The political instability shadowing Mthwakazi is no accident but a predictable outcome of our capitulation to the weight of Zimbabwean chaos and confusion. We cannot expect to strengthen ourselves by imitating the same ZANU PF values that form the base of failed systems and institutions of today.
We find ourselves on the desert of political misfits because we are trying to embrace Zimbabwean economic and socio-political solutions constructed through beliefs and values foreign to us. Intentions devoid of action have never changed people’s circumstances.
In what appears to be an illogical and now condemned philosophical approach, we have adapted to our circumstances and compromised away our values and have started looking away and not at ourselves for solutions to our problems hence are now trapped in a web of the delusion of comfort of the discomfort that often comes with blindly embracing foreign values and foreign solutions.
We cannot be free and have foreign values-based political institutions as our main parties and our major city led by an outsider with no knowledge and no interest in local values. We have adopted a liberal position not out of principle but to justify our failure to uphold our own values. We have lost local influence and are a confused lot because we are desperately trying to fit into institutions (ZANU PF/ MDC) that were set outside us without us in mind, that is, in a power sense.
Complaining about our circumstances is the start not the end of the process of self-empowerment. We will not just set goals for what we want to do but will set goals for how we want to live our lives. We must think of what kind of people we want to be? What values we want to uphold? We need a long-term plan of how we can put ideas into action. You would be pleased to know this is already happening at different stages within the Mthwakazi socio-political space.
If there is one thing for our people to take home from this article, it will be that change is impossible without a firm foundation, for without that changeless core inside us, we cannot live with the challenges that come with change. Controversial as it sounds, it is true that the key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who we are as people, what we are about and what we value.
We will not see the back of oppression and progress will continue to elude us as long as our idea of success is acquiring as much foreign values as possible and getting rid of as much of our own values as possible. We cannot be values-free and expect to maintain our identity; without identity we cannot build lasting institutions but ephemeral organisations whose influence will remain unremarkable and we will remain appendages of foreign institutions and controlled by foreign dictates.
We recognise that values are subject to challenge, can be critiqued and turned inside out by intellectuals and cultural critics but that is no excuse to having none and adapting to anything thrown at us. While we accept it may be necessary to reconsider our core values, long-term planning is vital; from where we are, changes to our core values must be an evolution not revolution, from a position of strength and not a panic response to shocks within the system; new ideas will come and are welcome, if they are good, but they will have to be adapted to our values not the other way around.
As alluded to, we accept that in a competitive world of information technology where facts and lies criss cross each other from the south pole to the north pole in milliseconds our people will frequently encounter unpleasant facts, foreign ideas and competitive values. As a society, we will need to make choices, it is easier to make decisions when you know what your values are.
Without a reference point, our values, we cannot measure progress or failure of what we are doing. Before we try to formulate what truths and values to live up to, we need to refer back to the way we live our lives for clues of what truths we embody and what values we represent. We need discipline, a clear purpose will unite us as we move forward, values will guide our behaviour, and goals will focus our energy.
Our people will have to unlearn a lot of fictional information dished out as facts by the current education system. It is apparent that we will need to invest heavily in the formal education system and even invest more time in the informal sector teaching and reminding our people our value systems so that they are no longer left with uncertainty but sufficient education to judge the truth and falsehood in an open market of competing values.
Our values are our ultimate prosperity; at the end of it all, we will hide ourselves in the totality of the goodness of our values so that whosoever wants to find us will have to go through that chamber first. A link between our values and change cannot be overemphasised; to successfully function in a multicultural society with diverse values and traditions like Mthwakazi requires us to have a relationship to our own reactions rather than be captive of them, we can only manage that outside the ZANU PF/ MDC values.