Viciousness and brutality have never defeated a people’s revolution

I had no plans of writing an article today, but what spurred me to do so was that I have just been watching Sarafina, a touching 1990s movie on the ordinary people’s fight against apartheid in South Africa – and was nearly driven to tears by stack similarities between the viciousness and brutality by which the apartheid regime treated the people of that country and how the ZANU PF government is treats the people of Zimbabwe.

Source: Viciousness and brutality have never defeated a people’s revolution – The Zimbabwean 26.07.2016

It is so scary!

In fact, the similarities are so glaringly vile that, at times, it would seem as if the movie was on Zimbabwe.

However, what inspired me – and should also inspire the people of Zimbabwe – is the unrelenting bravery of the people of South Africa, not matter what the apartheid regime threw their way – from arrests, beatings up, torturing of obscene proportions, abductions, and assassinations of all magnitudes.

The people suffered immensely, but they never gave up.

What even touched me the most was the fighting spirit of the school pupils, whose bravery in the face of untold atrocities – including police brutality and even shootings – stood firm in their beliefs for a better country for themselves and their future children.

This got me thinking as to whether this generation of school children could ever be replicated.

However, despite all this very bloody and deadly oppression by the apartheid regime, the people’s revolution could not be stopped – and, needless to say, they eventually won, amid all odds.

What stood out to me in the people’s revolution in SA was that, it was mainly peaceful, in spite of the gruesome brutality that they faced at the hands of the apartheid regime – meaning that, a peaceful revolution by the people can actually yield results, as long as they do not become subdued and crumble.

The people need to remain united, without any desire for personal glory – this is a people’s struggle not an individual and organisation’s struggle, as such, there is always need for a united front in everything.

Furthermore, the people’s suffering, in itself, should be enough to spur people into action onto the streets in peaceful protests, without waiting for anyone to organise them.

There is virtually no need for the suffering people of Zimbabwe to wait for another hashtag this or that to organise them into action – their suffering should be enough to get, for example, people standing in a long queue at a bank to just become so agitated and disenchanted that they simply start marching in the streets.

The ZANU PF government can no longer be treated with kids’ gloves anymore – as they will never treat the suffering people with the same kids’ gloves – the gloves are off.

The ZANU PF government is fully aware of the people’s suffering, and have no excuse not to, at least listen to the people’s cries.

However, what the people are getting is arrogance, arrogance, and more arrogance.

How do they honestly think the people will react?

Yet, they blame France, or some other Western power, when the inevitable happens.

Whether France is indeed paying one or two individuals – as this can be expected in global geo-politics, as every country has vested in interests – but that does not override the genuine suffering and anger of the people of Zimbabwe.

The people of Zimbabwe want their grievances addressed by their government, and if not, their anger will boil over.

What will that have to do with France?

Furthermore, the suffering people of Zimbabwe have had enough of lame excuses by the government.

Whether the suffering inflicted in them is the government’s fault or not, it does not matter – the people have suffered enough, they are angry, and they want a new government.

They do not need a foreign power to tell them that.

I am a father and husband, and everyone in my family expects me to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, send my son to school, and clothe them.

They know fully well that the economic situation in Zimbabwe is dire, yet that will never be acceptable to them as an excuse for my failure to provide what is expected of me – as that is my role.

To make matters worse, if they know that I do get some money, but I choose to spend it in revelry with friends and ‘small houses’, then any ounce of pity that they may have still had for me would instantly completely disappear and replaced by repulsion and downright anger.

If I fail to deliver, my family has every right to demand it, or else, they are completely justified in leaving me.

Resorting to beating them up will not force them to understand, but will only add fuel to an already raging inferno.

They expect me not to make excuses, but to make a plan – and if I fail, then I would have failed as a father and husband.

Furthermore, I can not turn around and blame my neighbour, if my family crumbles – it would have been entirely my fault.

If is so happens that there would be ‘vultures’ lingering about to take them, that is very unfortunate, but that does not take away the fact that it was entirely my fault that I failed to provide for them, and I can not blame the ‘vulture’.

In the same vein, the ZANU PF has no one else to blame for the misery and suffering of Zimbabweans.

Therefore, instead of making excuses and blaming others, the ZANU PF government is better advised to sit down and seriously discuss these matters with the people, instead of brutalising them – as that will only lead to further uncontrollable fury that will result in chaos in the country.

A government that oppresses its own people is as dishonourable and shameful – if not worse – than a man who abuses his own wife and children.

