Of course, at his age (around 5 years old) he had absolutely no idea that this prize tag was unbelievably ridiculous – for trinkets that would normally cost a few cents.
There was need for us as parents to gradually make this fact be known and understood in his rather novice mind – so that, as we repeatedly spoke about how the Zimbabwe government had made life a torturous living hell – he would steadily comprehend and appreciate that there was definitely nothing normal about our livelihood.
Indeed, what could be normal when one had to part with a billion Zimbabwe dollars to buy a loaf of bread, or maize meal (the country’s staple food) costing trillions, if not quadrillions, of our hard-to-get cash?
This was during the time Zimbabwe hogged the international news headlines for insane incomprehensible record-breaking annual inflation rates hitting the 89 sextillion percentage mark, with one United States dollar worth 2.6 trillion in the local currency.
As much as we had those conversations on how life had been made unliveable and intolerable by the ruling establishment – I, nonetheless, seriously doubt if my son actually got the point.
I am sure, it was still too complex, if not impossible, to successfully put across this fact – as his was still a small mind to grasp such intricacies of the world in which we live.
Nonetheless, today, the unmitigated failures by the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa-led government are too clear-cut and simple to understand – even for a five year old.
Surely, would it not be strange, even for a child, to spend the entire day without electricity – cooking on an open fire, with the television turned off all day, and then sitting in the dark at night, whilst bumping into furniture that is difficult to see?
Yet knowing fully well that, in normal times – whatever that may mean in a weird country like Zimbabwe, where each day has its own strange struggles (which those in other states hardly think about, but take for granted) – the family usually cooked on the stove, watched television, and the house was well-lit during evenings.
Why would these children not wonder what had gone wrong – and, why they had to live under such bizarre circumstances?
It would be quite obvious that something was undeniably amiss.
Of course, for parents – unlike in that day when my son was still only but a child – today, it is easier explaining how the ruling establishment had made a huge mess of running the affairs of the nation.
When they (children) inquire what happened to the electricity – or, where it has gone – the answer is quite simple.
We just tell them that those in authority have made a career of looting the abundant riches our God lovingly blessed us with – which should have been used to give us electricity, and develop our nation and livelihoods as a whole – for their own selfish aggrandization.
We show them, wherever possible, the lavish lifestyles of those in power, or linked to them – which are in stark contrast to the poverty and suffering our children experience on a daily basis, in their homes.
With a bit of intelligence, it is not too difficult for them to notice that there is phenomenal wealth in this country – but which, somehow, ends up in the hands (or rather, pockets) of only a small political elite – whilst, everywhere our children turn, they see misery and more misery, impoverishment and more impoverishment.
Not only are their homes without electricity – but, their parents find it extremely arduous to put food on the table (as they no longer have three square meals a day), they hardly get new clothes, and they attend schools lacking the required learning material.
They also know fully well how burdensome it is spending hours each day fetching water at boreholes, miles from their residence – and, having to carry disproportionately weighty containers back – due to the unavailability of the precious liquid in their home for months or even years.
Today’s children can certainly tell, and see, how the Mnangagwa administration has ruined their parents’ and their own lives – to such unacceptable, deplorable and egregious levels.
Indeed, even a five year old can tell that Mnangagwa and his regime have failed – to unbelievably shameful and embarrassing depths.
- 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 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Post published in: Featured