Freedom Of Conscience
I feel ashamed of my national identity based on the actions of my government. When I turn on the TV and tune in to the only national broadcasting channel, listen or read the local news, I am appalled not only by the distortions and half truths transmitted as realities, but I am ashamed at my discomfort. This discomfort is rooted in the fact that my disdain for the corruption "has not translated into action with demonstratable outcomes.
Like some activists and civil society members in Zimbabwe, I have kept myself busy with over analyzing the symptoms and not the root cause, being careful not to address the elephant, cow, donkey even all the way to the monkey in the room lest I find myself having to answer to the propriety watchdog or worse find myself suddenly black and blue.
Oh yes the Bill of Rights speaks of freedom of conscience which includes freedom of thought, opinion, religion or belief; and freedom to practise and propagate and give expression to their thought etc. The Bill of Rights even goes on to speak on how every person has the right to the freedom of expression and freedom of the media. However, there is loud silence on the consequences of partaking that freedom.
Rough soled boots, the sound of baton sticks being tapped against the sides of a truck, the public display of firearms, such a theatrical presentation that puts Broadway and the almighty Hollywood to shame. Bleep bleep [self-censure mode activated], who wouldn't?
Not forgetting the struggle of the average Zimbabwean for consistent income. Let's face it, being an activist costs one money. It doesn't help with activism being seen as something everybody is and more of a hobby or voluntary work, thus one should not expect some payment because surely commitment to change should be more than a duty but it a lifestyle.
It has been written, "Man shall not live by bread alone". It does not say man does not need the bread. The volunteers, the young activists and community leaders out there have needs, they have to sustain themselves in order to survive and carry out their work.
How do I reconcile the shame of having not done enough to challenge the system with putting food on my table?
The struggle is real and arguably one of the greatest success of the prevailing status quo. It has kept many focused on the fight to put bread (no matter how state) on their tables.
Should I then be judged on the amount of work I have put in to challenge the system? Who deems it? I could easy just shrug it off and sing the blues in the night about how at the end of the day I am not really paid for activism.
At times I do love to hate the whole faculty of activism housed under the colossal Civic Leadership. When does activism end civic leadership begin? Are the two one and the same thing? Why is one paid and the other given some meagre allowance (if they are lucky that is)?
How then can I hope to address matters of (allegedly) national relevance when I am embroiled in elitist activist wars and still have bond notes in my pocket to sustain me and give me some sense of livelihood.
Business and social entrepreneurship is allegedly the way to go. Right now being a social entrepreneur is fashion. I have heard social entrepreneurship is the answer for the activist... Heaven help me if I am ever going to find the time and energy to address all this in one lifetime, earn a living, and live out some of my dreams.
Maybe I am too harsh on myself, maybe my national identity crisis shouldn't be an issue I should feel shame over. Certainly I do know who I am as an individual but it is a bit hazy when I try to trace my thread within the tapestry called The Nation of Zimbabwe.
What then shall we say to these things?
...Freedom of Conscience