Bob’s Zimbabwe

 ‘So arm in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this little struggle’    

On April 18, 1980, Jamaican musical maestro Bob Marley joined millions of Zimbabweans to celebrate a hard-won independence from oppression.  

As part of his tribute he performed the song “Zimbabwe” live in Harare, the capital city. April 18 marked the day on which Zimbabwe’s incumbent leader Robert Mugabe was sworn in as the first prime minister of a people that took over a hundred years to reclaim their freedom from British colonial rule.  

Twenty-eight years later Marley’s words in “Zimbabwe” ring with an amazingly prophetic tone. More than anything they speak to his inspired genius and to his ability to understand humanity.

But greater still, they speak to the struggle of how to build a nation from the ashes of oppression in which every human being must be granted a right to decide their own destiny.  

“Bob’s story is that of an archetype, which is why it continues to have such a powerful and ever-growing resonance: it embodies political repression, metaphysical and artistic insights, gangland warfare and various periods of mystical wilderness,” states the official Marley Web site.

I couldn’t have put it better.  

It was the ability of Marley’s music to tear into the fabric of the sociopolitical establishment of his time that won him so many fans.  

With his words Bob Marley was able to open up new human awakenings and, fused into rhythmic yet soothing Jamaican reggae melody, the power of his words went on to inspire millions of people around the world.  

The fact that Bob Marley penned a song for Zimbabwe can only mean that he had a special regard for the country in his heart.

By the power of his words, he managed to capture the dream of the people of Zimbabwe and project it onto the world map.  

More amazingly his words are so true to the reality in Zimbabwe today. As a Zimbabwean it’s both nostalgic and frightening for me to listen to the words of Marley’s “Zimbabwe.” 

Every man got to decide his own destiny

And in this judgement there is no partiality

So arm in arm with arms we’ll fight this little struggle

Cause that’s the only way we can over come our little trouble

Brother you’re right.

You’re right.

You’re so right.

You’re right  

We go fight (We go fight)  

We’ll have to fight (We go fight)

We’re gonna fight (We go fight)

Fight for your rights

Natty dread it in a Zimbabwe

Set it up in Zimbabwe

Mash it up in a Zimbabwe  

Africans a liberate Zimbabwe …

Divide and rule could only tear us apart

In every man chest there beats a heart

So soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries

And I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries 

On the one hand Bob Marley’s song arouses the joyous reminisces of a newly independent Zimbabwe with a promise of a future of hope, development, democracy and opportunity. On the other hand it mirrors the disintegration of the state of Zimbabwe today.  

For me it’s indeed like a surreal paradox. Marley’s song in the current Zimbabwe is no longer a song of liberation but a call to a united front that can confront the dark powers of black-on-black oppression camouflaged in pan-African ideology.

More than just a gifted songwriter and musician, Marley was indeed an inspirational prophet who wanted truth to be told and injustices to stop.  

Ironically Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe has ushered a dispensation that is akin to a silent genocide against his own people.  Marley must be cringing wherever he is living now with the gods of music.

Presently Zimbabwe has come down to devouring its own people because of the selfishness and greed of its political leaders.  

The political leaders care little about the people that they claim to represent. Poverty and suffering have become the order of the day in that beloved nation. All because of the beliefs held by its political leaders.  

The belief that we must revenge the evils of the colonial past has killed the country of Zimbabwe. Belief shows itself in action and, if its root is coated with evil, shows itself with an ugly face.  

Revenge, oppression and hatred are the currencies turning the wheels in the ramshackle state of Zimbabwe. And as a result many people in the country are dying, like donkeys drinking water at a poisoned well.  

Marley asked in one his songs: What happens to a man that kills to save his own belief? That very question is what Zimbabwe’s political leaders need to ask themselves today. The political leaders’ divide-and-rule tactics against the population have made Zimbabwe a laughingstock around the world.  

The nation itself is like a house cracking at its foundation. Not many in Zimbabwe today have a right to choose their own destiny. Partiality and cronyism is what the politicians practice.  Increasingly it is becoming apparent that ordinary people need to join “arm in arms” to fight for freedom; otherwise, there will be no guarantee of a future of promise.

Only a united Zimbabwe can fight the trouble the nation is facing.   But the truth is that the country today lacks true revolutionaries: people who are willing to give up their lives for the cause of freedom, but who will not kill innocent beings for the cause of freedom.  

True revolutionaries who dare to dissent at the risk of having their voices cut off. Mugabe’s government has become like a mercenary against the people. But in every Zimbabwean’s heart, the quest of freedom beats constantly.

It’s probably the only right thing about the country today.  If the people of Zimbabwe can believe more in the sound of that heartbeat, Marley’s song will reverberate again like a joyful sound.

Freedom must free not just the freedom seeker but those around him.  Real revolutionaries, in Marley’s words, are people who do not tolerate any form of injustice or oppression. That message rings true throughout his music, touching the hearts of many freedom fighters around the world.  

And in Zimbabwe, Marley’s words could never sound better as a call to progressive action. 

