Elevating history to justify our mistakes

via Elevating history to justify our mistakes | SW Radio Africa June 30, 2014 by Tanonoka Joseph Whande

We always consider history to be stagnant and stale just because we are looking at things that happened a long time ago; things that were sealed by history itself.

But history is the dried and dehydrated seed that appears dead while alive until moisture activates its instincts.

Thus, Cecil John Rhodes, Ian Smith and Clifford DuPont are as much part of our history as Ndabaningi Sithole, Josiah Tongogara, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo and Joshua Nkomo, among others.

Most of the people at the so-called Heroes’ Acre will never make it into our history books.

What is ZANU-PF or Robert Mugabe without Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front?

History does not discriminate; it is factual.

Take it or leave it.

Because of its ability to haunt the living, history, like that maize seed that comes back from the dead and answers to the moisture and its obviously hospitable surroundings, provides us with a life while it lies in hibernation.

History always laughs at us all on this planet because it is wiser. While it does not need to keep up with the ever changing futuristic dynamics of what we stupidly call ‘modern day life’ on this our planet, we cannot ignore its admonishing presence.

It infuriatingly always leaves us to take it or leave it.

History has no glare; we need no sun visors. There is nothing back there but clear evidence of what continues to this day as a crippling legacy of political prostitution, vagueness and indecisiveness.

The things that are happening in opposition parties in Zimbabwe cannot be of any benefit to Zimbabweans and to our country.

I am scandalized by the court battles among the MDC principals. Regardless of who is right or wrong; regardless of who wins these court cases, the outcome guarantees that Zimbabweans are the losers.

We are being deprived of leadership because our politicians cannot sit down and, together, map an agenda for the nation.

Hell, no! Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cannot do it alone. They failed for decades.

The MDC, wait a minute, MDC-T or MDC-N, or MDC-M or MDC-99 or MDC Renewal.

God have mercy!

Back to our topic…Our politicians in Zimbabwe have always tried to copy other African parties that came before them without thinking about what is best for our particular situation.

Those who gained independence before us did us a lot of damage because we looked up to them in the hope of liberating ourselves like they had just done.

I was amused when I looked at how many political parties were born out of Kenneth Kaunda’s United National Independence Party.

I was further astounded to see the number of parties that sprung out of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.

How many children and grandchildren did the Zimbabwe African People’s Union have? The Zimbabwe African National Union itself was not barren; it gave birth to its own little mites and the biggest grandchild of that party now has itself more kids and grandchildren of its own.

We saw this rubbish in ZAPU; it lost its most brilliant officials.

We saw that same stupidity in ZANU; it lost the same, who believed they were better than the man they deposed.

In the end, we got back PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF but only after both had flirted with Abel Muzorewa’s ANC.

We still remain pawns in this stupid game in which our politicians move from one party to another in the total absence of any ideology that people can understand and accept.

Like my late father said, we can travel at the speed of sound and travel into space on satellites whose abilities we will never comprehend, but in the end, because of our history as people, we will land right back here and walk on our two feet.

Our world has suffered and continues to suffer.

Zimbabwe has suffered more and has had its limbs broken, its sons, daughters, fathers and mothers killed by their own.

But the nation soldiers on, just like we should. History warned us about these developments.

When history merges with the present, then it is absolute confirmation that we are on the wrong path. Because, you see, history does not want to repeat itself. History never wants an encore of itself. History is never proud of itself. Most times, we elevate history only to justify our mistakes.

History must not and should not merge with the present. History does not want us to copy it; history wants us to improve it so that tomorrow we are also the history that inspires our future generations.

History is a teacher who has lived the life; while the present is a student keen on learning how to live that life better.

Our country is on the sacrificial alter. It has always been there.

Maybe we should ask ourselves why Zimbabwe has been stewing on this alter of sacrifice longer than most countries.

Pardon me, please, because it is not me; it is our politicians.

We have a problem and that problem is not going to go away until we put country before self.

The heart of the matter is that our history teaches us our future. Overtaking those realities of history is and must be an obligation.

The role of history is to give us a chance to open new and better chapters – not to follow in its old footsteps.

Despite a string of not so educated and very well educated politicians over the century, Zimbabweans still have to contend with mediocre politicians from amongst their ranks.

In life, parents work hard to ensure that their children are better than themselves in both education and social standing.

Such is the case even in politics, where past generations of politicians dare us to do better than they did.

