It is quite understandable for parents – who themselves would be terribly exhausted from the day’s hectic schedule, in order to bring home the bacon – to find this further requisition on their time rather irritating and frustrating, when the only thing they desperately desire is to put their feet up, whilst sipping upon a refreshing soft drink, and watching television.
However, not only is engaging in this undertaking a crucial investment in our children’s futures – but also, carries with it another far much broader benefit for our country at large.
Yesterday, as I was conducting my now usual daily “extra lessons” with my son – in which, after his return from school (where there is virtually no teaching to talk about happening, on account of teacher moral at its lowest ebb), and over the weekends, we have intense lessons in the various subjects he does – I had an opportunity to teach him on Pan-Africanism and the liberation movement.
I found the material they had to investigate and critically think about most intriguing, as I spotted a wide opening for our children to be shown how the objectives of iconic Pan-Africanists and the liberation movement, have largely been subverted and perverted by some within the current crop of African leaders, with the main culprits being the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Zimbabwe administration.
There can be no greater chance to enlighten our children – whom, we have always accused of being apathetic towards this country’s future, in the midst of troubling political immaturity and disinterest, and an unwillingness to participate in electoral processes – on how the objectives of such ideals as Pan-Africanism and our liberation struggle, as freedom, equal opportunities, economic emancipation, and political power to all the citizenry, have been callously and systematically undermined and corrupted by the Zimbabwe ruling elitist privileged clique.
In teaching or assisting our children with their learning, let us never shy away from telling them the blunt truth as to why our country finds itself in such a deplorable and horrendous state, and how those in power have mercilessly and shamelessly looted our national resources – which were supposed to be equitably shared amongst the nation – for their own self-aggrandizement, whilst the majority of the population were abandoned to live in abject misery and poverty.
Let us give them tangible examples of such dirty devious deals, as the Pomona Waste Management looting scheme – that is intended to suck dry an already cash-strapped Harare City Council, which had already been unable to provide adequate services to residents, with some without tap water in their homes for years – yet, required by central government to fork out US$20,000 a day to a shady company, that was never subjected to proper tender processes.
We can also illuminate them as to why roads in our neighborhoods remain largely unmaintained, local clinics seldom having basic medications especially when needed the most, and piles of garbage remaining uncollected and posing a grave danger to residents – due to our national leaders either blocking the speedy and timely release of constitutionally obligated devolution funds, and the bulk of it being forcibly and scandalously channeled towards fire engines sold at a ridiculously insane price of US$464,296 each, instead of the sellers’ US$193,732 (prejudicing us of a staggering US$270,554 per engine, which could have gone a very long way in ameliorating our livelihoods).
As we teach our children on Pan-Africanism, the liberation struggle, and post-independence Zimbabwe, they need to be told how our black leaders went berserk, massacring tens of thousands of innocent unarmed fellow black civilians in cold blood – either based on their ethnicity or political affiliation, which were deemed unacceptable – in stark contrast to the aspirations of unity, solidarity, and equality of those of African and Zimbabwe descent.
Our children have to see with their eyes how those in power are treated like demi-gods – who possess unfettered power, more in the mould of oppressors (contrary to the ideals of the struggle against oppression, as envisioned by our liberation heroes) who can freely misuse and abuse our national treasures for opulent lifestyles, enjoying world travel, the best overseas medical care, and their own children never having to set foot in schools in this country.
It needs to be brought to their attention how our ruling elite has invited a new breed of colonists and oppressors, particularly from China – to freely plunder our natural resources with reckless abandon and impunity, whilst subjecting local communities to the most henious and hideous treatment, as they are forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands, without their consent, and never sharing in the benefits of their own wealth.
Our children need to question where the billions of dollars supposedly accrued from our diamonds, gold, platinum, amongst a whole host of other minerals, is being channeled towards – in the middle of untold poverty, underdevelopment, and a free-falling local currency that is failing to hold its own against the greenback.
We need to show them how the president has to be shielded from his own people, perennially surrendered by heavily-armed security forces – as if he was living amongst his sworn enemies, whose life was always in peril – portraying the picture that his life mattered more than the rest of the citizenry, and was worthy of a better life…something far divorced from a “man of the people” who should feel at home with his own fellow black nationals.
Which explains why our leadership can ride roughshod over our rights – a scenario not too different from the reasons that brought about Pan-Africanism and the liberation movement in the first place, which opposed the subjugation, discrimination and dehumanization of human beings by others.
Let our children learn that these ideals brought about the right to vote, which we should all make full use of, if we ever desire to bring about any meaningful transformation in our livelihoods – and, they should value that sacrificed-for right, as the best way to constitutionally finally fulfill the objectives of Pan-Africanism and our liberation struggle.
Therefore, helping our children with their learning is the greatest opportunity the ever-suffering people of Zimbabwe have in instilling in our children the culture of voting, as they are educated on exactly why they are truly living a life of hopelessness and anguish.
In so doing, we are also laying the foundation for a youth that takes complete charge of their own futures, and exercising real self-determination for a country that is led by a people who reflect the ideals of our forebearers, who dreamt of a nation built on freedom, equality, dignity and prosperity for all.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured