There is a popular saying, “taking two steps forward, and one step backwards” – that describes a scenario whereby things are not going smoothly, when one’s efforts are not yielding the desired results, and progress feels arduous.
At first, I believed this adage aptly described the prevailing socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.
But then, before writing this article, I actually tried it out in my house.
I started walking two steps forward, and one step back.
It soon dawned on me that, what we had in Zimbabwe was something completely different – since, although the progress was slow, I actually managed to reach my target point.
I then tried out another proverb – “taking one step forward and two steps back”.
Now, that was quiet something. Instead of moving forward, I ended up bumping into furniture that was behind me.
I am so glad no one was in the lounge with me to see the spectacle – otherwise, they would have recorded a viral comedic video!
Nonetheless, I had finally proven a saying that accurately described what was going on in our country – and, has especially been the case for the past two decades.
We are living in a country where we appear to be making some progress, yet we have leaders who make ill-fated and disastrous decisions that cause us to be further behind than we were when we began.
Who can forget when our country used to be the envy of the African continent – as having some of the most highly learned people, coupled with an exceptional literacy rate of around ninety one percent (91%)?
When teachers, like my own late father, were the pride of the community – well respected and regarded with dignity and honour – whilst, our educational institutions had more than adequate learning material, and primary schools filled with encyclopedia and all manner of reference books (that turned people as myself into bookworms from a very young age).
Yet, my heart sinks to its lowest when our teachers now earn one third what a domestic worker gets in South Africa – with someone doing ‘piece jobs’ cleaning people’s homes receiving an average of ZAR300 (about USD20) per day, whilst those who are teaching our children in Zimbabwe get less than USD6 per day.
Honestly, how can we claim to be making progress – empowering our children with the right education, and even setting up so-called ‘innovation hubs’ in our tertiary institutions – but, on the other hand, we have a ruling elite that appears hellbent on decimating the entire education system?
How is a country supposed to make any progress, when our teachers – the backbone of the country’s future – find it more lucrative being domestic workers in foreign lands, than teaching the next generation of Zimbabweans?
Is it not embarrassing that, a country like Rwanda would court our teachers and promising them a better life, right under the nose of our government (which has pathetically failed to adequately take good care of them)?
I found it rather embarrassing that the ruling establishment actually felt some depraved sense of pride, when Paul Kagame (Rwanda president) requested their facilitation in this teacher transfer.
What is there to be proud of, when another man asks to take your wife, as he can take better care of her, than yourself?
As we continue to take one step forward and two steps back, I will not be exaggerating when I say that, soon Zimbabwe will no longer have schools and learning to talk about – and, that will surely spell doom for the nation, because we will have a whole new generation of uneducated and unlearned adults, whose only hope for survival will be criminality and all manner of vices.
Indeed, it is not, and has never been, in dispute, that we have a clueless, kleptomaniac, and oppressive regime – whose only purpose in life appears to steal, kill, and destroy – but, what type of inaptitude would lead a whole group of people, who have the audacity to call themselves leaders, fail to maintain a vibrant education system?
They can not even stabilize the country’s currency. They have proven incapable of even attracting legitimate investors – as opposed to the questionable characters whom they are fond of associating – leaving most of our youth without any employment prospects.
However, failing to guarantee the future of this country’s children is the worst of all failures.
The ruling elite may try to hoodwink the nation, and the world, overbuilding the country ‘brick by brick’ – which, to me, sounds nothing more than a lame excuse for the negligible and insignificant ‘progress’ being made – yet, on the other hand, busily dismantling it ‘wall by wall’!
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org