via Ordinary people are Zim’s true heroes – DailyNews Live 13 August 2014 by Cathy Buckle
HARARE – There was nothing at all coincidental about the sudden flurry of activity by local municipal workers undertaking road repairs five days before Heroes’ Day.
Most roads approaching the town centre haven’t had any repairs since the last election.
In some residential areas, it’s been over eight years since people have seen a grader, JVC or even just a municipal worker with a hard broom working on the roads: storm drains are
completely full, verges have steep drop offs and potholes have spread into a maze of gullies.
Why then the predictable display of window dressing, attempting to deceive people into believing everything is in good order in small town Zimbabwe a couple of days before Heroes Day 2014?
Local authorities might pull the wool over the eyes of visiting VIPs, but not so for the ordinary people.
We’ve seen it all before: solitary roads are fixed, only those that VIPs and dignitaries will use to reach the venue of the day while all around us things fall apart and the
evidence is everywhere, in plain sight.
The irony of fixing up a few potholes to look good for VIPs happening at the same time as the economy is in a state of continued decline is impossible to ignore.
Last week the Daily News’ front page headlines: “Doom and Gloom” said it all for the dire state we are in: escalating unemployment, company closures, private and public company redundancies and the declining growth of our GDP.
Where are the new generation of heroes are as we slip back to the edge of the precipice?
We must look among ourselves because our true heroes — 34 years into Independence are the ordinary people who have seen more pain and suffering in the last 15 years than most people see in a lifetime. Our heroes are people who turn the other cheek again and again as their standard of living drops lower and lower every year.
Zimbabwe’s everyday heroes are people who have lived through years of hunger, sickness and poverty; people who have gone without all the ingredients that make for a decent life — clean running water, electricity, employment, safe public transport and guarantees for old age.
Our everyday heroes watched helplessly as their money became worthless paper and their life savings were wiped out overnight with no sign of compensation for their loss a decade later.
Our heroes are the men and women who haven’t resorted to violence, thievery and brutality to survive.
Despite everything what happens to them, they continually look for new ways to legally make a living: selling air time; setting up stalls in flea markets and selling second hand clothes and shoes; sitting on dusty pavements and roadsides selling fruits, vegetables and consumables.
Then, there are our civil servants who keep going to work despite their wages being lower than the government’s own stated poverty datum line.
Our heroes are the 800 000 men, women and children who lost their homes and livelihoods in the government’s Operation Murambatsvina and the half a million people who lost their
homes and jobs on commercial farms when these were seized and taken with no sign of compensation over a decade later.
Lastly, there are our unsung heroes who sacrificed everything and went to the Diaspora to find work so that they could send money home to support their families.
Three to four million people have been gone for over a decade during which time they have endured loneliness, separation and isolation from their lives, homes and families.
These are Zimbabwe’s new heroes, they stand among us.