A few weeks ago I was discussing a personal issue with a few friends. I walked away from that sad discussion and felt…..hurt and judged to put it quite bluntly. I ponder and every so often I document my final thoughts as I’m doing right now. This situation reminded me that very often we judge life’s interesting situations (me included) without acknowledging that we don’t always have all the facts at hand. In fact I have often said that there are always 3 sides to every story: mine, yours and then the truth. It is that truth we should always seek.
My own personal situation got me thinking about what this blog is really all about. We judge our Zimbabwe and Africa in general extremely harshly. You see, the Zimbabwe and indeed the Africa I know is very different to one ‘they’ portray. I find the reality and perception are miles apart. I find this extremely frustrating actually. I have often said that if Iraq and Afghanistan had their own ‘CNN or BBC’, then perhaps our impression of their respective realities would be very different. We would probably know more about the civilian casualty rate or perhaps what the common Iraqi thinks and feels in general about that war. I’m not suggesting that CNN and BBC don’t cover such issues, but I am cognisant that these broadcasters have their own agendas to fulfil which are naturally different to that of the local Iraqis and Afghans.
Turning back to my own personal situation; it got me thinking further about being a Zimbabwean and indeed an African ambassador. More often than not, we find ourselves in this role whether we choose to or not. If this is the case, shouldn’t we then be in a position to discuss and share the reality of our continent openly? Shouldn’t we speak with such conviction when we do this? I’m wondering what other Africans discuss when they think of Africa?
- Do we walk around discussing BEE in South Africa and how unfair it may/may not actually be or do we look at the history of that country and make a judgement based on all the information available right now?
- Do we fully understand why Mugabe preaches indigenisation and empowerment laws in Zimbabwe? Is it really all about white vs. black people? Is it sufficient for a multinational corporation et al to come into Zim and simply employ as opposed to empowering people economically?
- Do we understand why we have MDC-99, MDC-T and indeed MDC-M (or MDC-N)?
- What does MDC (in general including the various factions) and Zanu actually stand for in 2011 and beyond? How will the people benefit from their various policies? Matter of fact, what are their policies?
- Do we complain about the internet connection in Zim or do we acknowledge the work currently being done quietly to address this very issue?
- Do we fully understand the history of Zimbabwe and why things in Zim are actually the way they are for now?
- Do we all realise that therein lay various opportunities for people at different levels to set up businesses, co-operatives and such, which will hopefully contribute to the formal sector?
- Do we look further and analyse politics in Nigeria, land reform in Zimbabwe, the crisis in Libya, the changing landscape in Sudan, Kenya’s economic growth or the Ghanaian political journey?
- Ultimately, do we take responsibility for our own actions or lack of? As a Zimbabwean who left my beloved to pursue further education and so forth, how did my absence contribute to the current status quo? Surely it is time for me to take responsibility for assisting Zimbabwe’s economic demise? At some point I should accept some responsibility right?
- Or do we simply diagnose the situation on the ground with little thought to the overall situation and simply share our typical negative findings with others like the majority of people do?
Too often we sit by the sidelines eating our custard cream donuts, licking our figures in the process and simply judge our beloved continent without fully understanding her journey and the tribulations she has had to endure to get to this very point today. This blog although inspired by my personal situation was written to simply remind us (me included) that we often need to be less emotional about the African situation in general, adopt a more pragmatic approach when discussing our beloved and look at her from a holistic perspective. Let us remember to hold our tongues when opportunities to judge arise. Let us instead gather all the information we can at the time and make the best decision based on that.
May God bless Africa!