Zimbabwe at 32: Not yet Uhuru

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April 18, 2012 By NqabaM

On Wednesday 18 April, Zimbabwe marks 32 years of independence and we are told to be proud and wear our independence on a sleeve and boast to the world how we conquered colonialism and imperialism. I ask myself, what’s there to be proud of when most of the people in the country can’t find employment? What’s there to boast about if access to clean water is a pipe dream and 60 percent of the water in our taps in Harare is not safe for drinking? What is there to show off when access to electricity isn’t guaranteed and I spend most of my nights under the shadow of darkness? Is there anything to celebrate if I cannot be heard, when I have to carefully choose my words or risk imprisonment after offending the powers that be? Half the country will experience food shortages this year, and I am supposed to be at my best behaviour feting on Independence Day. I am reminded daily of the people who “sacrificed their lives” for my freedom, what freedom? What Independence, when a quarter of the population has fled the country and lives in exile? I am happy that the country got its “hard fought” freedom, but the fruits of independence are bitter, sometimes tasteless and sometimes vile. On 18 April shall be a day of feasting and pomp, for those that are invited to government functions, but for the rest of us, a slice of the national cake we beg, a slice that we shall never get. While everyone celebrates independence, I can only reflect on Letta Mbulu’s acclaimed song, “Not yet Uhuru”.

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