By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia
THE obsession with vilifying the National Youth Service in Zimbabwe as a way of brainwashing young people and as a primitive venture of manufacturing mass-killing thugs for the benefit of politicians is the omnifarious embodiment of the propaganda that has brainwashed many of our black people today.
The Zimbabwe National Youth Service is a programme for instilling a sense of black consciousness inasfar as the Zimbabwean identity and sense of humanity is concerned. At no time was a meeting ever held to discuss how to train rapists, murderers or political hoodlums. Neither was the parent Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment ever established to develop youths into monsters meant to torture and subjugate the masses.
This is the ludicrous slander we read every day about the NYS programme and those who have so far benefited from the training programme.
We are reminded each day that the NYS programme is a Zanu-PF militia outfit meant to devour the MDC and its supporters. Without any evidence the graduates of this programme have been accused of killing thousands of innocent civilians, and the name of the late national hero, Cde Border Gezi, has been abused and adulterated to be synonymous with murder, torture and all manner of evil that the highly religious politician never associated with during his journey through this earth.
The loathed aspect of the National Youth Service programme has never been openly declared and may never be, but we will have to explore it in this piece. The West is dead scared of black consciousness and any effort that may lead to pragmatic and true mental independence by post-colonial Africa.
This writer believes a proper analysis of African Consciousness should begin with a comprehensive definition, which serves as a context within which we could then begin an exposition of the philosophy, psychology and ideology, which are the basic tenets of black consciousness in general and Zimbabwe’s national orientation in particular.
The 1972 Policy Manifesto of the South African Students’ Organisation defined Black Consciousness as "an attitude of mind, a way of life whose basic tenet is that the black must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of birth and reduce his basic human dignity".
The concept of African consciousness therefore implies an awareness of and pride in blackness by black people and implies that black people should and must appreciate their value as human beings.
This is the value that must emphatically dismiss such misguided and prejudiced opinion as the assertion that Zimbabwean black farmers are unskilled in farming by virtue of the colour of their skin.
It is the value that will disprove the racist notion that says the African continent is led by a bunch of dictators and corrupt kleptocrats from Cape to Cairo.
African consciousness means Africans must be aware of the significance and importance of their own value systems, that is, their socio-economic, political and cultural values. Implied in this appreciation is the need to reject those foreign, alien values that were forced down African throats as part of the colonial oppressor’s logic of maintaining and perpetrating his brutal system of exploitation and emasculation.
Today these foreign values are promoted as acts of civilisation to be imported from Western civilisations when they are nothing but a refined tool for the control of African resources and the yoking of African leadership into lapdog politics, the likes of which attract so much admiration by Western elites for anything MDC-T and anti-Mugabe; however obnoxious.
Literally speaking, the MDC-T leadership can afford to hang themselves en-mass today and such a foolish act would still be hailed as an act of extraordinary political prowess and a blow to President Mugabe. They simply cannot err by definition, certainly not in the eyes of Western elites.
The essence of the search for our indigenous value systems is the need to redefine ourselves and our value systems that are today still largely engulfed in the foreign, alien, exploitative and oppressive values that were imposed upon us by the colonial legacy — this both physically and psychologically, by our erstwhile oppressors who still seek to make us malleable to subjugation of the post-colonial order.
The challenge for an average African and Zimbabwean today is the need for a new and incisive redefinition, re-identification and reappraisal of the black totality in the context of a capitalist, racist and exploitative world order, presided over by the US-led Western imperial alliance acting as the modern-day missionary of international capitalism and finance capital — –something many Africans clamour for in the name of foreign investment.
There is another important aspect of African Consciousness; the call for cohesive group solidarity, that is national solidarity for Zimbabweans and black solidarity for the African family.
Thus the quintessence of national orientation for Zimbabweans is the realisation and acceptance by our people in and outside Zimbabwe that, in order to play a positive role in the post-independence emancipation of the nation, we must effectively employ the concept of group power and thereby build a strong base from which to counter the oppressor’s policy of divide and rule.
We have a sanctioned country and where we need to unanimously stand against such a racist policy as the US’ so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, we have some among us that only do not stand with others to help achieve this group power, but even shy to call sanctions by their real name — strangely seeking to dignify the brutality by sanitising the sanctions as mere "restrictive measures".