Zimbabwe: The Hope, the Dream

At Independence from British rule in 1980, the Government of Zimbabwe inherited some of the most serious socio-economic inequalities in the world in terms of income, assets and access to education, housing and healthcare.

The economy then was biased in favor of the white minority. However, despite some war damage, Zimbabwe’s economy at Independence was well diversified between industry, agriculture and services, with excellent infrastructure and apparently good potential for growth. 

Independence brought a crisis of rising expectations requiring the government to immediately address the inherited inequalities. Thus, during the first decade of independence, the government invested heavily into social programs aimed at uplifting the livelihoods of the majority of the people.

But the issue of land ownership was never adequately addressed till early 2000 when government forcibly repossessed land belonging to white farmers. This led to an international outcry and, since year 2000; the country has been in a limbo.  

Today, the resolution of the country’s multifaceted crisis could take a number of different turns and pathways. But the pathway the country travels will be largely determined by the outcome of political developments that are at the heart of the current crisis.  

A key factor defining and sustaining the crisis has been the partisan approach to issues of national significance, which has forestalled productive political dialogue. This has given rise to a barrage of international sanctions – ostensibly targeted at the country’s leadership – that have worsened the plight of ordinary people.  

Zimbabwe can only extricate herself from the current crisis with a political settlement, which brings much needed stability to the country. In the absence of a political settlement, the nation of Zimbabwe will continue down the road of further disintegration and decline.

The decline will adversely affect all sectors of society. There will be an increase in lawlessness, brain drain, corruption, poverty and disease. 

There’s need for a process of national healing in which all outstanding national issues will be brought out in the open without fear or favor.

This route cannot all together be avoided if Zimbabwe is to live up to its true potential. Thus, the question is not whether there will be a transition in the country, but when it will happen. 

However, that transition will be a brainchild of political change and confidence building measures both locally and internationally.

The transition will likely involve initial moderate reforms to get the economy back on track while the political details are being worked out.

There will be a need to both democratize and modernize Zimbabwe’s institutional framework in a way that make it responsive to the needs of its people. Without such reforms, Zimbabwe cannot be effectively and democratically governed. 

To be successful, the process of transition must reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people as well as receive the blessings of the international community.

Zimbabwe must not regard herself as an island in today’s interconnected world. Immediate turnaround should not be expected. There is a danger that such a turnaround can result in superficial changes.  

Even when hopeful signs of recovery begin to appear, the economy would still continue to decline over the short term until the reform process kicks in.

The transition process may be further delayed by the rise of populist demagoguery on the part of political actors who have the most to lose from the way the political space is conducted today.

The transition period could last from six months to more than five years. The more protracted the transition period, the greater will be the degree of polarization and generalized social and political conflict. 

While the transition period will be mainly aimed toward stabilization, the reform era will involve the move towards a more vibrant democratic society and the opening of the politico-economic system, creating new opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs.  

The spirit of entrepreneurship must be deliberately encouraged among the people with emphasis being placed on the provision of quality services or goods that can penetrate the global market.

Entrepreneurial activities must be synonymous with quality, not necessarily of first world standards but, one that is consistent with the Zimbabwean aesthetic sense yet still able to satisfy the global market. 

In other words, Zimbabwean products and services must be locally inspired but globally oriented. If business creation can gather momentum, it will mean good news for the economy.

The government, universities, technical colleges, and business groups must encourage entrepreneurs by offering cheap financing, reducing bureaucracy and instilling confidence that Zimbabwean products can break into the world market if well-produced and well-marketed. 

There’s still a dream and hope in Zimbabwe but it will only be captured through a change in attitude of its leadership characterized by tolerance of diversity and respect for fairness, freedom and justice.

As it is, the world has not yet seen the true Zimbabwe.

Never Give Up

Many people have dreams.

And for a good reason – it’s important to have dreams because it is only through dreams that the horizons of self, humanity and civilization can be expanded.  

Dreams are about reaching for something higher and greater than our present self. 

But everyday challenges and obstacles of life, including the desire to make a living through a secure job – usually force people to give up on their dreams.  

For most of us, as we go through the tumultuous cycle of life, it can be very easy to lose sight of our dreams.

With the rat race constantly clamoring in our heads, committing our dreams to suicide is certainly the easy way out. 

In other cases, it’s the people around us – families, friends or society in general – that drills it down into our brains that we cannot ever achieve our dreams. 

As they say, the graveyard is the richest place in the world because of all the unrealized dreams and potentials. 

If our deeply held dreams were ever easy to achieve then it would never be worth it to have them in the first place.

Achieving dreams takes struggle but the ultimate reward can make you enjoy your life much better. 

Paradoxically, giving up dreams is perhaps the easiest thing to do especially if the odds seem to be against you.

In order to achieve your deeply held dreams, you have to first change something very fundamental about yourself. 

The universe offers energy in abundance, and it is what we do with that energy that determines whether we achieve our goals or not. 

To keep your dreams alive, you have to channel your energy toward developing skills and habits that can direct you toward your dreams.  

For example, if your dream is to be a writer, you must channel your energy towards writing rather than simply chat about it.

