We will be grateful to the flowers only if they have borne fruit

July 2, 2009

The news of the formation of the inclusive government in Zimbabwe comes at a time when the country is pregnant with problems. All over the country the grand political agreement is being greeted with suspicion and fear as Zimbabweans are not sure of what to make of a deal between two parties whose differences were deemed to be untenable just a few weeks ago. It is only right that people welcome the deal with a grain of salt because past experiences have given the citizens of this nation a wisdom to understand that it is never what is signed on paper that counts, indeed many Zimbabweans flocked to the polls on march 29th to sign their government over to the opposition only to discover that an election in itself is not enough to effect change on the ground.

The problems I saw first hand and the many sad stories I heard as I made my way across Zimbabwe over the Christmas break make it difficult, even for me, to believe that now, simply because two individuals have signed a piece of paper that change can come to Zimbabwe. It is incomprehensible for me to begin to fathom that this simple act of diplomacy could end over a decade of suffering that has abused our people. For most Zimbabweans the very basic necessities in life are a luxury they can only dream of. I remember vividly the hungry faces that stared hopelessly at me, I still see the dirt in the streets and the emptiness in the hospitals and I am not surprised why no one was out to celebrate when the news came that this new government would be formed. Before many of the people are willing to shout a cheer or raise a glass to toast to a new regime, they want to be able to put food on the table for their families. They want education to be a right that their children are entitled to and I am convinced that, given the opportunity, many Zimbabweans would like to earn an honest living in their field of expertise without having to resort to shady dealing or be reduced to beggars when they are qualified to earn a living.

My babamunini (shona for uncle) tells me that at the school where his daughter is supposed to be enrolled, the teachers are asking each child to bring 5 rands to every lesson if they are expecting to be taught. There are of course those pupils who cannot afford this luxury everyday and they are put in an empty classroom and simply wait for the bell to signal that it is time to go home. My babmunini is a simple man, an average Zimbabwean who cannot afford to pay 5 rand per lesson per day for his daughter get an education, so he has the unpleasant experience of waking everyday to tell his daughter that she is not going to school today because the money left in his pocket is only enough to put food on the table for their family of 6 and even this is not always possible. He narrates to me how they have had to invent new recipes for muriwo ( a vegetable grown back home) because sometimes that is all they have to eat as it grows freely in their small garden behind the house. They are weak and hungry, tired and afraid, all too aware of their circumstances. My uncle feels under pressure as a man to provide for his family but he is a trained teacher, and the fruit of his labour is hardly enough to buy a single egg.

When I think of the unity government, I think of it from my babamunini’s family’s point of view. I begin to see why this government must be formed and why it must succeed. I begin to realise that without a sustainable solution, it will not be long before the vegetable patch in the back garden is bare and there is nothing left to eat. It dawns on me that this grand political agreement is a not a suggestion on how we can solve the nation’s problems, it is our only plan and it must succeed at all costs. The effects of its potential failure range wider than one can possibly imagine. It is hard to see light at the end of this tunnel but without that vision and that hope that things will come right I am not sure whether Zimbabweans will be able to weather the storm any longer. Barak Obama said on one occasion that,

“Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”

It is this kind of mentality that needs to infect the Zimbabwean people as we brace ourselves yet again to believe that change can come to our country. The country has suffered so much, I mourn for over 3000 of our countrymen who have lost their lives to cholera and the 60000 who are fighting that very disease for their lives as I write this. I pay my respect to the families of those who disappeared, those whose loved ones were butchered in crimes of hate and intolerance. My heart breaks for the many heroes of this Chimurenga (struggle for independence) whose names will never be known; those have been tortured and maimed for their uncompromising commitment to change. I also want to acknowledge those who bear the scars of our present day struggle, the many teachers who still teach because they cannot live with the burden of an uneducated generation on their consciences, the nurses who still care for the dying for no reward and those kind souls that feed, clothe and shelter those who were orphaned to HIV and Aids. I encourage each and every Zimbabwean to believe that in spite of the failures of our leaders in the past, in spite of the difficulties of the day, we will make it out of this a stronger nation. A nation that has been tested beyond measure and a nation prepared to stand together with the common goal of, in the words of a great leader, leaving our children a Zimbabwe that is better than the one we have lived in, a Zimbabwe that rewards excellence and one in which opportunities are abundant to celebrate life and live in freedom and prosperity without fear and with a knowledge that the future is bright. The road ahead will not be easy but in Africa they say an elephant’s tusks are never too heavy for it trunk, in the same way will finish this race come hell or high water.

In Zimbabwe we say we will be grateful to the flowers only when they have born fruits. This may be true, but it is our prerogative now to offer that flower of recovery the shade of brotherhood, the waters of unity and the fertilizers of hope so that it may bring forth fruit and fruit in its abundance. My name is Munyaradzi Hoto and I am a Zimbabwean.


3 Responses to “We will be grateful to the flowers only if they have borne fruit”

  1. S.Chabuka Says:

    As a Zimbabwean living in Zimbabwe who never left even in the face of adversity,whose family endured all the uncertainties for the past few years, I am a strong beliver in this inclusive government. It might not be the best or most ideal plan of action but it sure is something. Though life has not turned around as expected hope has been revived equal footing is once again being established. It makes some sense,not alot, to be a professional in Zim today and i say thank you to the GNU for that.

    We are going through our teething phase,its certainly not easy,it wont be in a flash but its happening. I am content to know that someone made an effort for things to change even if it wasnt under the most ideal of situations. Zim right now doesnt need partisanship it needs leadership and i see some of that in this GNU.

    Call me an optimist,naive,stupid or whatever else because i believe in this GNU but its all because that naivety,stupidity and OPTIMISM that has kept my family going for the past few years! I know what i am talking about cause i lived didnt hear or see,LIVED IT.

    Proudly Zimbabwean

    • hotomunya Says:

      Shingi you’re absolutely right.. We need to be positive. However do you think that Zim is plagued by a cloud of bureaucracy that disllows us to move forard? I mean the creation of committees and sub-committees for every little decision cannot be helpful to the cause that we are fihtin for!

  2. […] “We will be grateful to the flowers only if they have borne fruit” – Zimbabwean Proverb […]

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