IN Britain’s colonial Southern Rhodesia, with Salisbury as its capital, a woman imbued with the spirit of liberation and freedom issued a command to the oppressed black people of this country to “take up the gun (to free) and rule yourselves”.
Enraged or frightened, the colonial rulers in Salisbury moved swiftly and hanged Gogo/Mbuya Nehanda under a trumped up charge of murder and they and their hangmen must have rubbed their hands in glee at eliminating a dangerous threat to their rule as well as to the rest of white settlers in this country.
But unbeknown to the settlers, the hangman’s noose could not reach out for Nehanda’s order now already embedded in the hearts of the oppressed black people, like a seed buried in the soil and would soon germinate, grow and flower as the armed revolution that secured this country from the racist colonial rulers, witness the freedom that we all enjoy today as Zimbabweans.
But despite using violence in the retrieval of a motherland that had suffered force in its occupation, the exigencies for rebuilding an economy seriously damaged by illegal Western sanctions seeking to effect regime change as punishment for the Zanu-PF Government’s land reform programme which saw land forcefully owned by some white settler farmers being repossessed for redistribution to blacks who needed that asset the most, leaves little or no time for Zimbabwe’s national political leaders to attend to all the issues that affect families in our country.
Which is where the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, has weighed in and continues to do so with the exemplary love of a mother of the nation.
To be sure, some homes in Zimbabwe today might be mistaken by a stranger from Mars for a crop field with young plants being swamped by weeds to remain stunted in producing little or no fruit to benefit families as a whole.
Children, like crops in a field, are supposed to benefit with their progressive deeds not only the families that produce them but also a society in which they are born and raised.
But can anyone say with any truthfulness that young boys and girls in Zimbabwe today meet the requirements of responsible citizens as stated by this pen immediately above?
This communicologist-cum-sociologist contends that many young boys and girls in our country blissfully go astray or cannot play full and responsible roles in both their families and in our society as a whole because of the absence of the right people to inculcate the right values in order for the youths to properly fulfil their societal roles.
This is an obvious indictment on many a family in our country for reneging on the socialisation role that parents must of necessity play to prepare their off-spring for roles to play in our Zimbabwean society when they grow up.
Delinquent indulgencies in violence as well as in harmful sexual activities at their age and in alcoholic beverages, or to obnoxious social media products, are but a few of the anti-social activities by young people in our country for lack of proper parental guidance.
But the good news is that the youths of this country, and indeed all of us, have a God-send in the First Lady as Zimbabwe’s socialisation agent par excellence to help young Zimbabweans know and play useful roles in both their families and in our society as a whole as responsible citizens, while at the same time re-awakening parents and traditional leaders from their apparent slumber in order for them to help raise young girls and boys to play their roles as responsible citizens.
The First Lady has tirelessly been traversing the country from Kanyemba district on the border with Mozambique to Binga district in the north to Bulilima and Mangwe in Matabeleland South where the San community lives, communing with the rural folk there on various issues affecting them.
She has for instance flown with San children from their community — which has lived in virtual isolation in Matabeleland and is historically known for being hunters and gatherers — to Victoria Falls on a holiday of a lifetime as a remarkable demonstration of her act of motherhood, not to mention her call earlier this week at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo for women to actively engage themselves in economic empowerment and her advice previously to young girls to respect and protect their bodies by not indulging in sexual activities.
In her rural tours, the First Lady has been promoting traditional dishes on traditional grains to provide nutrition with traditional leaders waking up from their slumber, as it were, to support her.
As anyone should know, maize was introduced to Africa from South America by sailors on a search for a sea route to India — before those without knees set foot on this continent — shoved with their commercial value small grains that Africans, including Zimbabweans, cultivated for their nutritious value as our people embraced maize to make money for themselves.
A housewife in Bulawayo described the First Lady’s work among rural communities, in particular, as “great”.
“Today many families are separated from grandparents who are supposed to provide proper guidance to their grandchildren, with other parents who work and live in the diaspora also not readily available to raise their children as responsible citizens, so that the latter depend largely on social media which tends to mislead them in most cases,” said the housewife who asked not to be named.
She said other women in her position might well flaunt their First Family status by flying to Dubai, Paris or other capital cities abroad on shopping junkets and wait patiently at home for their President husbands to retire or expire so that the wives might replace them as though the presidency were an inheritance.
Curiosa and curiosa.
In Zimbabwe’s case, however, kudos must be lavished on our First Lady for her remarkable demonstration of what public role the mother of a nation is expected to play.