Our voice

Our voice

It is said in the Holy Book that in the beginning was the Word, that the word was with God, and the Word was a god.
This verse/s from the book of John hold a meaning so deep that its depth may be thought of as complex, but the truth is that the meaning thereof the is very simple: watch your words for from them stem the truths about the power of what you can reach and achieve in life if you learn to say the right words; what you can lose if you say the wrong words over your life and the lives of others.
We often have our own interpretations of who God is, and the meanings we attach to God are many and varied.
For some He lives in a heaven somewhere in the netherworld beyond the sky, and is possessive of an “all seeing” eye and a book of minute by minute records on the lives of every individual existent in the world.
I agree with the view, but from what I have come to realise, God is everywhere, at all times, and He is listening to whatever words we say to each other.
What constructive words we say lead on to harmonious living, and those caustic words we utter without thinking at the end of the day come to sow seeds of discord in our lives and the lives of others, leading to the world being an unpleasant place to live in.
The tendency is to forget the power of our words, to forget that the power of life and death is found on the tips of our tongues.
I am thinking of the words of the most memorable patrons of peace in the world, from Jesus Christ to King Moshoeshoe, from Mahatma Ghandi to Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela to Steve Biko.
Their words served as the salve that assuaged the pain of the world, they served as patches that mended the fabric of a humanity torn apart by strife and war.
And I think of those poets of Africa whose words unite us in song and dance, melding us into one peaceful and united circle of existence as taught in the Batwa communities of the mighty Congo.
I am thinking of the poets of Africa whose words unite us, whose words gathered us in the pre-independence days, whose words still go on to unite us.
A brief biography of Herbert Wiltshire Pfumaindini Chitepo states that he was born on June 15th 1923 and led the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) until he was assassinated on March 18, 1975.
Although his murderer remains unidentified, the Rhodesian author Peter Stiff says that a former British SAS soldier, Hugh Hind, was responsible.
Chitepo became the first black citizen of Rhodesia to become a barrister. He was born in Watsomba village in the Nyanga District of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
His family came from the Manyika clan of the Shona people.
He was educated at St David’s Mission School, Bonda, St Augustine’s School, Penhalonga and then at Adams College, Natal, South Africa, where he qualified as a teacher in 1945.
The stories of his life on the web are very brief and whatever information it is one gets on this rightfully honourable figure of African politics and the best poet I have come across is very vague.
I personally declare him the best African poet because I had the opportunity to read his Soko Risina Musoro (A Tale Without A Head), and upon comparison with the many poets whose words and verses, I have found none more masterful, none more subtle but explicit in the expression of the words of an individual’s life; the poem is a clear portrait of who we are as Africans and human beings, and one cannot help but follow the tale without a head to its end and then reread it.
The voice of Herbert Chitepo has wrongly been silenced; it is the voice of the pioneer who taught Africa how to think.
It is honestly hard to find his works, but I encourage the children of Africa to go out in search of Ntate Chitepo’s words if we are to make any meaningful progress from here onwards.
The words of our scribes, of our politicians, our philosophers and analysts should strive towards maintaining the continuum of human unity; party or ecumenical divisions will not serve us well: they will not do us right if they are focused on division on the basis of belief and creed.
It is an honour when one sees a popular figure commit to improving the lives of those segregated or marginalised by their colour or state of being over which they have no control.
The physically disabled, the expatriates, the émigrés, those with albinism, and those with rare or common medical challenges should not be limited to only the squalid quarters of human existence.
These people should be included by and through all means into the core decision-making processes in any part of the world, because they like everyone else form the human race, and their contribution to the progress of humanity is sufficient enough to keep the wheels of time turning.
We therefore would be wrong to consider them as useless and therefore not worthy of mention.
That émigré walking around selling brooms and other useful house wares is not a man or woman that cowardly ran away from the war on the home front.
Times are really hard on the continent, and we should come to the realisation of one simple fact; being compassionate will help our continent come out of the dark depths into which history plunged us into.
Being inconsiderate of the basic need to feed in order to live is plainly callous and inhuman.
Take the foreigner into your keep and from their experiences you will learn on how to map the right way towards true and harmonious human progress.
Believing the old lie that vainly teaches the children ‘this is my homeland and mine alone’ will surely lead to the demise of this continent, and it will hamper its progress; for in every stranger you meet lie the answers to questions you have always wanted answered.
Of a royal bloodline that spans the vast breadth of our history, Salif Keita was not meant to sing, for his work is in opposition to the customs and the traditions of his land.
However, the laws of nature oftentimes ignore human rules, and this saw this giant born with albinism soar to heights of stardom on the wings of his sonorous voice.
Salif Keita’s music is sung in his native tongue and other languages, but one can hear exactly what message it is he is trying to pass across, and lately, his message has been one of the promotion of the rights of people born with albinism.
His message addresses the plight of our albino brothers and sisters who have to deal with the double edged problem of being born with a skin condition that makes living under the hot African sun hard, and then being hunted like animals because some witchdoctors believe their body parts bring good luck.
I watched those documentaries on the inhuman treatment of albinos in Tanzania and Kwa-Zulu Natal, and I could not help the tears of shame brought by the realisation that the constant wars for human rights have done very little in making us aware that all of us are equal.
I see people born with albinism in our midst; I grew up and lived with them in the various communities I lived in over the course of my brief life.
I have never understood why their difference in pigment should set them apart as unique, when they are in reality viscerally similar to you and I.
Our conceited belief/s that some difference in physiology is a mark of uniqueness is in its plainest terms foolish, because the truth is that the body is an external aspect of the human being, and the mind of the human being accounts for far more than what many choose to place on the pedestal; our perishable body.
The lesson contained in one of the lines of his song is very deep when it comes to revealing the multiplicity and the fragility of our humanness:
I am black, but I am white . . .