It is downright bullying – coming out with guns, whips, tear gas, water canons, and dogs against defenceless unarmed innocent people, who are merely expressing their dissatisfaction with their government.

Bullies are nothing more than cowards – and we all know what happens to cowards.

As with apartheid, the people’s power will always triumph, no matter what atrocities they have to endure, and it is a battle that the oppressor can never hope to win – as history is on the side of the oppressed.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana


  • comment-avatar
    Margaret Thatcher 6 years ago

    British Military Plans to Invade Rhodesia

    In 1995 a document was released by the UK’s Public Record Office under the 30 years rule. Dated February 5th 1966, it was accidentally released a year ahead of schedule. It had been prepared by planners of the Ministry of Defence’s Chief of Staff Committee. Marked “UK Eyes Only, Top Secret”, it describes a contingency plan for the invasion of Rhodesia and had been commissioned following the declaration of UDI.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the planners strongly advised the government against military intervention, pointing out that there was no direct access by sea and that the only available land access involved a journey of more than 1,000 miles along what were often little more than dirt tracks. The risk of failure was high, as “The invasion of a country with Rhodesia’s military capability under these conditions would, we believe, be without precedent”.

    Any assault would therefore need to be air-based. Troops would have to be flown in, following a pre-emptive strike against Rhodesian Air Force airfields. It was envisaged that five brigades would be required; however, this was beyond the capability of Britain: “The capability of our airlift is such that the maximum force that we could introduce and maintain would be two brigades, three short of the required force. The assembly of this force with all its equipment in Africa would take two and a half months and its introduction from there into Rhodesia would take another month.”

    Umtali was suggested as the best starting point, as it was lightly defended. The Americans had tentatively offered the use of C130 transport aircraft to assist and the initial assault would have used paratroopers. The main target would, of course, have been Salisbury, and it was envisaged that two battalions of paratroopers would be flown in during a 24 hour period, this representing the maximum speed of deployment possible. The Royal Navy would maintain a flotilla at Beira in Mozambique. All supplies, bar fuel, would have to be flown in.

    There was concern over the capabilities of the Rhodesian Air Force. Despite the planned pre-emptive strikes, it could not be guaranteed that all the Rhodesian Hunters and Vampires would be taken out, thereby posing a significant threat to transport aircraft. The planners were also wary of Rhodesian manpower, estimating that Rhodesia could field 11 major army units within a matter of days.(Actually less…36 hours).

    Accordingly, the planners concluded: “To intervene with a reasonable chance of success against such opposition, fighting stubbornly on its own ground, assisted by ‘#small adhoc’ bands of ‘guerrillas and perhaps white police’, would require five brigades with artillery support.” And, “In the existing circumstances British forces could not intervene successfully in Rhodesia.”

    Fortunately, and despite the enthusiasm for war by the British Liberal Party and the Archbishop of Canterbury (!), the invasion never took place, remaining one of those fascinating ‘What if…?’ scenarios.

  • comment-avatar
    C Frizell 6 years ago

    Ah yes, I remember all that. Our army was potentially 30,000 men, as big as the British Army On the Rhine. “Bomber” Thorpe wanted to bomb us too.

    Another problem was that most of the senior Rhodesian Army and Airforce guys had trained in the UK and were friends with their UK counterparts. I think there was also a great deal of sympathy for Rhodesia amongst the UK armed forces who had not been impressed by Black Africa, almost every country a chaotic dictatorship.

    Those were “interesting times”

  • comment-avatar
    Reverend 6 years ago

    I remember talking to a British trained company Sergeant Major who said to me that Rhodesian soldiers were the best in the world and if they had the advanced equipment of the British military they would be unbeatable. They were never defeated in battle, it was a political defeat.

    • comment-avatar

      History nearly always tell the true story, as long as the messenger is truly honest of their appraisal.
      British General Sir Walter Walker wrote the following about the Rhodesian Army and Military forces in a letter to the Times in London – January 1978
      “Their army cannot be defeated in the field either by terrorists or even a much more sophisticated enemy”
      ” In my professional judgement based on more than twenty years’ experience, from Lieutenant to General, of counter-insurgency and guerrilla type operations, there is no doubt, that Rhodesia now has the most battle-worthy and professional army in the world today for this type of warfare”
      However, in my opinion and a true fact, if one does not win the hearts and minds of the people, then the cause is lost. A prime example is Vietnam. The USA with all their military might got stuffed up. They never had the people on their side from day one, so it was a matter of time and time did tell!
      The writers book is right – The govt has lost the people and no matter how hard you hit them, you still lose!