - coupled by hours of rain, rendering everything outside drenched to the core.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


The only option left being to attempt a miracle of cooking the little breakfast an average Zimbabwean can afford (in a country where 74% earn less than US$5.50 a day) on soaked firewood.

Not to mention that, in the same suburb, residents have not had a single drop of tap water in their homes for the past six months – and, if signals emanating from the government are anything to go by (with their recently announced “Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme”, which the ruling elite appears proud and thrilled about) most urban dwellers in Zimbabwe will not be enjoying the pleasures of a warm shower in the foreseeable future.

Under these unbearable and unacceptable deplorable conditions, one can be forgiven for lamenting – what wrong have we committed as Zimbabweans to deserve such a leadership?

Are we being cursed or punished?

Where on this planet can one come across a country not at war, where an average citizen’s monthly wage is below US$253, and nearly 50% of the population survive in extreme poverty on less than US$1.90 a day – whilst, half earn below the food poverty line, with 3.5 million children said to be in chronic hunger?

Indeed, there is no government on Earth that can be honestly said to be perfect (as no human being is infallible) – such that, challenges are to be expected in any country – however, what we find in Zimbabwe breaks all records of notoriety, incompetence, and wickedness, as it became harder with each passing day to spot any identifiable positives.

No wonder, when I woke up this morning, in the midst of utter darkness, my first thought was – would it not have been far much better had we been a part of South Africa?

In a moment of heightened frustration and desperation, in a seemingly god-forsaken country, it becomes so easy to wish history had panned out differently – with such thoughts as, if only Rhodesians, who were given a chance in a October 27, 1922 referendum to either become a so-called “responsible government”, or join the Union of South Africa, had chosen the latter.

Unfortunately for us today, 59% of voters went for establishing a “responsible government” – subsequently granted on October 1, 1923 – which for Zimbabweans today, left us in the hands of a ruling elite which is anything but “responsible”.

Of course, we should always treasure our independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity as Zimbabwe – in spite of the fact that, the entire concept of a country between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, was in itself, a colonial idea, formulated during the “Partitioning of Africa”, or “Scramble for Africa” European conquest period of 1881 to 1914.

Nonetheless, one is allowed to dream – and, when I do not have a well-paying job, living in poverty, unable to afford to adequately cater for my family, as well as lack of water in our home, and electricity that goes whenever it feels like – I believe I have every right to wish for the impossible, if only just to make myself feel better.

And, right now, I am wishing we were the northernmost province of South Africa!

Even if electricity went – since they are also experiencing immense challenges with their own Eskom – at least, I would definitely have had a very well-paying job, that would enable me to easily opt for other alternatives, such as solar power, or gas (liquid petroleum), thereafter enjoy a hearty wholesome breakfast, take a good comforting warm shower, and drive to work in a lovely car filled with fuel I could afford.

That, to an ordinary Zimbabwean, as myself, is a dream worth dreaming!

Yet, I find myself having to sit in a suburban house filled with choking smoke – as we try to cook on a fire (in our fireplace) fueled by moist firewood, after which, I will bath using a small half-filled bucket of water fetched from a faraway borehole, and then hope to do some work that does not even earn me enough to adequately feed my family.

And, that is the story of average Zimbabweans – ones who actually consider themselves “blessed”, as the majority are even worse off.

So, who can fault me for spending a few minutes dreaming of how life could have been, had the Rhodesians of 1923 voted to join the Union of South Africa?

As a matter of fact, is that not why millions of Zimbabweans have actually fled to their southern neighbor – legally or illegally – for a much better livelihood than the suffering and impoverishment in their home country?

© 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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