Where we have an inclusive Government meant to reconcile those who were swept away by borrowed values and reasoning and those still carrying the pride and legitimacy of our liberation legacy; we have seen others seeking to ‘‘disengage’’ from the national healing process for a re-engagement with the hostile forces that divided us in the first place.
Such behaviour is an insult to the philosophy of national orientation that calls for group pride and determination by indigenous Zimbabweans to rise together from the deathbed of economic strangulation by Western-engineered economic sanctions. Instead, some among us get hysterical inspiration to protest vigorously the mere appearance of a white colleague before the courts of law, sending to the whole world the misguided supremacist view that a white man before a black judge is anathema.
Roy Bennett must feel like the anointed prince of the universe when prime ministers flee their offices in protest, all because he has been brought before the courts of law. That makes the likes of Jestina Mukoko mere "African activists" whose appearance before the courts is only good enough as ammunition to demonise President Mugabe, but not so good to have the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe running all over the place like the mother of a dying single child.
At the heart of African Consciousness is also the need for realisation by our people that the most potent and effective weapon of oppression and exploitation in the hands of imperial elites is the mind of the oppressed. Today imperialism has fairly been effective in twisting and manipulating the minds of our young people to make them mentally and psychologically pliable to imperial domination and manipulation.
We call for a national orientation in Zimbabwe — a re-orientation that calls for a psychological revolution throughout the nation. This is the revolution that must be targeted towards the elimination of all stereotypes by Zimbabweans about themselves and one which is directed towards the complete eradication of the slave mentality and feelings of inadequacy characteristic of an oppressed and subjugated community.
The basic logic inherent in African Consciousness is that no people can ever wage a meaningful war of liberation of themselves unless and until they have effectively eradicated their slave mentality and accepted themselves as full human beings who have a role to play in their own salvation.
This misguided hypothesis that says Africa will not prosper without its former colonial masters is just but dangerously stupid.
Zimbabwe’s national orientation should force all of our people to see themselves as full human beings, complete, full and total in themselves, and not as extensions of Western values and beneficiaries of Western aid.
There are those who have accused Pan-Africanists of rejecting and spurning the integration of Africans into white liberalism, something often misrepresented as democracy or the quest for freedom.
However, assessment and evaluation of the involvement of white liberalism as an establishment in relation to the African quest for total independence have convinced us that white liberals have been criminally responsible for arresting and aborting African efforts at emancipation. White liberalism, nowadays commonly called "change" or democracy, has done that by playing the bulwark, a kind of buffer zone between our struggling people and the white system, which is the same system that has been oppressing us for centuries.
To every patriotic Zimbabwean and African, the white liberal establishment must be seen for what it is; part and parcel of the white system, indeed as the driving force behind the white liberal establishment’s desire to kill the revolutionary zeal of black masses by promising them a controlled change which will result in some mystical, "mosaic" multi-racialism meant to be espoused by a high- sounding version of democracy.
This multi-racialism is never precisely defined lest it reveals to blacks that it is nothing but a polished and sophisticated version of the racist system that has been responsible for the dehumanisation of blacks as incapable people, from the days of slavery through colonialism and now neo-colonialism.
The National Youth Service programme of Zimbabwe was introduced in 2001, with an aim to create an orientation that would result in group power, national power, a people’s power that is targeted at self-empowerment, national pride, a Yes We Can attitude, and an identity of self-confidence and belief.
The National Youth Service programme is not and has never been a militia, and will not be a militia in future.
Propagandists can write what they will, but this is about the regrouping of a nation in a patriotic and progressive manner meant to consolidate the gains of the liberation struggle that gave us the independence under which we enjoy multi-party political pluralism as we see it in Zimbabwe today; something that was always banned under colonial rule.
This writer calls upon the nation of Zimbabwe to rise and emancipate itself from mental slavery. We need to know that as for the revival of Zimbabwe, it is none but ourselves. It can never be the Americans, not the IMF, not the World Bank and never the British. It can only be ourselves and ourselves alone.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on wafawarova *** yahoo.co.uk or reason *** rwafawarova.com or visit www.rwafawarova.com
Labels: ZIMBABWE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE