Zimbabwe: Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi – A case of honour or diversion from a failing economy?

Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi

Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi

“How can we focus on the economy when the skulls of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi are displayed in a British museum? These barbarians have been displaying the skulls of our First Chimurenga heroes and heroines in their libraries!” – Prof Jonathan Moyo.

Communism has been long known for its rhetoric, that’s why some citizens will follow it thinking it’s the truth and the light even when being led blindly. In this day and age of social media being a phenomenon that passes information on the go like lighting, it remains to be seen how long communist thinking will last. What the British government did by taking the remains of freedom fighters from its colonies back to London was plain and simply wrong. In as much as it was such a wrong decision from the British authorities; should it be used a smoke screen for a failing economy? A failing government? A continuously corrupt institution that keeps blaming others for its own inadequacy.

There are two aspects we need to try look at. The cultural significance of the remains being taken away from their homeland in this case Zimbabwe and the significance of them being in a British museum.

One would argue that culturally the remains need to be laid to rest at their home soil so as to be at peace. Sekuru Kaguvi and Mbuya Nehanda were one of many spiritual mediums in Zimbabwe during the First Chimurenga (first rebellion against the settlers). It can be argued that at times their importance far outweighed that of a Chief as they had the task of keeping hope and faith within the community. They were also tasked with being the mediums between Mwari (God) and the people. On this basis alone they should be buried on Zimbabwean soil. If one wants to be more controversially speculative you could say it maybe one of the reasons why Zimbabwe is a failing state the fact that it’s sons and daughters who died in vain are not at peace for what they fought for. Here comes the baffling part that has raised a few eyebrows; why now after 100 plus years is the government making noise? In this case albeit the Zimbabwe government may be right in asking for the remains back the question in the cloud still remains why now? Why is this all of a sudden a serious issue? Why not in 1980? It goes back to my earlier point. Communism can not survive without magniloquence. The government has exhausted all forms of rhetoric, and are looking for the next best way to blame the British government for some of its failures. We wait and see what they will use next year. As mentioned before the British government was and is wrong for taking these remains back to London as war trophies. It is a barbaric act which plays on colonising not only lands but minds. All remains in my perspective should go back to Zimbabwe as this forms a cultural identity and history of the country. Once this is done, I’m inclined to be on side with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who in his World War II anniversary speech said “We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come who have nothing to do with the war, be predestined to apologise. Even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face history. We have a full responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.”

Drawing lessons from that speech, we must not raise a nation of apology seekers. The time has come for us to fix our communities, our economies, our continent without putting blame on the colonists for our own mistakes too. Seeking apologies and repatriation simply is not benefiting the grassroots communities we survive in day by day. – By Brian Lunga