via Stop whitewashing our reality – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 1, 2015
I HAVE had a fascination with the late author and poet Dambudzo Marechera in the past month. I am totally awed by his wit and inspired by his way of life.
It’s like he is still alive and talking to many others and me through his many works, as our realities seem similar. I love how his life trajectory played out and although some might deem it sad, his way of life was intriguing to say the least.
So as I hungrily devoured his works, I could swear that unless one decides to be their own person, it is very highly likely that they will end up just as mediocre as everyone else, with nothing or very little to look forward to.
However, of very critical insight is that one’s brilliance can be utilised for building or destruction.
Moreover, his insights on life and unpacking people’s lived realities under oppressive government structures left me wondering what had changed in Zimbabwe save for the absence of Ian Smith as the head of the country.
It seems the contrasts still make sense even to this very day, as our lives still depict what he shared. I suddenly got thinking and drawing comparisons after the State of the Nation Address, something there resonated with Dambudzo.
The poor, uneducated and desperate
Have you ever been desperate? I have been desperate when I needed to make a transaction and I could not access any form of financial resource to meet my need.
I am not the only woman who has lived with this reality.
Many of the women I interact with on a daily basis have shared many horrific stories about how they are failing to take care of their wards because they have no form of financial security.
We are not the only ones, there are men who are at a loss to what to do as they are failing to make ends meet.
With more than 25 000 of us having lost our jobs and are clueless about what the future holds, life gradually becoming unbearable.
We have tried everything humanly possible to make it work, including migration to neighbouring countries, only to face xenophobia and all sorts of struggles.
Many of us are still unsure about what the future holds especially with this so-called “new” Labour Act.
Infrastructure still lies dilapidated and you tell me that as a Zimbabwean, I am not suffering, there is no poverty and that drought is the reason I am going hungry and failing to get a job.
You tell me that if there is a good rainy season, then it will wash away my poverty?
Please, do not insult my intelligence. I might not be as educated as you are, but surely this is untrue.
We continue to struggle and suffer and, meanwhile, we are more desperate than ever.
Dambudzo explains that unless the poor and “uneducated” like ourselves begin to take ownership of our destiny, then the powers-that-be will continue to churn out whatever rubbish they deem necessary for us, while we die a slow and painful death.
The whitewashing of our realities cannot fool us at all, we are aware of what we are going through as the ones experiencing this life.
Let us wake up Zimbabwe, we have the power to make a difference for ourselves and we urgently need to.
Rain, oh rain
So what are we saying here? That God is responsible for our suffering? After all, is He not the one who causes rain to fall on both the wicked and the good?
I will not dare go there as even the mushrooming churches in this country have failed to broker solutions.
I am sick and tired of being taken for granted by leaders who think we are stupid and cannot unpack our own realities.
Was it the rain that took farms by force from former commercial farmers and gave them to people who do not seem to know what to do with them?
Is it the rain that has developed draconian investment laws that have seen investors shy away from Zimbabwe and choose our neighbours?
Was it the rain hurling insults to possible development partners?
Or is it responsible for all the abuse and threats we experience as a result of exercising our various rights?
What is even weird is that the rain is responsible for this ill governance that we see now and the corruption as well.
Oh Mr Rain, just stop it please, have mercy on us today. Would a poem through our ancestors help you? Or would that diesel inducing n’anga be a critical ally in this crisis?
Honestly, Zimbabwe cannot continue to be held to ransom because some people fought the war.
We have been clearly taken for a ride by these leaders — what Marechera deemed the stupidity of the leaders in the name of supporting the led.
These leaders are unbelievable! And it seems we too are following the same sickening trend as citizens — shame on us!
We recently met our aunt, who was recently retrenched and is struggling.
She is not just struggling with life, but now her mental health is worrisome.
Most of us Zimbabweans are slowly losing it.
We should not crash under madness, that is not constructive.
We need to challenge the status quo, question the very people we voted into power and hold them accountable, unless they start delivering on the promises they made to convince us into voting for them.
Such mediocrity cannot be allowed to continue.
Honestly how do we just let these leaders abuse us left right and centre and blame it on the rain — who does that?
Marechera used poetry as a reflective tool. It is very necessary we do the same today.
We need to start defending this life jealously and strongly because we will never walk this road again.
We have one life to live and we must do it to the very best to our ability. We cannot keep waiting for someone, whoever to come save us, because no one is coming.
Leaders ought to know that they are voted into office and should be accountable enough to facilitate that our basic needs such as shelter, food, jobs and clothing are met.
Grace Chirenje writes in her personal capacity and loves stimulating conversation. She would be excited to hear from you. You can contact Grace on firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on twitter @graceruvimbo or Facebook: Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje. Chat soon.