“Colonies do not cease to be colonies simply because they are independent,” Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once noted.
Peter Childs and Patrick Williams in their book; “An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory,” elaborate the same point saying: “In the period after decolonisation, it rapidly became apparent (to the newly independent nations, at least) that although colonial armies and bureaucracies might have withdrawn, Western powers were still intent on maintaining maximum indirect control over erstwhile colonies, via political, cultural and above all economic channels, a phenomenon which became known as neo-colonialism.”
My apologies for starting this sermon on a heavy note, but after seeing what is happening in South Africa, ndabatwa nechiJacob Zuma. Kuita shoko rekujunga nepadumbu. Clearly, Zuma is fed up of continuing being a prisoner president, like Nelson Mandela.
We will come back to this Zuma sermon a little later. Happy Easter and Independence holidays to you vanhu vamwari! I vividly remember some years ago, at Manyewe Growth Point. Independence Day (18 April) was a day never to forget. We would wake up very early in the morning to finish our duties that included kukama mombe and kumbotema chibage kumakura. Around 10am, we would all be walking to Manyewe takabata ndiro dzedu mumaoko.
On arrival at Manyewe, we would loiter around a bit and on seeing mudhara Chihwenga, we would know it was time up. We would gather at the grounds together with thousands other villagers, Independence yobva yatanga tichipakurirwa ano mazinyama emombe nemukonde wesadza. Mudhara Chihwenga would always make sure his children got the biggest pieces of meat and to him this was serious business. “Iwe, Dorcas, iwe Dorcas, ndipe ndiro dzenyuka ndikuisirei nyama. Mukaita zvekupusa munowana nyama diki,” he would always shout on top of his voice. That was mudhara Chihwenga. Funny, yet good old man. May his soul rest in peace!
After feasting on lots of meat and sadza, the elderly would be served lots of beer while we, the youngsters, were served tasteless mazowe from these big drums. Every year, I really looked forward to April 18. Those were the good old days. What exactly happened to our Independence Day?
This year, the Easter Holiday and Independence Day are being celebrated together and my good friend from Bikita, of all things, decided to send me what he said was some Shona Bible verse trying to justify his drinking binge. The verse goes: “Rega kutsiudza waunaye pakunwa, kana kumushora kana ava kufara; usamutaurire izwi rinobaya mwoyo, kana kumubvunza chikwereti.” Clever friend isn’t it?
Clearly, there is going to be a lot of drinking during this long weekend, but hey vanhu vamwari, let’s drink responsibly. When this friend of mine sent me the Shona verse above, I sent him the following verses.
Proverbs 23 vs 29-33 says: “Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.”
Genesis 9 vs 21-23 says: “One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.”
While both beer and wine were known in Biblical times, make sure you drink moderately and I repeat responsibly. Not to start seeing hallucinations and saying crazy things or worse still kuzomuka wakarara kugate wakashama. Someone say Amen!
Now, let’s go back to Zuma’s South Africa. The South African President and many blacks in that country are waking up to realisation that they have all along been living a lie. They are realising that South Africa did not cease to be a colony simply because it is independent. They are prisoners in their own country.
President Zuma realised that this supposed “Rainbow Nation” was now a “collapsed state” which William Zartman in his book; “Collapsed States: The disintegration and restoration of legitimate authority,” says is characterised by three crucial functions.
“First, it is unable to enact laws and maintain order. Second, as a symbol of identity, the state is no longer able to maintain legitimacy. Finally, it is unable to conduct public affairs. In short, then, it loses the right and ability to rule,” says Zartman.
President Zuma was now failing to maintain law and order. Can you imagine his Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan had gotten so drunk with capitalist trinkets that he was even defying the man who appointed him? President Zuma is battling for legitimacy amid calls from agents of capitalism for him to step down. Conducting public affairs had become a nightmare for Gedleyihlekisa. By the way, Gedleyihlekisa is President Zuma’s middle name which in Zulu means “the one who smiles while grinding his enemies.”
When the capitalists in South Africa some months ago, forced President Zuma to re-appoint Pravin Gordhan as his Finance Minister, they thought they had Gedleyihlekisa caged. To them, the capitalist project was well on course in South Africa. President Zuma was busy smiling while grinding his enemies and two weeks ago, he gave capitalism a big and hard kick. Kuita zhaba chaiyo.
President Zuma reshuffled his cabinet and left Pravin Gordhan in the cold. Capitalism and its agents was shocked. The Zuma move was a masterstroke. But Zuma was not yet done. He amplified his talk about the “radical transformation of South Africa.”
We in Zimbabwe are not surprised at all. We have been there before. There is nothing new that South Africa is doing. Zimbabwe gave capitalism a big and hard kick in the year 2000 when it embarked on the historic land reform programme. South Africa may want to sugar-coat what’s coming by calling it “radical transformation,” but the truth is that Zimbabwe has been there and has all the answers. South Africa just has to be ready to sacrifice and it has to be ready for pain because capitalism is ruthless and reckless.
Mayibuye South Africa!
Bishop is out!
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