By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
Each and every one of us has that special day that they will always cherish and hold in very high regard, above all others – which bears profound meaning to them, and in their lives.
This is a day that they never need to be constantly nagged about.
This is a day that they never need to be reminded of – as its impact in their lives is unforgettable, and has etched a permanent indelible place in their hearts.
It could be a day that brings immense sadness, and a tragic reminder, of the loss of a beloved one – or it could signal exuberance, due to a specific event that brought joy and happiness, such as a wedding, graduation, birth, or job promotion.
With such occasions, there will obviously be no reason for the affected person to be repeatedly told not to forget what it means, how it impacted his life, and how important is was to commemorate its significance.
If such prompting, and jogging of one’s memory is required – then, it can only mean one thing…the day carries absolutely no momentousness or weight at all in that person’s life – but, maybe only to the one insisting upon its recognition and observance.
For instance, the 17th and 18th of April have a major indelible significance in my life – that, I will never forget for as long as I breathe.
April 17 is the day I finally decided to quit drinking alcohol, and the 18th was the first day of my life of sobriety – that I consider the first day of my new rebirthed life, which marked a phenomenal transformation in everything about me…with all praises and glory going to my Jehovah God Almighty, in Christ Jesus’ name.
Therefore, this date is always something I eagerly, jubilantly, and thankfully look forward to on the calendar, as it marks the addition of another year onto my new me – which, I hold dearly, and clearly do not require to be constantly reminded of by anyone else.
In fact, I would not be surprised at all if my wife, mother, or son do not even remember the exact date – but this should not be shocking, since its meaning is more profound to me, and what such a decision meant for my life.
As such, when the Zimbabwe ruling establishment is making a whole lot of noise over the April 18 so-called “Independence Day” celebrations – the only thing on my mind is my own personal “Independence Day” from a life of drinking – which, between the two, carries more weight and significance in my life.
The other April 18 can be celebrated by those who see anything to be celebrated in Zimbabwe – where the vast majority of us (about 76%) live below the poverty datum line, nearly half the population in extreme poverty (earning less than US$1.90 a day), with over 90% unemployment, and those starting their own small business ventures even failing to make ends meet, with most of their inviable enterprises collapsing in under five years.
Even those supposedly benefiting from so-called “empowerment projects” by both the government and ruling ZANU PF – cannot even afford to purchase or build a decent house in the low density suburbs for themselves and their families – but, have to be content with living from hand to mouth, as they have to sing for their very survival, through unquestioned obedience and loyalty to their party.
What do we have to be jubilant about?
Of course, from these depressing and disheartening figures, we can see that – possibly, 10% of the Zimbabwe population enjoy their livelihoods, and they can afford the opulence of this life, and all its creature comforts.
They are the ones who have every right, reason, and justification to hold Zimbabwe’s “Independence Day” in high regard – and, most certainly do not need to be repeatedly told and reminded of its meaning and impact on their lives, since they experience the joys of its fruits on a daily basis.
Thus, should this 10% feel the perfectly understandable need to spend April 18 in wild excitement and jubilation – they are free to do so.
Nonetheless, let none of them seek to force us to recognize and celebrate something that has absolutely no meaning to us, by constantly shoving its unseen and undetectable benefits down our throats.
For the majority of Zimbabweans – who want to be true to themselves, understand the magnitude of how their lives have been ruined by the ruling elite, and what they could have achieved in life, had we had competent leaders who knew how to manage and build the nation – the day can only hold bitterness and sorrow.
For those who actually partook in the 1960s and 70s liberation struggle from colonial domination – who sacrificed everything for this country, including their families, education and a promise of a better tomorrow, with others paying with their limbs and the ultimate sacrifice, and yet have been abandoned to a life of poverty and destitution, whilst their leaders gorge themselves on the fat of the land – the day can only bring a sense of great betrayal and anger.
Our gallant Sons and Daughters of the Soil have every right to be enraged at the shameful stabbing in the back, by those who hijacked the people’s revolution for their own self-serving ambitions and interests – which have since proven to be divorced from the broader national agenda, and vision of the liberation struggle.
To be brutally frank, the only person I acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate for saving me from a life of subjugation, sadness, and sinfulness is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – and certainly not ZANU PF – as a life free of alcohol has been the greatest “independence” I have ever experienced in my entire life, and has broken the chains of a lost life.
As such, I will always celebrate the 18th of April of each and every year – but, most definitely not for the same reasons as the Zimbabwe ruling elite.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]