CultureThe Quill

My People, My People

My people could mean anyone who can relate to the above. In many ways, most Africans should fall into “my people” category. But I could never be so insensitive as to speak for a whole continent, or a whole country even. I do not know the story of every Zimbabwean, I only speak for myself and what I perceive in those around me.

 

“Zvirisei?”(how are you?)

“Ha, zvakaoma mudhara.”(life is tough, my friend)

Typical. My people have so many problems that the problems have become incorporated in popular colloquial greeting. My people have many problems, and as is natural, their conversations are indicative of this. My people like to complain, and when this happens, often the conversation becomes political and they rail against the government – after all the government has ruined everything! My people love to pass the blame, I love to pass the blame. But lately I have been thinking, and I may get into trouble for this; but is there something wrong with my people?

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The biggest question has been, are my people well suited to independent democratic institutions?

Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of the imperfect but functional democracy that is the United States is famous for having stated that democracy had to be worked for. He stated that it could only be kept alive in a society of engaged, educated and informed citizens. A look at Zimbabwe’s literacy figures may give you a false basis for answering the question. Whether or not we are actually informed and educated can be seen in how we conduct ourselves.

So while they rail against the government, my people throw their trash in the drainpipes outside my home. My neighbourhood has diapers in every open space. My people do this because there is no way they can be held responsible.

Now this may not seem like the best example of irresponsiblity but for my purposes it will do. The behaviors we display lead one to question; whether or not we have learned the tenets that are fundamental to modern life. Cities are small overloaded spaces, we have not learned to live in them.

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Just as the normal man has not learned this, the politician has not learned his duty. We need to be engaged in a new struggle to inculcate new values.

My people suffer for a lack of knowledge.

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