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Black History Month — Nothing to Celebrate

PROFESSOR Jonathan Moyo is a fairly controversial man. He has courted a good number of enemies and a fair share of admirers.


He is credited with crafting discredited media laws like Aippa, although he claims that those were a collective effort by cabinet.

He is credited with drafting the constitution which was rejected, albeit unfortunately, by Zimbabweans in a referendum.

He is also credited with predicting that Morgan Tsvangirai, then Secretary General of the ZCTU, will pose the biggest threat to Zanu PF rule. Today Tsvangirai is the Right Honourable Prime Minister.

Amidst all the controversy, Professor Moyo has managed to retain his Tsholotsho constituency. Newspapers and even some who alleged victimisation by him during his days in government can’t have enough of his articles, opinion pieces as well as his speeches.

This writer wishes to confess that he is also an addict of Moyo’s articles. His articles, his opinions, his speeches are always thought provoking.

One such piece, a public lecture presented at the Africa University on March 11 and reproduced in the Zimbabwe Independent “Opinion” section of March 20 titled “Zim faces challenging, uncertain future” was very interesting. It dwelt on the political transition or is it pre-transition as represented by the inclusive government.

This writer will not dare argue with someone who predicted a Tsvangirai rise from mine foreman to prime minister.

In the same piece the learned professor touched on the subject of celebrating the month of February as “Black History Month” or something to that effect.

In his speech, as reproduced by the Independent, Moyo highlighted a number of black individuals from different specialties ranging from politics, sport and the sciences as good examples why we should celebrate successes achieved by black men and women. It is in this aspect that I beg to differ with the learned professor.

Africa and Africans are credited with building the majestic Egyptian pyramids as well as the Great Zimbabwe ruins. That was a great sign of ingenuity by the black race.

But after those creations, the black race has not made any meaningful strides to create anything that improves the livelihood of humanity.

Meanwhile our white cousins created the automobile, the aeroplane, the computer we use everyday. Just look around you, dear reader.

The television set you are watching, the toothbrush you use every morning, anything. Do you see anything that was created by a black man?

Why is that so when we have some of the most educated people in the world?  The answer is simple: the black man is a charity case. We expect those that have to give us to do it for us. We are a consumer race. A failed race.

Imagine that Africa is the richest continent in the world in terms of natural resources and yet Africans are the poorest in the world!

Imagine that no African country, maybe except South Africa and Egypt has the technology to manufacture their own guns yet Africa is known for its endless wars!

We use the same guns manufactured by the same colonial masters to kill each other so that the same colonial masters can squander our resources while we fight.

Downtrodden is normally the excuse proffered by the naïve amongst us. Look at the Jews; they were a hopeless people after the holocaust.

But they have managed to change their fortunes in such a dramatic fashion. They simply vowed that their experiences in Germany and elsewhere in the world would NEVER happen again.

They managed to produce some of the best-known scientists in the world. They produced and own some of the biggest companies in the world, even on Wall Street.

They realise that money is power and their people are some of the richest in the world, but they have no natural resources to brag about. Right now they are even producing their own nuclear weapons! Israel is one example of a country that said enough is enough.

The whites now engage them as equals.

The only known creation by Africans to rival the whites’ automobile is the ox-drawn sleigh. The other African invention is a mousetrap.

Then there is the use of lightning (mheni) to “bomb” your enemy. But still it is not improved for use during war! Lightning, dear reader, is meant to rival the nuclear bomb!

This in a world where the best minds are inventing not just the cellphone, but also the smallest one. Not just the computer, but the laptop.

Can you imagine that a fellow from Chiredzi was actually arrested for inventing a gun using pieces of scrap metal! In another world that man would be rewarded and his invention protected and improved as a national product, if not heritage. Instead he is in jail.

Another fellow invented a helicopter which was proudly displayed at the Exhibition Park until he was evicted recently.

To many Zimbabweans, this guy is mad. He is a victim of all manner of ridicule. His crime? Being a genius. These are some of the few people who should be assisted by everyone, most of all their governments to develop inventions which are proudly African, and can change and improve humanity.

The political leadership of Africa is another example of a disaster for Africa. How do you explain why Nigerians have never had enough fuel when they are among the world’s top oil producers?

How do you explain how a country like Zimbabwe, with all sorts of precious stones at their disposal, is home to the poorest and hopeless people in the world?

Imagine a continent where a solution to potholes and bad roads is a sustained importation of expensive high terrain 4x4s, as well as Hummer vehicles, for a select few when the potholes can “swallow” a whole 30 tonne truck!

I am proud to be African. I would not wish to be anything else. But I acknowledge the efforts of the white man in improving humanity, including my own life.

I hold no grudges against the white man, for I realise that the world is a jungle, and the white man is the king of that jungle today. I also acknowledge that in a jungle it’s the survival of the fittest, and if my black race continues on its current path, we are nearing extinction.

I acknowledge that those that celebrate “success” are not used to it.

Those that are successful will not come with a special month for holidaying because they succeeded in achieving something.

Instead they will be looking for bigger, better challenges. If those that invented a computer identified December as a holiday month in honour of the computer, do you think we would be having a laptop today?

So this February Black History month is both premature and misguiding. Premature because the black man has not yet announced his arrival on the big stage.

This writer refuses to celebrate a whole month that a fellow black man runs faster than the white man, that a black man is the world’s best aimer of a hole using a golf club.

He refuses to celebrate all this because this is simply an act of entertaining the same white man who is getting richer and richer when Tiger Woods’ kith and kin are getting thinner and thinner.  

I will celebrate when the black race stands up and says enough is enough, just like the Jews (except for their brutalising of innocent Palestinian women and children), not against the white man but against themselves. The black man is his own worst enemy.

That day will come, what we lack is a spiritual leader. A leader who will get us to look at others in the face and demand what is ours, and demand the right price for what is ours.

The day when Africa knows what minerals she has, and who is mining them, and what quantities are being exported. That day will come, and when it does, and only when it does, black Africa will celebrate. And only then, I will join them.

*Msongelwa Ndlovu is a member of the Interim National Executive Council of revived Zapu. The above article represents his personal opinions.


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