Slaves who think they are free condemn themselves and generations after them to a whole life of enslavement. Our Matabele brothers who feel free, satisfied and equal within Zimbabwean systems are free to feel so but they should stop their pathetic attempts at sharing their complacency with the rest of the ordinary Matabele citizens who feel the brunt of ZANU PF orchestrated oppression.
Chains of enslavement cannot be rid of by renaming them bracelets; they need to be broken! An occasional stage-managed ride by a slave in a slave master’s horse carriage is neither a sign of the weakening authority of the slave master nor the pending freedom of a slave. A favoured slave is still a slave; a slave who has lost insight of his status is not necessarily free. Freedom means the removal of all obstructions that stop communities from living their lives in the way they choose; no sane Matabele can genuinely claim that to be the case in Zimbabwe right now.
Matabeleland is no less colonised today than it was before the end of British colonialism. We remain out of the corridors of real power and are no closer today from decisions that impact our lives than we were during the colonial era. How long we turn the other cheek will determine how long we remain oppressed within Zimbabwe.
In fighting oppression, Matabeles need to be politically creative and clear in what they want to achieve. It has taken years but Matabeleland now collectively acknowledges that what has maintained ZANU PF’s hold in the region has been the misplaced desire to wrestle power from Mashonaland when our focus should be the creation of systems and processes that stimulate a genuine local power base. Matabeleland has minimal impact in the Zimbabwean politics carefully choreographed in Harare.
Matabeleland complacency that has sustained the ZANU PF grip on the region needs to be challenged. Transmitting ZANU PF power is not Matabeleland power. Only political creativity will remove us from oppression while vigilance should ensure we keep our focus and secure our freedom.
Choosing our battles wisely will be important; fighting for control of Zimbabwean politics is a losing battle; our focus should be education. Without a doubt, education is an invaluable tool at our disposal; we need to deny space to an education system that only conforms to the ethnic Shona creed by actively supporting local educational infrastructure and taking control of what forms our children’s learning and education.
Freedom is not a privilege but a right. A ‘liberated slave’ is not a free man for as long as his measure of success remains his oppressor. Let us not be fooled by a content non-representative minority of Matabele benefactors of a corruptible Zimbabwean system; Matabeleland problems within Zimbabwe are down to discriminatory systems and not local attitude.