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In pursuit of happiness and fulfillment
We argue in the present article that cumulatively over time, inexorable as it is, like change with the evolvement of time, perceptions and values remain immutable to the demands of the day in any society, wittingly or unwittingly. The hearty professor of Political Science from the University of Zimbabwe and former Cabinet Minister in the late former President R G Mugabe’s reign, Professor Jonathan Moyo once remarked: ‘Only a fool does not change his mind’. Does anyone who does change their minds/perspectives answer to the call of wisdom or they actually buttress the foolishness therein ingrained in their life’s outlook/worldview, generally? What is there to gain or lose by adjusting perceptions, positions, persuasions, and strategies to be an active agent in the pursuit of life in its fullness? Is it a crime to shift perceptions in whatever area of one’s life? Is joy always the outcome? In any case, on what authority can one conclusively argue that life is only about the pursuit of happiness, for everyone?
We similarly argue, vehemently for that matter, that life is not like concrete that is thoroughly mixed and permanently set. Critically important could be how to manage, navigate, engage, and probably handle the nature of change in its multiple forms, for the greater good, justifying the non-profitability of bigotry. The issues of shifting perceptions in any given age - ‘winds of change’- be it with regards to theory; ideological persuasions, foisted or not; galvanising communal values; spiritual persuasions; styles of writing as well as approaches to criticism; responses to circumstances, as well as any life-changing aspect, remain answerable to the ‘inimitable I’ within their respective environments and circumstances. Even aesthetics mutate across the ages, so do the architects behind the shifts. Movements are birthed as a result. Unique as it stands, the present volume answers to the foregoing assertions and observations. Nonetheless, practicability, flexibility and complexity of the shifts in the present volume offer in themselves moments of introspection within the disciplines represented herein, as well as the readership at large. Such is the pleasurable experiences that each article presents.
We find the present volume bringing together the interweaving discourses of coloniality of knowledge, de-coloniality, feminism (s), patriarchy, heroism and the latter’s definitions within shifting quicksand of history, particularly in the African context, Zimbabwe in particular. Suffice to observe that several lacunae and gapping gorges become too yawning to sweep aside. Under the microscopic lenses of ‘deconstructionist adventure’ (Chidora, 2021) Chidora interrogates constructions of heroes/heroines that have shifted from pre- independence to post-independence Zimbabwe on account of perceived betrayal of independence/liberation aspirations and promises that galvanized majority support by the majority Blacks for an armed liberation struggle. Using literary constructions as ‘resplendent’ symbols of lived realities amidst continued contestations of empowerment and inclusion, Chidora avers that post-independence Zimbabwean society is characterised by conditions that are far removed from the promises of independence.
The deconstructionist eye that Chidora uses affords readers a re-look and recasting of imaginings of the post-independence Zimbabwean state at the behest of a Second Republic inspired by the desire to restore an original legacy that corruption had eschewed, to the chagrin of ‘patriotic’ cadres and the ordinary citizens. Chidora’s deconstructionist lenses becomes even more ironic during a wave of Heroes Day commemorations that are afoot in mid-August, more critically after the official mounting of the Legendary Nehanda’s monument mounted at the heart of the CBD in Harare close to the claimed historical site of her execution at fighting the Queen of England’s dispossession and dehumanisation of the indigenous Black population, a legacy that keeps haunting the Black Zimbabwean Have-nots. Imaginings of heroism attract further lamination as a concept. During the November 2017 dislodging of the late former Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s reign, ‘Chiwenga’ (former Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, now the Vice President in the Second republic), became emblematic of and synonymous with heroism and manhood. Bus termini and multiple public facilities carried the engraved emblem of the uniformed General, but perceptions appear to be shifting. Literary texts, fermenting with broader societal imaginings have their seams similarly bursting, aspects that Chidora’s deconstructionist’s conversation engages.
Diversifying engagements on feminism(s) and de-/coloniality that are party to the current volume are imbued with cultural realities and socio- political experiences obtaining in and shaped by local realities within broader parameters of marginalisation informed by attendant governance systems, beliefs, values and obtaining worldviews. The contributions constitute some subtle invitation for self-exhortation of the ‘inimitable I’ first and foremost before replication beyond the ‘I’. The article thus, are inclusive of the readers and audiences in their multiplicities and persuasions. Because of the power of the word, internalised or shared, like a fountain, imprints may develop in/advertantly, only the responses to the same word may differ. Freire (1972) and Chigara (2012a and b) aver that both victims and perpetrators of oppression and colonial apartheid policies, for instance, cannot be left untainted by the very experiences, hence the need for inclusive re-education. The latter explains our persuasion for re-education of critics, writers, readers and audiences alike within the realm of inclusive transformative approaches for the betterment of the post-colonial communities and societies across all institutions and entities. Of course, the processes would be arduous environmentally, intellectually, spiritually, psychologically and materially as they would demand engendering novel consciousness in old, but ‘new worlds’. For example, Mbwera in the present volume observes:
In its multiple manifestations, coloniality has disfigured, distorted,
reconfigured and eventually transformed African ways of knowing. The
result is epistemicide, in which Western epistemic systems are valorized as indispensable and unassailable, while indigenous forms of African knowing are vilified as setting a site for conflicting savage desires and derisions.
