When a people should love who they are

By IAfrica
In Zimbabwe
Aug 1st, 2014
0 Comments
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Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe

Make A Difference with Bee
JUST what happens to make a person despise who they are?
What makes a human being not take pride in where they come from and what defines them? There are many people around who have nothing positive to say about their country or origin. True, life is tough at the moment and the majority of us are just barely crawling from day to day. Whether you walk into a clinic or a hair salon, chances are that you will meet and hear people mourning about how hard it is just to get by. As a country, we are going through a very difficult patch where individuals and companies alike are barely hanging on. But does this take away who we are as a people? Do we even know who we are? Are we not appreciative of the fact that we are alive, at least? Are we not appreciative of the fact that we are at peace?

I went on a tour of the city of Melbourne last week and was able to see quite a few sights of the beautiful but very expensive Australian city. In this city it is very rare to buy anything for $1. I missed my dollar for two bargains while I was Down Under. Even a bottle of water costs between US$3 and US$4.

While this is the Australian dollar, there is not much difference between it and the United States dollar. In fact, those who changed their US dollars at the airport got less in Australian dollars with US$100 giving them AUS$71. Thus simple calculations will show you that a bottle of water at AUS$3 and a sandwich at AUS$5 is not a joke.

On this tour, which also took us through some of Melbourne’s residential areas, we learnt that the average price of houses in the city is around AUS$500 000 even though some fetch as much as AUS$3 million. The ones that fetch this much, according to our guide on the tour, are those houses in areas where there is a lot of history. Yes; the history of an area determines pricing. As we continued with the tour, which took us through places in memoriam where Australians take time to remember and honour those who died in the subsequent World Wars and sites where firsts were scored, in terms of business and other areas, I could not help but be amazed.

There are sites in Melbourne where tourists and locals go to pay homage to those people who fought and died to bring freedom to Australia and other countries alike. Here coins are thrown into pits of fire while moments of silence are observed to show respect. That is deep and sacred. But some of us here do not know much about our history. We do not take time to visit the Heroes Acre. Neither do we take time to visit the grave sites of our own parents or grandparents. Any such thing is quickly frowned upon as evil and devilish.

As I saw people (including visitors from Africa and Asia) throwing coins into a pit of fire at one such memoriam and others throwing coins into a wish pool in the hotel I stayed in, I could not help but ask myself; how come back home we look down upon such things?

In Australians, I saw a people who are proud of their history, which is good. Schoolchildren could be seen going on tours of their national heritage sites and being briefed on the rich history of these places.

I remember a time when this happened here a lot. We would go to the Museum and other places such as Chinhoyi Caves and Great Zimbabwe so we could appreciate our history. There are schools that still do this but there is need to intensify such programmes so our children know their history and better still; know and appreciate their country. Before tourists come and appreciate this country; we as Zimbabweans should appreciate it.

President Mugabe said it recently that it is time we encouraged locals to take an active participation in our tourist attractions and national heritage sites. He even said school tourism should be resuscitated in cases where it has fallen by the way side.

However, it is important to note that the only way this can pick up is if the pricing is affordable. If the pricing is crazy, then we will let ourselves down.
In Melbourne, where for all of us taking part in the AIDS Conference, the consensus was that prices are crazy, we found out that for the locals, they are not because their incomes are high and they can afford it.

Back to the subject at hand; which is about how some of us detest anything about ourselves that is traditional and historical. Some of us have no respect even for traditional/customary marriages anymore, because it is a traditional or cultural way of life. We must accept only that which someone else says is ideal; the modern marriage as brought to us by the missionaries. Yes it is good but who says our traditional marriages are less important? How come no one in your village will take you to be married if the lobola has not been paid for? That is our culture and we should take pride in it.

Some of us have since cut off all relations with our villages because as far as we are concerned, this is backward. Taking off shoes as a sign of respect at national heritage sites is considered diabolical by many.

Throwing coins as a sign of respect would be considered the very demonic of all things. In fact, if one were to be seen doing that, they would be accused of witchcraft. But when someone who is of lighter skin does it, do not be surprised to find some darker skinned people embracing it.

There is something about our failure to accept and love ourselves and that which defines us that should seriously worry us.
Some people cry at the emotion of what it means to have been liberated and yet some, among us, scoff at any mention of what it means to have been freed.

As we go into the Heroes and Defence Forces’ Holiday, let us just take a moment to honour those men and women, some dead and some living, some known and some unknown, who brought us the freedom we so much enjoy today.

Yes; things are difficult but at least we are free to do something about it.
A person with no knowledge of who they are is sad. Make a Difference by loving who you are!

btonhodzayi@gmail.com


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