Why do we look down on ourselves to such disgraceful and disgusting levels?
Just a few days ago, I posted a picture on my Facebook page – in which I was obviously excited about meeting my grade seven teacher – after close to four decades.
This wonderful encounter was at an event where we, as former Redcliff Primary School students, were donating some sporting equipment to the learning institution that brilliantly shaped us into the people we are today.
Indeed, there was every reason for both of us (my beloved former teacher and I) being so overwhelmed with joy – as such experiences are rare, especially having had a good relationship.
I was so thankful for the hundreds of positive comments and ‘likes’ from various people across social media – most of whom had the similar honor of passing through her most capable loving hands, or had the opportunity to work together.
However, what I found equally worrisome and unsettling were – although only a few, but still significant enough to trouble me – those who saw this as a chance to belittle my work in social justice advocacy, by claiming to now understand why I am always so critical of the oppressive and brutal kleptomaniac Zimbabwe regime.
The thing is, my former grade seven teacher is white –as were all my other teachers from grade two (when I went to Redcliff Primary School in 1982), as well as most of those during my studying at Kwekwe High School.
In other words, what those people were actually alleging was that – I was brainwashed by white people.
I would have ignored such clearly foolish statements, as that is how I would normally react – especially considering that these were uttered by only a handful – but, I found it extremely difficult turning a deaf ear to what such undeniably shallow thinking exposed about some amongst us.
So, what they were insinuating or even bluntly declaring is that – black people, without any other influences (particularly from whites), are completely incapable of perceiving bad governance, repressive policies, and the unacceptability and deplorability of a leadership that loots national resources for their own enrichment, whilst the citizenry are callously abandoned to suffer in unspeakable poverty?
Just because I grew up in a formerly ‘white community’, and learnt at a ‘white school’, with white neighbors, white teachers, white classmates, and white friends – meant that they were the ones who awakened me to the truth of what was really going on in my life and country, and instilled in me the boldness and ability to speak out and stand up, not only for myself but for everyone else, against all forms of injustices.
What they were saying is plainly that – without any influence, or in their own words ‘brainwashing’, by white people, blacks are simply dimwits who cannot think for themselves!
Now, there was no way under the sun I was going to just ignore such reckless and clearly idiotic comments – which, judging from statements issued, even by the political elite in Zimbabwe – expose a much deeper and far more widely spread belief than the three or four on my Facebook post.
Is that not the reason for the relentless accusations leveled against the opposition and other voices of dissent, including civil society – to the effect that their brave resistance to the repulsive oppressive and corrupt tendencies by the ruling elite was a direct result of ‘Western meddling’, and that they were nothing more than ‘puppets of the West’?
As much as these words are obviously aimed at tarnishing the image of people as myself in the eyes of the broader population – portrayed as not thinking on our own, but receiving instructions from largely Western (white) countries – it, nevertheless, leaves a dark disturbing image of how our leaders and their followers perceive black people.
Of course, this includes themselves –since they, too, are black!
Are they seriously telling the world that black people are powerless, and cannot function or understand issues without being told (brainwashed) by whites?
This does not bare thinking about!
Surely, do those people who love proclaiming themselves as some champions of Pan-Africanism actually regard so lowly their own fellow kith and kin – as some inferior beings, who are far below the evolutionary ladder?
If such thinking had been coming from white people, we would have never wasted any time in shouting, “racism”!
Yet, here we are – our own, calling their own ‘inferior to whites’!
As I look again at the picture taken with my former teacher – I cannot help wondering why those who want to tout themselves as ‘Pan-Africanists’, and believe in the greatness of black people, never for a moment ever thought that maybe the black guy could actually brainwash the white lady!
Why does this so-called ‘brainwashing’ always have to go in only one direction – white to black – and, not black to white?
What does that say about us as blacks?
Let this fact be absolutely clear – black people do not need to be told by anyone else why they are suffering and languishing in dire poverty.
No one, least of all white, has to tell me that what our leaders are doing is unjust and wrong.
Why does any black person have to be told by anyone that they have an equal share in their country’s vast resources, and should be fully enjoying their benefits as those in power?
If we finally decide to speak out and stand up for what is rightfully ours – this is because we, too, are an intelligent, knowledgeable, and well-informed race – that is quite capable of understanding what is right and wrong.
Maybe it is this experience growing up with white people that actually inculcated in me a sense of self-confidence – as I learnt that, in fact, we were actually all equal, with the same abilities, and no race was more superior than the other.
So, yes – possibly, that is how I was ‘brainwashed’.
Please, stop looking down on our race – more so, when you are one of us!
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, 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]Post published in: Featured