B-METRO COMMENT: Let us be a cultured people

A peoplea��s identity usually comes under threat if they find the bulk of the population behaving in a manner that is not in sync with the expectations and values of the society. A�

May 25 is Africa Day, a day set aside to affirm our identity and celebrate the sacrifices made by the many African nationalists that joined hands across borders and fought to liberate the continent from the shackles of colonialism.

Indeed, there is talk of political emancipation, economic freedom but there is also a need to emphasise our cultural identity.A� What is it that sets us apart from other nations as a people?

Can we stand tall and proud of that distinction, and is it something that we would rather not be associated with?A� What comes to anyonea��s mind internationally when the name Africa is mentioned, when Zimbabwe is mentioned?

These are serious identity questions and indeed key points to consider as they offer vast branding and rebranding opportunities. While our forebears will always lay claim to have vanquished our oppressors, there has to be something that the contemporary generation should take pride in, in having taken the continent forward towards the fulfilment of its objectives.

On the cultural front, it would seem cultural imperialism has taken hold of our continent. One only has to listen to talent search programmes, especially music ones, to see how as a people we have tended to lose our identity.

In fact, groups that do well in Europe and other countries overseas, are the ones that have stayed true to their Zimbabwean heritage instead of trying to mimic western styles, since we can only be second best on that one.

We live in an increasingly globalised world, yes, but that should mean that our sound, cultural practices and artefacts find room and expression on the global stage, instead of us always being on the receiving end.

While the whole world was held spellbound by British tradition last weekend when a royal wedding took place, with the age old tradition being carried forward after generations and great reverence being shown by the expectant crowds that camped in preparation for the wedding, here in Zimbabwe our newspaper pages carried a disturbing story in which a chief from Binga was slapped by a teenage subject who had been admonished over her uncultural dressing.

Chiefs are custodians of our cultural values and should always be held in high regard. As we mark Africa Day, and celebrate our Africanness this month, we need to reflect on who we are as a people and where we are headed.

As a publication we routinely publish stories on matters that show cultural decadence in a bid to show how badly we are faring on the morality front, in the hope that when we look ourselves in the mirror we would seek to repent and go back to brand Africa that we can proudly market.

We may be open for business but when international investors come in, what sort of Zimbabwe shall we project to them.A� Let us be a cultured people, rooted on the values of ubuntu.

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