We still do not know how to differ and stay together.

We still view those with an opposing viewpoint as enemies.

We get personal and kill each other over issues we should sit down and negotiate over.

We form new political parties whenever we have differences with our allies as if those differences alone are the pillar of the national philosophy.

We do not follow, adopt or create believable philosophies or doctrines anymore but we claim to refine what others did in the past to serve their times.

We bottle ourselves up in descriptions we care little about.

I am a leftist.

You are left of center.

He is a moderate.

He is a right winger.

That one is right of center.

Oh, no, look at that extremist!

Why can’t we just be Zimbabweans and negotiate with each other on issues that are of meaning to us while we make the most of those areas in which we have common ground.

I would have liked to see a maturity among our politicians; a maturity that takes advantage of our positives while at the same time working harder and thinking deeper to smooth over where we differ?

While I agree that one cannot serve both their conscience and the nation well if one is made to adopt and implement “philosophies” they do not subscribe to, I am not amused by the failure of our leaders to exploit common ground.

They are more thunderous in opposition to each other but muted in areas they agree.

They emphasize their disagreements more than areas in which they agree.

But I say that the areas in which we agree are more important than those we disagree upon.

We do not have a culture of compromise for the sake of the nation; most decisions our politicians make are based on self-interest.

We have always respected our politicians and leaders.

So many times, I have watched strong political parties breaking up; I have seen personal differences being pushed forward at the expense of national consideration.

Our politicians must cultivate a strong sense of purpose and work together. If all of them had the nation’s interests at heart, we would not be witnessing the break-up of political parties into which so many put so much faith.

Now we have to start afresh as we watch the ruling party itself sailing in stormy seas.

Take it or leave it; history never dies.

And so I refuse to despair.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, June 30th, 2014.


  • comment-avatar
    nyoni 10 years ago

    Joseph you have said your bit and we all know that history does repeat itself. Forgeting history or in the case of our country where Mugabe and co have tried to sweep the past like it never happened. Yes the past should be remembered whether it was bad or good we all must learn from it so that future generations try not to make the same mistakes but move to make their lives better for all Zimbabweans.

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      Zimbabwean history does not does not start with ZANU PF, it dates back to time immemorial. The essence of understanding national history be it past or present is to draw lessons from it in order to improve our lot as a people. History has positive and negative narratives, for example, the colonization and subsequent establishment of a colonial rule in Zimbabwe can never be spoken in good light. On the other hand, resistance to occupation by our forefathers and the waging of an armed struggle that brought African freedom to Zimbabwe deserve positive illumination by Africans.

      • comment-avatar
        Tanonoka Joseph Whande 10 years ago

        I agree but history is not created to be copied but improved upon. That is why they make better cars today than they did in 1920.

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      Motomoto 10 years ago

      While it is important to cricise ourselves we must not forget our strengths, After 2008 and all the stolen elections and being told the pen wont take this country away from Zanu, Zimbabweans should have rioted, burnt and looted our own motherland. Even the tribal tention has not given birth to the Rwanda type genocide. NB Gukurahundi was 5th Brigade versus a tribe not a tribe against another as it was in Rwanda. These are strengths we must cherish.

      Our history is unfortunately being obliterated for elevating Zanu PF propeganda, Joshua Nkomo is not remembered as a trade unionist least we promote the unionism of Morgan and Gibson Sibanda. The revolution was not started by city folks least we promote city based thought ledears that gave us parties like MDCs. The liberation history itself ignores Hamadziripi and Rugare Gumbo’s woes least we paint Zanu PF in bad picture and the Nhari rebellion is glossed over least we reveal what must be forgoten.

      Tanonoka get the point; History is not what we want or what we are promoting its what happened PERIOD!! our kids are fed with pseudo history. Just as the warvets removed all colonial monuments from Harare Kopje and Harare gardens histroy is under threat from Zanu PF

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    JRR56 10 years ago

    I sometimes despair for Africa. In Malawi the brother of the President that brought the country to ruin and died because of his own stupid policies is elected into office. In Zimbabwe Mugabe wins by a landslide. Can African people not see what these people really are, are they blinded by tribalism, are unable to disseminate between good and evil?

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    Mlimo 10 years ago

    The saying goes only a fool makes the same mistakes twice. Zimbabwe learnt absolutely nothing in 34 years of its own history nor did it learn anything from all the former colonies since the early 1960,s. the state of Zimbabwe and its debt is proof of its leadership failures- maybe educated but have learnt nothing.

