REMEMBERING THE YEAR OF THE UPRISING/

Stanlake Samkange is a Zimbabwean writer who is well known for fusing facts and fiction to create what may be regarded as faction. In the Year of the Uprising, published in 1978 by Heinemann and appears as 190 in the African Writers Series, Samkange narrates the story of the great rebellion between the Matabele and Mashona in 1896. In the work, a messenger brings the news that Lobengula had, before his death, instructed him to bring back his sacred headring to Matabeleland so that the new king can be appointed and the Matabele can be united after their defeat. Their despair at the loss of their lands gives way to a sense of purpose as the individuals gather to see their chief and word goes round that the time for rebellion is near. In this great narrative, Samkange portrays Zimbabwe as a land of courageous people even when the white men due to the superiority of their ammunition overpowered and killed the leaders of the rebellion—though not without saboteurs. Mkwati’s voice was heard from the grave as it muffled saying:

   Go, go, go away

  Another day, another hour

   Our sons will rise again.

And our land from white power For ever gain./

Great God It is the day,

it is the hour For Zimbabwe/

However all these historical romance though emotional often fails to lift a nation. Since most people in government are hypocrites and their advisers are booth lickers. Those in authority just want to hear what they feel like hearing. As Samkange reports “in Salisbury, Tembu went to Lord Grey to report. He found Grey with Baden-Powell and told them what they wanted to hear as they wanted to hear it.”

If one talks of Zimbabwe today one can perceive the stark contrast between these emotional musings and the current reality. The Zim dollars is one of the currencies with the least value in the world and one with the oldest and sit-tight President. In fact it was shocking to me that I went through a Map or call it Atlas without seeing the name of Zimbabwe. In fact it seems that the cartographers have forgotten Zimbabwe.

In our own country, Nigeria, if things continue to go as it is going, we may not be far from the year of the Uprising. All the emotional talks and promises have turned out to be mere opium to the masses. Those in government should be up and doing so that the year 2017 will prove to be a year of better things to come. Imagine an end of the year celebration where the Banks are filled with crowds, most of the ATM machines are not working, transportation fares plus lack of salaries are turning the month of cheers into tears. In this condition hope and its audacity starts sounding useless. The very and fundamental issue remains like the writing on the body of a passenger airline that proclaims, THE PRIDE OF AFRICA, I then ask who will return our pride or how do we say Weep not Child when characters like Settler Howard Williams still hovers around.

Wishing all citizens a happy and prosperous New Year  .