We may believe that we are different, but we are not, we may judge each other on the basis of colour and ethnicity, but those aspects do not mean we are different: we are common in more ways than we are different. I believe this is where the wisdom of King Moshoeshoe I is revealed; he successfully formed a nation of many different tribes and clans; ours is a nation that successfully united Bantu and Nguni successfully into a people that speak one language.
The lesson the albino child from the ancient kingdom of Sundiata Keita are in tandem with the philosophy that unites us as a nation; do not think of the San as a mere underling, he is your kin U se ke ua re ho Moroa, ‘Moroa tooe’: we are common despite our different backgrounds, and the black can be seen because there is the white, and the white is brightened when there is a background of black.
I thought I could write more on the issue of the voices that speak on behalf of our people, but there are many voices delivering one message of peace.
The best one can do is emulate what they say in their message, follow the kind of lessons they teach, and have the constant understanding that all of us are more alike than we are different.
Whatever it is that tells us we are “unique” is separatist and should not be followed, that pride parade many of us go on in the name of religious righteousness or political correctness will only serve to set us apart and to render us useless; for we can only work better united.
Our voices united in the name of human harmony and world peace can bring about human prosperity and the welfare of the world, and we can in every essence break down the walls of Jericho if we shout together.
Realising that the individualistic lessons taught on the many walls of our media are tools meant to entrench us in slavery, will help to break us free from the chains of servitude and bondage manned by a few conceited individuals bent on fickle fiscal profit, and a fascination with themselves and the images their countenances reflect in the mirror.
One could try and teach humanity lessons and shout themselves hoarse, the reality however, is that human beings instinctively know what is right, that caring for others and being kind to others is good: we just pretend not to know that caring for the concerns and the rights of others makes us more peaceable figures.
The words we say often undermine the interests of others, offend others, and in the process of our speaking forget that our voices echo our true sentiments.
What we speak echoes into eternity, and I guess we should from this moment onwards be more considerate in the selection of the words we use.
Where the truth needs to be told, let us speak of it with the fervour of the preacher, but the words we use in the course of revealing such a truth should be of a nature that does not negate the realities of hierarchy within our different societies.
There are many constant references to “rights” in the various debates we hold, but one rarely hears of a reference to “responsibilities” in such discourses.
If it is your basic right to express your concerns and you feel you need to exercise it, do it with the full awareness that it does not infringe on the rights of others.
Careless talk in the name of rights has led to the division of entire communities; it plants seeds of social discord that upon blossom bear bitter fruits.
I have thought of voices I have heard and one among them comes back, time and time again reciting a piece of poetry:
Je ne suis pas etranger (I am not a stranger)
I am like you
Je ne suis pas la peste (I am not a disease)
I am your blessing
Come to remove your cursings

Our voices should echo a message of harmony, and we should borrow from those voices in our history whose messages were of true peace and harmony.
For our words will make this a better place to live in than it now is; our voices will set the wrong right.

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