I am sure we have been, or still are, victims or rather captives of this ‘disease’ of making excuses as to why we ‘cannot or unable’ to do something.
No matter how ridiculous or illogical these may be – nonetheless, to the individual making them, they make perfect sense.
In fact, the person who pushed me to resume writing again – after a long break spanning years – was my dear wife Tinta.
In spite of having began my social justice writing at the young age of 16 years old (whilst, in Form Three at Kwekwe High School) – when I used to contribute news articles on the plight of suffering and improved Zimbabweans to local weekly publications, and later on (in 1991 doing my Form Five or Lower Six) penning my own personal column – I began to slacken off once at college.
As the years passed by, the writings became far and in-between, until they completely dried up.
However, Tinta would always encourage me to start writing again – since she was aware that was my passion – but, I always had a ready excuse.
The main one was that, I did not have a personal computer – so, there was no way I could write anything, as the era of posting handwritten articles had long ended.
Nevertheless, she never relented, insisting that I could try using my small mobile phone.
Surely, how was I expected to type long articles on a phone?
Although, initially, I laughed off this idea as ludicrous – as time passed, I began seriously considering it – and, the more I did that, the more it started to make some sense.
One day, I decided to give it a try – and, voilà!
As much as it was quite tricky, a bit clumsy and cumbersome – I, however, managed to produce my first article in 2015, after many years – all typed on my phone.
Let me be clear here: this was not even a smartphone, but a small feature phone (kambudzi) – which had Opera Mini (and, thus a smaller version of Gmail, where the number of characters one could write was limited) – whereby, I would type the article straight onto the body of the email (since such phones cannot support word processing apps), proofread it, and send.
With each piece of writing, the more confident and comfortable I got – leading to me finally purchasing a smartphone, on which I continued with my daily articles…for years that followed.
As much as I finally obtained a laptop – only last year, thanks to a loving dear relative – I have become so accustomed to using my smartphone, whose portability enables me to write articles virtually anywhere and any time (including, in queues, whilst traveling, or even cooking) such that, it is still the gadget I use at most times.
Be that as it may, why I am mentioning this is on account of how easy, and even comfortable, it can be to always make excuses for our inaction.
In fact, venturing outside our comfort zones can be positively torrid and frightening.
That is why I try to empathize with those who send me messages expressing their apprehension, and proffering reasons as to why calling for mass action – such as national stay aways and shutdowns, as a way of pushing the government for change in the country – is not such a great idea.
I hear some saying that, such action will only lead to financial ruin for most ordinary Zimbabweans, who are already impoverished – as they cannot afford not going about their income generating projects, in preference for staying at home, as a form of protest.
Granted, most people in this country are not formally employed, and are largely self-employed – such that, under the current economic hardships, every single dollar counts.
Well, as with any other excuse, this line of thinking makes quite a lot of sense – on the surface, that is.
For those who may be interested to know – I am also self-employed.
However, in life there are always causes that are worth the sacrifice – in the pursuit of a greater goal.
In fact, I can even call it an investment – whereby, I am ready to lose something important and dear to me today, in order for the attainment of a bigger gain or reward later.
Let us look at those who fought for this country from the yoke and shackle of colonial rule.
Are we to say, they did not have anything to lose by leaving behind their families, friends and lives – in exchange for staying in the dangerous bush, in the face of constant real possibilities of attacks from Rhodesian forces and losing their lives and limb, or if captured, spending long bouts of imprisonment?
Our intrepid Men and Women of the Soil, all had their own livelihoods – some were teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, and even school and university students, with a relatively bright future to look forward to – yet, they still sacrificed all that, in the hope of a better Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, the entire independence war effort gravely disrupted and negatively impacted the country’s economy – affecting even those who chose to stay behind, and go on with their lives.
So, what is the logic in the endless excuses we love making as to why we cannot take a firmer and more assertive stand against the relentless onslaught, oppression and marginalization at the hands of those in power – who have chosen the path of self-enrichment at the expense of the ordinary citizenry?
Would it not make much more sense if we were to forgo whatever little, and quickly depreciating income we have today – in an economy worsening by the day, with the real danger of losing it all sooner rather than later – in the struggle for a brighter better future for us all?
Why hold on to the US$1 you can make today – than fighting for US$100 you can earn tomorrow, under a more favorable economy?
Dear Zimbabweans, we need to be serious with our lives, and the futures of our children and grandchildren.
Surely, what legacy and inheritance are we bequeathing them, when we would rather hold on to the measly income we are earning today (and, fast losing value) – than, putting everything aside, for a cause that will greatly improve our livelihoods tomorrow?
We need to get out of our comfort zones, whilst watching our livelihoods wasting away – and, finally make bold decisions for our futures.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]