via email by Oliver Mukome
To our parents who fought the war, there is no other day that fills them with pride as that fateful day in1980. It was the culmination of a dream that the black majority would choose their own government. And they did. Prince Charles was there to remove the Union Jack and the Zimbabwe flag was lifted.
Our first black President, black prime minister, Mp’s, mayors you name it. We had arrived to nirvana. I can imagine Chinx Chingaira crying. Singing the war songs that had given my parents the drive to go on. The hope should have been edible. Much akin to the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
I can almost hear their hearts of hearts speaking. Finally my child can go to school, to university and be a doctor, a pilot, a teacher. Finally I can walk in first street. Finally the policeman and his dog are my friends, my protector and not my persecutor.
Finally I can watch cricket and be served instead of doing the serving. Finally we can own and farm meaningful land. Finally I can live in any suburb I want. Finally, oh finally, we can be equal and together not classed by my skin colour and segregated. I can only imagine.
I hear there was a massive party at Rufaro stadium. That the euphoria from there rolled on countrywide to street parties in every town. I hear people got drunk and made merry. Food galore!
Even white supporters of racial equality joined in. Finally I can marry my loved one whom just a few days ago I could only yearn to be with I hear an inter-racial couple say without amai saying I’m falling for the enemy. Finally we are FREE!!! I can almost reach out and touch it…..
…..only we never did. What a difference 33 years have made. The euphoria of hope has long dissipated. All that is left is unbathed individuals with unironed Zanu pf party regalia fighting for a piece of chicken on a day that should have been meant for work.
Ps…many people think calling a public holiday was pretty useless. I mean, what difference did it actually make from a normal Thursday. Funny, I thought, only a week earlier, less than half the same stadium was filled for Mugabe’s final rally. Now it was packed…well I’m guessing Biti knows Zanu’s love for transportation.
Interesting how our concerns have been forced to become more of the day-to-day doldrums of water and electricity rather than those of aspiration and ambition like promotion at work and buying a house whilst the rest of Africa is moving on. .
The saddest trend being how many of our older people refer back to the good old days. Its rings true to them that our human rights were oppressed, but we had jobs, food, we had water, our children had a certain level of education. We feel we are back to oppression without the small comforts and it’s so much worse that it’s one of our own people doing this.
He tried to recreate that day, but he knows he failed epically. He knows things have changed. The euphoria is long dissipated like an underwhelming sexual encounter. It was so impersonal. Filled with self-glorification and self-reassuring of old men parading in gratification they believe they deserve. It was a Zanu event not a Zimbabwean event. This is not how it was in 1980. He knows the lengths he had to go to to secure ‘victory’. To go out with a bang but instead goes as a sad old man.
As my grandfather did in 1980, I long for my walk down First Street in a New Zimbabwe. To say whatever I want wherever I want without fear of who could be listening. To be treated as a Zimbabwean and not as a party member. Our freedom may have been postponed but our passion still burns. Our hope still lives on.
For My God. For my family. For my country.
By Oliver Mukome