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A tale of Dickens’ inspired writing

The last few days have been the most extraordinary. I will have to invoke Charles Dickens, the Victorian-era English author of several seminal books; Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities, to name a few.

State of the Art with Admire Kudita

The last book especially captured my imagination. What was captivating was the duality of the thematic frame of the novel which was centred on the French Revolution in France in the 18th century.

Writers’s burden

Our burden as writers is to write fairly and responsibly. Our privilege is to inspire a nation to listen to its better angels. Such a moment has been presented us with platform to urge upon our collective humanity to spread love not hate, hope not despondency.

We must trust not in time, but in Almighty God who rules in the affairs of men to weigh upon the hearts of those that bear the sword and rule. It is well and fine to give in to fear, but why must we fear when this is our country? This is our motherland and our fatherland.

A Tale Of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

The above quotes from Dickens’s masterpiece perhaps capture the zeitgeist of a certain nation south of the Sahara. As I moved in its city and interacted with vendors and ordinary persons, there was not a sense of dark foreboding that I could glean.

Several that I spoke to seemed to be cautiously satisfied with the outcome. Moreover, I have a writer friend whose son has expressed a desire to enlist in the force.

When Dickens wrote his novel, he was inspired by the socio-economic conditions of his own nation Britain at the time. He would have believed that the conditions were similarly ripe for revolution in Britain as had happened in France.
Reign of terror

The reign of terror was intended to purge the Ancien Regime of King Louis the XIV who had appropriated to himself the fawning title of the Sun King. His was a reign so indolent and extravagant that his queen was even said to have diffidently told the hungry French masses that the people should eat cake if they could not find bread!

Of course, history tends to be mired in fallacies and myths. Sometimes those myths are conveniently spun by detractors to solidify their raison d’etre.

Whatever she actually would have said is not important. The fact is that most historians concur on the lavishness of the court of Louis XIV and his pompous queen Marie Antoinette.

Tardy assistance of time

One of the three gentlemen steering the French reign of terror was Maximillian de Robespierre. Perceived enemies of the revolution were placed upon the guillotine summarily. It was enough to merely suspect you of being a sympathiser of the Ancien Regime.

When jailed, Robespierre is quoted as having said, “I must await the tardy of time who must avenge betrayed humanity”. His former fellows who had helped him in the purge of royalists, the likes of Marat Safin now joined the mob to arrest their foremost leader of the reign of terror.

Personal testimony

I will never forget the pride I felt all those years ago in the eastern highlands, living in the household of my freedom fighter aunt. If I had been old enough, I would have joined the armed struggle.

I will never forget the nights when we gathered of our own volition to sing under dim lit nights around fires to sing war songs led by vana mukoma (guerilla fighters) when they were conducting their mobilisation. I believed then that there was nothing more heroic than these men and women.

I want to believe it even now. I want to believe that the current actions are motivated, indeed, by a cause more righteous than selfish parochial interests.

To quote Dickens, we have a duality of theme. We are poised for better or for worse. Heaven help Zimbabwe.

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