Reality check of 36 years of Zimbabwean independence indicates a gross systematic loss of political control by Mthwakazi. With every year of ‘independence’ we are being pushed further away from decisions impacting our lives. We can change this steep path to oblivion, but a steely and collective resolve is required to restore ourselves.
The same reality check however, also confirms our privileged position as a socially diverse and politically innovative region. We have a moral responsibility to create a safe environment for the diversity of cultures and political opinions.
Diversity is the greatest attribute in our social space; it is our strength and, should not be taken for granted; we appreciate the beauty and strength that lie in it. At the same time, we are not oblivious to the challenges it may bring; it is thus our priority today that we guard against complacency that threatens our shared values and weakens patriotism.
A nation that allows arrogance and ignorance to destroy its patriotism is subject to ruin. We recognise that having our loyalties split between Mthwakazi and Zimbabwe threatens our socio-political cohesion and confuses political interests. Creating and maintaining a common sense of belonging in our highly diverse nation will be no mean business. We will need to present a clear and consistent message that unites more than divides our people if we are to nurture genuine patriotism.
If we are to be a force to be reckoned with, we need everyone pulling the same direction with the same zest regardless of their race, tribe and ethnic origin. For that form of patriotism to take hold, we need to accept all who call Mthwakazi home are entitled to expect and feel a warm emotional embrace from our politics and, that must be seen in practice. We are created equal, and all deserve every chance to accomplish our dreams.
The foundational base for a balanced Mthwakazi political reform is honesty; honesty and loyalty are key elements in political interactions. First, we need to be honest with ourselves about the existing challenges that threaten internal unity. How safe is our socio-political space to diversity? The honest answer is that we are relatively safe today but, subjective safety is not safety in my books; more needs to be done.
Let us be honest about the existing structural socio-political inequalities inherited from the founding politics of the historic Mthwakazi nation, the type that continue to hamper internal socio-political sobriety. We need to accept that abeZansi and abeNhla, respectively, were accorded a higher status over the so-called amaHole.
To add to the socio-political reality described above, there is significant political diversity in the region that can be directly linked with the failure to address historical socio-political injustices within the Mthwakazi multinational state. Consider the diversity of political views about the restoration of the monarchy. Who will be the King? What would be the role of a monarchy in our modern state? Is there any operational justification for maintaining such an institution?
It is safe to say the monarchy restoration project bears little to no universal acceptance and political benefits to Mthwakazi; it is almost exclusively a Nguni pride restoration project; other ethnic groups are yet to be convinced of its universal political and operational benefits today.
True patriotism is averse to internal injustice; how we accommodate internal differences will define our success or failure. Let us emphasise the importance of accepting difference and challenge the instinctive hostility against certain tribes. The flagrant use of such terms as iHole/ amaHole should stop immediately.
While abeZansi and abeNhla do not find it offensive, the recipients of the term are offended; I think I will trust the feelings of those labelled as such over opinions of those who crafted the term and, for the safety, stability and political progress in our region we all must reject its usage at all times.
Patriotism is not just good for Mthwakazi politics, it is everything; it is self-defence; we need unbreakable togetherness if we are to restore our political authority. No tribe is superior in Mthwakazi; we are created equal and should be treated as such.