“Sorry” would have been nice


Our bitterness does not come from the fact that we’ve been hurt.

Our bitterness comes from the fact that those who have hurt us remain perpetually unrepentant.

Our bitterness comes from the fact that those who have hurt us go unpunished, make no penance and show no contrition.

And so our wounds remain gaping, our sense of violation festers like a sore and the injustices we have suffered silently, become loud screams in our heads.

We have heard our national leaders shift blame for the country’s demise. They have rationalized….but they have never once apologised for messing up our country


We have been powerless to retaliate because at first we were young (born frees) and later we were ignorant of the power of our vote (pushed to the margins by the older generation who insisted that they knew what was best for us).

Then in time, we were rendered powerless by our lack of capacity occasioned by the worst economic meltdown that had those whose skills we relied on scurrying out of the country like rats deserting a sinking ship.

We lost the skilled teachers, nurses, doctors and other vital citizens owing to a massive brain drain.

But that’s not all we lost – we lost our big sisters and our big brothers; siblings whose protection and mentorship we were deprived of – learning to fill the gapping hole caused by their absence with lists of things we wanted them to send from abroad when all we really wanted was for them to come home and help us understand the chaos and turmoil that Zimbabwe had become.

We lost our mothers and fathers who needed to eke out a living on faraway shores while we were left under the guardianship of extended family members – some good and some not-so-good.

We lost our path and found it all by ourselves again.

We have suffered and no one said “sorry”.

Not even once.

No one apologized because no one noticed that we bore the brunt of it.

Well, we remember.

We are not powerless anymore, we are not ignorant anymore and more importantly – we are not incapacitated any more.

We are first time voters.

And from now on; we will make every election a living nightmare for those who’ve lorded it over us for years.

Even if you rig these elections; we will prevail eventually.

We will appeal to our peers – the youth of this country who make up about 60% of the entire population – and we will get them to swell our numbers at polling stations. The wool you pulled over our eyes is gone now.

You liberated yourselves and not us – so don’t speak the language of liberation to those whose lives have been shattered by your political tyranny.

…we’re here – and we aint gonna leave!


..standing our ground against Zimbabwe's sickening culture of 'ageism'


I feel patriotic these days. And before the feeling wanes and recedes into the indifference that often informs the limited involvement of young people in anything important in this country- I think I should speak up.

For in keeping silent I perpetuate a grave injustice to those of my kind – the youth of Zimbabwe.

Combined with these patriotic sentiments are the sentiments of Deborah Meier that I happened across the other day. She wrote, “There’s a radical – and wonderful – new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world. It’s an idea with revolutionary implications. If we take it seriously.”

I can trace my blossoming patriotic sentiment to the three weeks I spent cooped up at the University of Ghana with two and a half dozen young women from 21 African countries and to the fact that in nearly deliberation Zimbabwe was used as a reference point for one bad thing or another.

It is one thing to daily hear Zimbabweans speak negatively of their own country, to listen to them and join them in denigrating their own country but quite another to listen to outsiders take similar liberties.

Indeed it is the one thing that will make you defend your country without stopping to examine your reaction but simply because it is your country, your home and ultimately it is who you are – Zimbabwean. It is also what will force you to scrutinize the condition of your country and how other people have come to perceive you as a people.

By omission or by commission every Zimbabwean is responsible for the leadership we have and for the mess we’re in.

Whether through indifference, greed or fear – we’re all guilty of allowing this great land to sink to its knees.

I have joined on occasion, when I could muster the breathe, in the mud-slinging, bad-mouthing, finger-pointing and hurling of insults directed at those in power and those aspiring to be in power. I say on occasion because for the greater part, I simply have been too nonchalant to even care.

Perhaps, that is the real problem for me and the youth, we have believed that we are too weak, too young to be of any consequence and in believing this fallacy we have sought refuge in nonchalance.

...to fight or flee? To live or die? To watch or act?

It doesn’t help too that there is so much romanticising about the past that we always feel that our unavailability to be drafted into the liberation struggle automatically makes us less qualified to have a say in the running of our country.

I mean if there is one thing ZANU PF has perfected it is the art of using its formidable credentials as a revolutionary party to bring the Zimbabwean electorate and youth to heel with a cocktail of nostalgia, sentimentality and the incessant reminder of the insurmountable debt of gratitude owed to them by every citizen who lives in a free Zimbabwe.

The MDC, on the other hand; wisely discerning that they cannot do much to beat the revolutionary party card that ZANU PF loves to draw – have made it a point to totally ignore the liberation struggle and by doing so attempt to rule Zimbabwe and its people outside the contexts of our history rendering them rather superficial.

I will not strain self trying to untangle the relevance (or lack thereof) of the splinter factions that are now a ZAPU pulled out of ZANU and an MDC pulled out of an MDC-T; too much ink has been spilled de-bunking these political specimens.

However, if the youth hope their participation in the nation’s politics to be meaningful; this is the political menu of parties that is availed to them.

One that is stuck in the past and bogged down by its distrust of young people and new ideas then another with a vibrant youth visibility but suffering from the acute deficiency of denial and a tragic refusal to own Zimbabwe’s liberation history (without which they would not enjoy the very autonomy that allows them to aspire for political power).

I have opinions about Zimbabwe, I have thoughts about the conditions of Zimbabwe, I have theories and hypotheses about what is wrong with this country and about why we are where we are today.

I have no idea how long I have held these views but they must have been simmering in me, stewing for a long time because when I was in Ghana I said, for the very first time, in a lecture room full of strangers what I thought.

And I was surprised by the vehemence with which I leapt to defend my beloved country, astonished by the passion with which I narrated the course of events that had brought us to this present miserable condition and even more shocked by the utter convictions with which I spoke.

I was amazed that I cared that much about Zimbabwe; surprised that I cared at all for over the years the pretense of being indifferent has become second nature to me such that I began to believe that it was normal.

How dare we sit, fold our hands and watch the demise of our country as if we had another spare Zimbabwe stashed somewhere to live in as soon as this one folds up and inexorably crumbles?

...always thrust in the background and barely discernable; the youth have none but themselves

For in the years to come, many who hold the reins of power will succumb to the inevitability of death and we shall inherit nothing but the shell of what once was.

I believe that Zimbabwean youths have been sidelined for too long and that perhaps we must come to a definitive age-range of what it means to be a youth in this country.

It bothers me no end that a person on the wrong side of 30 should strut around as a youth leader or presume to speak on behalf of young people in this country.

Moreover it bugs me terribly that young people have been willing to be used as arse wipes by those who aspire for political office only to be discarded after the elections and flushed into oblivion.

But I want to believe that the tide is turning. That the youth will be reckoned with, that we will be ignored no more, sidelined no longer and never again patronized.

As we enter the UN International Year of Youth running under the theme “Promoting Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” – I fervently hope that the would-be election candidates of 2011 and beyond will get off their high horses and engage young people as equals because we are not going anywhere.

The International Year of Youth is our chance to declare categorically that as Zimbabwean youths, we are here and we are not going anywhere. This is our country of birth and we have as much right to live and prosper in it as anyone else.