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Opinion on Independence: Outsiders cannot define us

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Zim Independence

Opinion on Independence: Outsiders cannot define us. In this column, we strive to provide panoramic commentary on developments in the country across all sectors — politics, economy, culture and diplomacy. In this era of social media overindulgence; we believe mainstream media remains the sole frontier left in providing fact-checked information that assists citizens to navigate their daily lives.

Today, we relaunch “Writing Back”, a column birthed at our sister paper, The Sunday Mail a year ago. Unlike other alternative media platforms obsessed with traffic on their sites, mainstream media is accountable to its readers, advertisers and shareholders and operates within the purview and confines of the law.

But publishing authentic, relevant or useful information is not an easy task in this post-truth era where even the most enlightened individuals occasionally fall prey to fake news.  Some among us suffer from an impulsive urge to be the first to know “things” and the first to break the “news” with zero consideration of the truthfulness of the information.

We are thus in an era in which everyone needs to value media literacy to distinguish genuine news from truckloads of trash daily offloaded onto various social media platforms. Our debt is to Zimbabweans. We stand guided by the substratum of the Second Republic; engagement, re-engagement, economic diplomacy and non-adversarial political engagement. We are first and foremost Zimbabweans.

Being Zimbabwean means having a shared experience, geographical space and bound by our bloodlines. Indeed, we are one people with a proud history of heroism, innovation and hospitality. We are pan-African and proudly wear our blackness as a badge of honour. We are Afrocentric in our behaviour and in our relations with other nations.

Conscious of our Africanness and how the world is skewed against us; we won’t relent “Writing Back” to the empire. And we will not hesitate where necessary to call to order the often decontextualised reportage on Zimbabwe.

We will continue telling our African story because we are aware that the West’s perception of us is still steeped in the racial historiography of the likes of Joseph Conrad as typified in “Heart of Darkness”. We can no longer stand akimbo while the West continues to misrepresent us. We aspire to create our own new realities of existence.

As the media, we have a duty not only to project the African story from an Afrocentric perspective but to educate the masses of our history of glory and valour that must stand as inspirational reference. We must debunk in our psyche the notion of a doomed people. We are not objects of pity.

The saddest thing about Africa today is that we seem to have outsourced our intellectual thinking to outsiders. We continue being defined by IMF, World Bank, and even Bono or Bill Gates. Our kids grow up being inspired by the Kardashians.

We think it’s cool and fashionable to take other people’s models of success without regard to our history and culture or internal dynamics. When are we going to have the next Walter Rodney, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Du Bois or even Kenneth Kaunda? Imagine what Africa would be if Africans loved Africa as much as the rest of the world loves its resources.

The problem we face today is that we fear stating the obvious to avoid negative labels. We have arrogated the duty of informing us and our children about the world to Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The time has come to tell our children about our valiant forefathers’ fight against colonialism.

We have a new struggle on our hands. The same forces that yesterday physically subjugated us and took over our countries remain active today. The “imperial project” is still alive and it has recruited some among us to do its bidding.

Naomi Chomsky lays bare the foundation and perpetuation of the imperial project through what he calls the doctrine of the “Grand Area” developed during the Second World War by America’s State Department and Council on Foreign Relations.

In Chomsky’s words, the Third World was and is there to “fulfil its major function as a source of raw materials and a market” for industrial capitalist societies. The Third World was to be exploited for the reconstruction of Europe and Japan.

It was even suggested that Europe might get a psychological lift from the project of “exploiting” Africa. Naturally, no one suggested that Africa should exploit Europe for its reconstruction, perhaps also improving its state of mind.

The problem is that we spend precious time musing on the mundane while shutting our eyes to real issues. Hordes of declassified documents are available for everyone’s reading but someone still finds it convenient to craft a political career as an apologist of the West’s “imperial project”. Wake Up Zimbabwe, no one owes us a living.

Source – The Herald

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