Let us, South Africans, break bread with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.
The symbolism of bread for this country runs deep, and it’s tangible too. Once hailed as the bread basket of Africa, the country exported wheat, corn and tobacco. Then, under Robert Mugabe’s rule, this literally withered away.
Finally, his rule has ended. His stubborn grip lasted longer than my existence. Given that, I will admit that I do not know as much about our neighbours in Zimbabwe as I would like to. I am reading and learning more.
Because history will hail this period. History will hail the people of Zimbabwe for fighting and not giving up. Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been torn apart. Even when many sought safety in South Africa, some were attacked.
Now, let us break bread. Let us help Zimbabweans build their country again… slice by slice, loaf by loaf, crop by crop.
The road ahead will be a long and difficult one. Mugabe’s exit is reason to rejoice but do not be clouded by the euphoria. Zimbabwe remains a collapsed country, politically and economically. It is still a fragile nation. And it has to be wary.
The military is seemingly in control and there is thankfully no evidence of force being used. But, the military’s hands are not clean. There are vested interests from within and beyond Zimbabwe’s borders. Because Zimbabwe without Mugabe has great promise. The land is there. It can be made fertile again. And underground, Zimbabwe is rich too. It has large reserves of platinum and lithium which mining companies will no doubt be eyeing.
Zimbabwe needs a leader of substance and vision. Come July 2018, a new President will be elected. Should the country wait that long? I think not. Surely this “coup” is reason enough for elections to be held sooner. Zimbabwe cannot have a leader from within the ranks of Mugabe. Those who supported and shielded him must shoulder blame for the crisis in the country.
Yes, the fight is far from over. There is no room for complacency. The people of Zimbabwe must continue to protest and push for meaningful change. It will take the hard work of many hands to nurture the seeds of hope that have been planted this week. The time is ripe to mould the country into a fruitful democracy.
Let us, South Africans, break bread with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. Let us help restore power to the people. And let it serve as a reminder to us all… no leader is indispensable. Ultimately, any rule that does not serve the will of the people will come to an end.