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    It would be a good idea if Tanonoka rewrite Zim history so that our grandchildren can be educated. Not this Zanu hogwash whereby Rhodes is ignored and ZAPU is referred to as a Ndebele party yet it’s stronghold was Highfields n Mbare.

    • comment-avatar
      Tanonoka Joseph Whande 10 years ago

      E. Makhate, you are too kind. History writers must be without emotion. Alas, I am tainted my friend. Thanks though.

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    Zim Patriot 10 years ago

    Mahatma Ghandhi once said”When I despair, I remember all through history the way of truth and love always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, ALWAYS”!!!!!!!!Lets pray beloved Zimbabweans, we the people deserve more, we deserve peace and prosperity and what was so jealously guarded and fought for pre independence was freedom of choice and one man one vote?????Shona, Ndebele, black, indian, coloured or white we deserve a better Zimbabwe, a thriving economy like our neighbours and peace for every Zimbabwean…..Pray to our Lord and Saviour and He can deliver us ….

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      If a prayer unites us to understand that we are a people together with a common destiny then I totally agree with your plea to Zimbabweans of substance. After all if we share a common denominator that of being Zimbabweans it becomes essential to unite and shun the devil who thrives on our disunity.

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    @Zim Patriot I like the way you put it. I don’t think any of us realize any good coming from this. We have all been stripped naked and what was in our minds exposed. We now find out selves facing similar problems caused by our recent history. What ever the future holds for us many have realized that the politics of tribe colour and race do not put food in our stomachs.As I’ve said before our children (the future) are schooling and playing together. Those that favour tribe over nation will be left behind. Like yesterday is our history tomorrow we make history. A good article from Whande the only thing I don’t agree with is that Most of the people at the so-called Heroes’ Acre will never make it into our history books, they must lest we forget. For in that piece of land lie The Good, The Bad and the ugly.

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    Chanisa 10 years ago

    Maybe there is no real essence in being Zimbabwean. What binds us but the colonial boundaries? What are our values as a nation? Divisiveness is typically ours, be it in politics, sport, business or religion. Just look around.

    An African friend of mine once told me that they (Africans) are confounded by how Zimbabweans fail to find common ground among themselves. But why? Are we headstrong, rebellious and bold? Or are we meek, pliant and cowardly? The divisions that Whande is citing throughout history would invariably have been fostered by a headstrong incumbent leader from whose ass the sun shone. Democracy is a foreign concept that we find hard to assimilate. We are conditioned socio-psychologically to brutal coercion, which we accommodate with the fortitude that drives us to church to seek God’s guidance on matters that should be well within our ability to resolve. We are cry-babies when subdued, and reptilian tyrants when we happen to be in charge. We are people of expedience.

    Sometimes it takes a tyrant to whip a sleeping nation into some form of commonness. Perhaps that’s what Mugabe has sought to achieve all these years. After he is gone will we be united about what we never ever want to be again.

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    Mseyamwa 10 years ago

    Someday Zimbabweans will become wiser politician and all and start to appreaciate other people or even respect them. As of now the Zimbabweans do not easily see the human being in a person but tend to obsess on what surrounds the person – is he educated, is she rich, what could they get out him? Wisdom, in leadership is worth much more than the so called education for many have passed an examination which they cannot pass again. It is at a certain point for a psrticular purpose that one gets educated but it is for a lifetime to possess wisdom and wisdom is not acquired by passing examinations.

    Through wisdom leadership will choose the path of real benefit for their people, for they come before the land that is Zimbabwe. People and peoples’ lives are worth muvh more than the diamonds in marange and the wildlife in hwange but each of these would be valuable if its existence could be channelled to propel peoples’ lives in positive development.

    Those in leadership today claim to be educated but are unwise that is why, for all their knowledge of, not only, Zimbabwe’s history, they will continue to blunder in their plunder. Seeking personal glory in financial wealth, ignoring the sinking lives around them only to follow on the downward because no matter how rich you become without people to make and sell you what your money can buy, ehat use is the money anyway. You could build thyself factories but how would you sustain their operations if noone can buy your products. Some have bought banks but noone deposits any meaningful money in them and so they sink. Have these things ever happened before? Yes, but education would never take note for it is just an examination away. You may crame for it or cheat for it.