Stephen Mpofu, Perspective
IF inclusiveness is a true definition of society, then Zimbabwe is dead on course in this matter, witness current efforts by the Government to integrate members of the San community in Matabeleland, who for years have lived in virtual political, social and economic isolation to some extent apparently by virtue of their historical background as generations of hunters and gatherers who still feel, or are made to feel by communities around them, as people who belong to jungles where their forefathers dwelt and lived off hunting and gathering.
The story of the Harlem ghetto community in New York City, the USA, appears germane in this course as a correlation of the story of the San community in our county with their historical background as black slaves from Africa living as an embedment in a land flowing with milk and honey, with violence a tag pinned to their shoulders to make them virtual anathema or dreaded by the larger white American community.
This journalist spent a fortnight working on the Amsterdam News, then the biggest black newspaper based in New York City’s Harlem ghetto, during a sponsored tour of the United States from the writer’s base in exile in Zambia, well before Zimbabwe’s independence, and observed during that period heart-rending scenes of blacks, old people and children, sleeping crowded on verandas of their high-rise apartments in the sweltering heat of summer, while elsewhere around Harlem, their white compatriots went to sleep in their cosy blankets, in air-conditioned rooms and dreaming sweet dreams as it were.
This scribe cannot say for sure, and no one who has paid a recent visit to New York has told of any integration of the Harlem ghetto community members into the mainstream American society with their deplorable living conditions now a mere proverb.
On the other hand, the Zimbabwean Government’s plans to build schools for the San community, as announced recently, demonstrates a commendable move by our revolutionary Government to integrate everyone in this country into the mainstream political, economic and social arena so that Zimbabweans march resolutely into a brave new future as a united people.
Education as an empowerment tool, and as such, members of the San community young and old, must be conscientised regarding the role they must play as members of one society for the betterment of everyone in our country.
That the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, demonstrated the need for the San community to feel as part and parcel of the Zimbabwean society by taking the San children to Victoria Falls on a holiday, as a mother of the entire Zimbabwean nation, should motivate parents and other elders in the San community to move away from their isolation and be part of a whole nation on the march to better and sustainable development in all aspects that will make our country the envy of others in the global village.
What should follow now is the empowerment of the San women to play their part, like other Zimbabwean women in national development.
What is therefore, apparently needed is for the powers that be or for members of the ruling party (Zanu-PF) to set up structures in the San community to activate all integration processes economically and politically, as is happening in other parts of the country under devolution also known as the deputisation of central government power by provincial government structures.
Latest reports show that this country is fast becoming a magnet for foreign investment in mining, agriculture and in technological transfer so that no community anywhere in our country should feel isolated or wilfully isolate themselves from benefits of foreign investment.
Also a crackdown by the Anti-Corruption Commission on bigwigs who use whatever tactics are in their dirty books to get scot-free from their abominable acts, while the small fry face the wrath of the law against corruption is something every law-abiding citizen must applaud since corrupt acts soil the name of our beloved country, causing potential foreign investors to not part with their hard earned money.
Also to be loudly applauded by Zimbabweans, including those in the political opposition, must be the recent stern warning by President Mnangagwa as also First Secretary of the ruling party that violence, physical or verbal, will not be tolerated by anyone trying to get elected by hook or crook.
Which means only those with a clean slate are potential deliverers to the wills and desires of our people and must therefore get the thumbs-up at elections because they are not likely to bite the fingers that feed them.
In pre-uhuru times and in the federated colonial territories of Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland — now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi — white racist colonial rulers stamped their heavy feet carrying surfeited bellies on the ground in hopes that their black subjects would lick the supreme imprinted messages ad infitum while on the contrary the latter looked up to their Creator with pleas for intervention in their fate, witness the liberation of their territories from foreign rule.
This, therefore, points to a challenge for free and independent states, including our own and others elsewhere on the African continent, to portray themselves, and be seen by all to do so, as skies pregnant with rainbow clouds that posit equal rights for all on the ground in the same way that rainbows in the sky point to bountiful rainfall needed by people to plant and harvest food for themselves and for export to earn much-needed foreign currency.
Which therefore suggests that the Church, as the sanctified abode of God’s servants, should prepare the ground work, defying whatever lack or hindrance, for Jehovah God to shower on His people blessings which however, retreat in flight from communities or societies devoid of the fear of our Creator.