The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
Time gives better perspective, room for sobriety, space for reflection and, hopefully, considered judgment. It has been 37 years since Zimbabwe attained independence on April 18, 1980. This was the fruit of vision, hard work and many painful and patriotic sacrifices. Many that paid the great price for this great achievement will never be thanked, recognised and saluted.
Such is the price of freedom and the burden of development and progress. Great things happen when there is concern for the greater good of many, not the mollification of the few.
Ideals and visions that are greater than personal convenience drive nations to places of greatness and inclusive development.
Purpose is a driving force of progress and national exploits.
The feat of April 1980 was not just an empty time-marker, but an important launch pad for a nation that could stand with pride and dignity among the family of nations.
Independence is an individual, community and national gift and challenge. What you think about independence determines what you do, do not do or say. The tragedy in any nation is in not attaining independence, but being independent yet being obsessed with the dependence and fears of the past instead of being animated by visions of the future.
I am always inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller who said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Mere maintenance of the past or present is never enough. Nothing remains static, and without vision, there is stagnation.
Unless you think, see and do differently, independence has no meaning or force.
In retrospect, sometimes the shackles of dependence seem comfortable because memories can be woefully short.
The reality is that the past was wasteful, painful, divisive and limiting. Before Independence, an order of society was created for us.
In it, we were supposed to be mere and pliant passengers.
Strategy, responsible action, consequence, blame and hard, determined work are the burdens of freedom. In bondage, a man is treated like a mere boy, and called so, whatever his age may be. You do not have to plan or play any responsible part, except docile subservience.
The human spirit cannot bear long under such circumstances.
In bondage, you can always complain about being a victim and behave like one. You have someone that can always take the blame and is blameworthy.
Freedom and Independence come with great responsibility.
Independence knocks to the ground the easy ladder of blame-shifting. In this era of Independence, it is no longer what “they” did to us that matters but what we are doing to one another.
The challenge of liberation and Independence is not for different generations and people of differing persuasions to device tools for blaming and harming each other, but to accept personal responsibility for taking this nation forward.
Pig fights keep the media engaged but they are not progressive.
In Independence, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who went before us, but an even bigger debt to generations unborn.
It is this unborn generation that will not accept our nonsensical explanations, indiscipline, excuses and irresponsible conduct of today.
It is not what the nation or community you live in can do for you that matters most, but what you can do in your space and the difference that you can make.
You are born to be a giver not just a taker.
Blame is not a strategy, corruption is not greatness and exploitation is not success. Excusing yourself is not an option either. Take responsibility and commit to playing your part. Affect and influence the spheres you find yourself in.
There is work for all us and you do not have the luxury to be a spectator or run away and hope to return to a better country. There is big and small work to do. All honest and responsible work is worthy and most needed at this hour.
The family of nations is racing forward and has no time or patience to stop and delay their own forward march because we are busy with our own self-absorption.
It never happens in sport, nor does it happen elsewhere.
Independence is a challenge for every patriotic citizen and duty bearer to stand up and do responsible work worth the admiration of unborn generations that are not tainted by the prejudices of the past.
It is the unborn generations that are heirs of the Independence we pride ourselves in.
They are the true judges of motive and have no patience with the petty fights we concern ourselves with and will likely not care about the corner-agendas that absorb us so much.
Being a patriot is not necessarily about being affiliated to any political movement. It is about being aware of and taking personal responsibility as a worthy and committed citizen.
It is vigorously supporting your country and community’s agenda of progress and development. It is about being an active citizen with an unquestionable loyalty to your country. It is not about being popular but being committed.
Patriotism embodies a love for your country, but it does not mean hatred for other nations.
It is a keen instinct for working hard and honestly for one’s own country even if there are no easy pickings and rewards on offer.
It is a call to serve and make the necessary sacrifice, if need be, for the country’s progress, security, freedom and integrity. The starting point of patriotism is having and carrying national pride, honor and dignity.
No one will make this nation better, except you and me. Thinking, behaving and conducting ourselves like mercenaries shames those who sacrificed for our dear Independence.
Independence without patriotism is empty.
National greatness is carried on the shoulder of patriots who seek to better the nation and not just improve their own lot.
It is patriots that inspire generations and build foundations of great nationhood.
Perhaps the values of a patriot are best expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson who defines success thus: “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Drawing from Emerson’s inspiration, true independence should enable us to laugh often and much because may years were spent in war, oppression and lamentations.
Independence is not a call to inflict pain and wounds on each other but to unite in the greater cause of nationhood.
The Independence spirit is to win the respect of other nations and fellow citizens. It is to win the affection of children and adoration of posterity.
When children love you, you are truly successful, and when they do not, you have a lot of homework to do.
In the spirit of Independence we will not always agree, but we can be sensible in our differences. The wisdom and appreciation of honest critics is valued and we will have to endure the betrayal of false friends.
The call of Independence is to appreciate beauty of our country, value this great nation, its resources, culture, diversity and hard working people.
It is to find the best in others and not see everyone who differs in view as an enemy to be eliminated.
Every patriot aims to leave this nation a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a developed rural garden patch, or a redeemed social condition.
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived is to be a true son or daughter of independent Zimbabwe.
This is to truly celebrate the independence.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author and coach. He is a cutting strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator. His life purpose is to inspire greatness. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo and WhatsApp +263772422634