The mistaken impression has unfortunately been for the former subaltern Other to take possession of and own the decoloniality processes, at the exclusion of the former oppressor who was the unfettered beneficiary of the colonial scourge, till in the present in terms of the economy and ownership of the means of wealth production and livelihoods sustainability on the global scale. The binaries may not augur too well for inclusive transformative procedures. We thus call for the intrinsic re-evaluation of the subaltern who is perceived to have been sentenced to being mute by the colonial spatial and epistemological management. Ironically, decoloniality may not be simplistic and linear. It involves software rewiring of both ‘victim’ and ‘villain’. The foregoing call for a re-look at the imaginings of De/coloniality and the artistic renditions of the African post-independence and its aftermath, as well as those of the other developing countries.
The word shapes not only the living philosophy and outlook, but prophesies worlds and epistemologies into existence, thereby creating/generating the energy, intellectual and otherwise, required for practicable transformation of attitudes, policy and the latter’s implementation. To this end, not only Mbwera engages the hotly contested subject of coloniality/de/coloniality. Similar energies are invested in the imaginings explored in “Postcolonial Identities in Dinaw Mengistu’s Literary Chronotope” in the present volume.
While commenting on every article in the volume sounds tautological, the exercise could not be ignored as the matter touches on smarting nerves of the present writer whose heart bleeds at the carnage that racism, sexism, gender biases, general intolerance, corruption, unbridled exploitation of Black brother/sister by another Black brother/sister and the desire for self-aggrandisement continue racking the ‘diminished Other’ in our respective society and environments. Yes, the #BlackLives Matter Movement in the United States of America strives furthering the struggles against continued slavery and abuse of blacks in the Diaspora, but one is taken aback at how our own backyard is shaping, especially in view of the recent South African ‘screaming anti-poverty’ protests that were sparked by the arrest of the former President Jacob Zuma, one of the founding patriarchs of the ANC, at the behest of the Zondo-led South African Constitutional Court. Thus, de/coloniality, feminisms, coloniality and their manifestations demand more constructive engagements than previously imagined. Hunsu and Ogbonna’s “Intra- Gender Complicity and the Objectification of Woman in Djebar’s A Sister to Scheherazade” bring the cockrel/chickens home to roost. For a better handbook towards unravelling perceptions and misconceptions about feminism and the headaches that the movement in its various manifestations has caused, Adichie’s We should all be feminists could be what the current generations should embrace to meet the pressing material, psychological, spiritual, environmental, social and intellectual demands of our evolving environments.
That the foregoing motifs continue featuring in our issues is not a matter of paucity of intellectual innovation and inventiveness, not at all. Without dialoguing on fundamentals that provide the fundamental philosophies and lubricate the driving implementers, changes could be cosmetic, approaches that postpone rather than deal with the subterranean discourses whose manifestations are the inequities and intolerance that play out in everyday relationships and business engagements. Suffice to say that as attitudes and perceptions change, so does the accompanying vocabulary, its formations and transmission, as well as the symbiotic relationship with the demographics of the users, a motif that Ndlovu and Ndlovu’s “An Evaluation of the Employment of Cross-referencing in Isichazamazwi SesiNdebele (2001)” demonstrates.
Imbued with contradictions, just like the puzzle that life itself is, the present volume would have missed the mark if it solicited only consensus. Inclusion through constructive robust conversations would give the journal better dividends in the long term, a vision that we wish to continue nurturing through the contributions from across the continent and the Diaspora. We end the Editorial note with the familiar adage: a lion will always be a lion; allow him to tell the narrative, and he will always be the hunter. Until the hare learns to tell the story, the lion will always be the hunter. Agency and trophies are hard to share. Shona philosophy says: “Hapana inofurira irere; chave chigondora chave chimombe, kutadza kufura utera hwacho” which can be loosely translated “those who can’t work should go on leave of eating”. The collorary is that those who cannot hunt should not blame others for failure to bring home a kill. Similarly, intellectually and otherwise, our imaginings ought to engender that philosophy and practice that ushers in the desired constructive and inclusive transformative change, endeavours that we witness in the present collection.
Arguments and debates around perceptions of gender and how they continuously impact societies across the ages account for vicissitudes, some of them more toxic than transformative, influencing internal, regional, international, and even global relations to a point of stalling the realisation of some United nations Millennium Development Goals. Such is how critical perceptions around gender empowerment and or disenfranchisement impact some population demographics in many societies and communities. To this end, language and the symbols that it embeds cannot be neutral either. Others ‘become’ while others ‘diminish’/’suffocate’ spiritually, emotionally, materially, ideologically, and even in terms of participation and contribution towards present and future legacies concerning agency that makes individuals, families, communities, nations, countries and societies better and more inclusive as human beings put themselves in the shoes of the ‘diminished other’ to the betterment of the ‘inimitable I’ in the long term.
Adichie , C. N. (2015). We Should All Be Feminists. New York, NY:
Chigara, B. 2012a. Southern African Development Community Land Issues
Towards a New Sustainable Land Relations Policy. London: Routeledge
Chigara, B. (2012b). Re-conceiving Property Rights in the New Millenium:
Towards a New Sustainable Land Relations Policy. London: Routeledge.
Freire, P. 1972. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder,
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1988. "Can the Subaltern Speak?" In, Ed.
Lawrence Grossberge. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. London:
Macmillan.pp. 271-313. Print.