Zimbabwe’s Generation X. Victims of cowardice?
The truth which makes man free is often the truth which most men prefer not to hear – Herbert Agar
My story today begins with a declaration that might not earn me more friends but after agonizing for more than two weeks over this I chose to be like Herbert Agar and pontificate something that we know but that we do not want to admit and or accept.
By definition I belong to Generation X https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X#Origin_of_term . This, by definition, spans debatably, from 1961 to around 1981. This makes the eldest Generation X to be to be 58 years old and the youngest to be 30.
The bulk of this Generation, including me, were born during the second Chimurenga that was between 1964 and 1979 (David, Martin (1981). The Struggle for Zimbabwe: The Chimurenga War. Harare: Zimbabwe Publishing Company) and the and the eldest was around 19 at Independence and the youngest a few months old.
I am deliberately postulating the ages and the milestones because, fast forward to 39 years later, the youngest is around 40 or nearing 40 and the eldest is nearing 60.
I deliberately harp on these points because this is the generation that saw the Independence euphoria, marched alongside demobilized soldiers, saw tracers fly in the sky during post independence disturbances, went to school in an independent Zimbabwe, saw ESAP, Willogate, GMB scandals, idolized Peter Ndlovu, Reinhardt Fabisch, Fay Chung, Kilimanjaro, Japhet Mparutsa, Peugeot 404, the advent of the Nissan Hardboy, the Santana, Hosea Chipanga, Ndux Malax, the demise of Samora Machel, the rise of student activism, the tear gas is not perfume statement etc.
This is the generation that must have been rolling in it all because it grew up on school run Nutresco feeding schemes washed down with 125ml packs of fresh milk. This is the soccer book generation of the Bruce Grobbelaar fame, the Samson Paweni saga,the Cecafa championship triumphs, tennis’ Black brothers, James Chimombe and the Pepe Kale craze.
So, what happened you may ask? I do not want to answer that question but I want to answer the one that says who happened?
In answering this question I need to pose a projection on the societal demographics with a simple disclaimer that I am not a scientist but I just took the age of the youngest MP and the President‘s age as I have my own argument to advance. The youngest MP in Parly currently is Joana Mamombe for Harare West and His Excellency is 77 which means the crude mean in the political leadership sphere is 51,5 years old and that average falls within the Generation X but how many leaders from that generation are in the leadership platform?
Generation X has become the generation that has borne most of the brunt our nation has taken in its political and economic journey. I prayerfully remarked to a colleague when SI 142 was introduced that I was praying very hard that this action makes us and not breaks us. This is because 2008 broke our youthful dreams and wiped off our savings and broke our parents backs and 2019 must not.
We are the most broken generation and by default carry the most stubborn generation genes but we seem to have failed to transform that to a strength. We form the bulk of the labor force and potentially the voting majority but I am yet to be convinced that the demographics reflect as such politically. So who is representing and speaking for us if we are not?
How did Generation X miss the bus or was Generation X left by the bus? Are we a generation of passengers, have we been locked out of the arena, did we abdicate our voices? Have the youths overtaken us?
Is Generation X the group that missed the flight? Are we cowards or we have been cowed? I say so because we are the missing quotient in the succession equation , we are the ones who risk fading into oblivion without relevance.
Is it our doing or we have been locked out of the bull ring? I watched Lewis Matutu address a press conference ( whether right or wrong is a question for another day) https://youtu.be/MsOGqjvLfQs and I wondered if the voice of a mid eighties product could stridently sound like that what more could Generation X, with all the callouses of the past 40 years and having their future depending on the specific moment, have done?
Whose cowardice left Generation X in the lurch?
Can Zimbabwe’s Generation X self correct?
Has the generation been betrayed or we slept on the seats and the train took us past the station?
So many questions but I stop here today. When I continue, the following scripture will be the take off point :
“We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”
2 Kings 7:4 NLT