As is said, you cannot be a piano player in your head, you must play the piano. The fact is that if you don’t change your attitude toward your dreams, you will never be able to achieve them.

There is an invisible quality about dreams that gives them potency only if fed through decision-making, planning, commitment to action and ongoing analysis. Nothing is out of your reach unless if you choose to hold yourself back.

With a few changes, you can achieve the limitless possibilities that your life has to offer. It is possible to live a life of passion, purpose and mission if only you are willing to shake off the clutches of your comfort zone. 

After all, you only have one life to live, and you might as well make it worthwhile by going after your most cherished dream. 

The responsibility to keep your dreams is yours and yours alone. You’ve absolutely no-one to blame if your dream becomes just another fairy tale fit for wonderland. Make sure your dream does not become just another castle in the air. 

If we choose to abandon our dream, we risk becoming slaves to other people’s projects, and undoubtedly, we will gather a lot of bitterness, and regret. 

Take an audit of your situation. In order to reawaken your dream, you need to take an audit of your situation. Why is it that you have not taken the appropriate actions to achieve your dream? Who are the people around you that speak negatively about your dream? What about yourself do you need to change in order to move in the direction of your dreams? There are many more questions that can be asked, but taking an audit is simply intended to get you set in a whole different trajectory towards your cherished dreams. 

It’s hard work. Going after your dreams is not like eating ice-cream it certainly takes hard work to go after your life’s dreams. If you must take risks, these should be perfectly calculated. But you should not be afraid of the blows they’re an important part of the journey.  

Be prepared to get bruised but never let that stop you from moving forward. You must strive to make yourself accountable to your dreams through pre-determining your actions, and doing things that are aligned to achieving your dreams. 

Life is a balance. If you want to achieve your dream, you have to let it go. Sometimes, you have to go down the wrong pathway in order to know what you really want. It sound like a paradox but it is so true that it’s when we are lost in a desert that we come to know the value of water.

Learn to appreciate your present circumstance, and see them as the key to your desired goals and dreams.  More important, accept that life is a balance, and there’s more to it than just achieving your dreams. Seek to live your life to the fullest even when the dream appears to be elusive, and you will see new opportunities opening up to you. 

Now is the time. Many people dream of some miracle day when suddenly everything will open up, and the path to their dream will become as clear as daylight. Others think they have to accumulate more wealth and knowledge before they can start moving in the direction of their dreams.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The steps towards your dream are built in the present. It’s in the now. The thoughts and choices that you make form the foundation of whether you will achieve your dream or not. In fact, your thoughts and choices are the very lifeblood of your dreams. 

Get to understand your dream again. Take time to re-look at your dream again. It may have gathered rust during the time of neglect and despondency. It may not exactly be what you still want to do or become. If the dream is still the same, then set yourself to action through clearly analyzing your desires.  Have a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve. 

But you have to understand that achieving your goal does not always have to be a linear process; sometimes you have to go through the backdoor to become what you want to become. The key is to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific little goals that will contribute to achieving your grand vision. 

Listen to your soul. Some people settle for the comfort zone. They have a good job and a good salary but are empty inside because they are not pursuing their heart’s desire.  

Forget about the dreams that the world sells to you, or what other say you can or cannot do.  Listen to your soul, and listen to it carefully, for within it are the secrets to your happy and fulfilled life. 

Make a decision to go after your goal. Once you have a grasp of what you want, the next step is to make a decision to go after it. Take time to reconnect and recommit to your goal. Write down your dream. It helps you to see it.  

Be clear about your values because these guide your decision making in the long-term. You must take time to analyze what skills and abilities are required to set on the pathway towards your dream. After that, the next thing is to power up your performance towards your dream.  Change your perception of self.

Failing to achieve our goals not only forces us to settle for mediocrity, it also negatively affects our self-esteem and self-worth.  A pre-requisite to taking positive actions towards your goals is to develop new, but healthy ways at looking at yourself. Judging yourself through past experiences weighs you down and slows you from achieving your goals. 

Develop habits that propel you towards your goal. By changing the focus of your habits, you can indeed change your chances to achieve your dream. Your habits make you who you are. To be more specific, habits refer to recurrent, often unconscious patterns of behavior that are acquired through frequent repetition.  

It is an established disposition of the mind or character. You have to stand back from yourself and analyze what kind of person you are and whether that is in tandem with the dreams that you want to achieve. If its not, then its time to change. Habits make or break dreams. 

Have positive energy. Positive energy is the gateway to your dreams. If you allow the disappointment of the present to weigh you down, you will not be able to reach for your star. Reaching for your dreams is a state of mind that believes in the possible.  

Having positive energy will empower your passion for your dream and propel you towards your goals. When you develop positive energy to pursue your dream, you begin to get the results that you seek. 

Track your time. Time is a key ingredient in the shaping of our dreams. So how we choose to spend it really determines whether we achieve our dreams or not.

If you choose to stay glued in the front of a television box without committing to your dream, you will not be able to realize anything.  Make sure to dedicate your time to your dreams through doing the little steps that will get you there.  

The path to your dreams is defined by the little steps that you take.