Growing up in Zimbabwe, sadly this is something l heard more often than l would have liked. It was a difficult time of our past and I’m glad it’s over!
Zimbabwe was a British colony for approximately 165 years before gaining independence in 1980. Since then, we have been on a slippery slope to poverty.
I wanted to understand why we had fought for freedom and yet it remained illusive to us. I knew that a lot of people had lost their lives to achieve freedom, Zanu Pf made sure that everyone was kept informed of this.
That’s when I came across literature on the power of conditioning and how that affects how we have responded to freedom. The question is, did we really understand the burden of freedom?
In my journey of studying the power of conditioning, l came across a science journal. The scientist’s team leashed a dog to a stake. Then they put the animal’s food just out of reach. When the dog tried to get the food, he hurt himself because his leash wasn’t long enough. Every time he lunged toward the food, he felt pain.
By the fourth week of this cruel experiment, the dog stayed right by the stake. He didn’t even try to reach for the food. During the fifth week they removed the dog’s leash and put him two feet away from the food . But by now the dog stayed next to the stake. The animal refused to go near the food. He had been so conditioned by the pain that kept him from reaching the food that, although he was free to eat again, he believed he couldn’t. That dog almost starved to death during the last seven weeks of his testing. He wouldn’t move from the stake even though the food was accessible. They actually had to pick the dog up and carry him to the food to slowly recondition him.
Most countries in Africa are now having to rely on aid from their previous colonisers or they would starve to death just like that dog in the experiment. The politicians in Africa do not seem to understand that freedom carries a burden of responsibility.
Instead of building infrastructure they spend their time travelling, shopping and utilising health services from other well organised nations. They blame everything and everyone apart from themselves for their dilemma.
The Zimbabwean government has been blaming the sanctions imposed on them by the governments in the west. What l didn’t realise was that these sanctions were imposed whilst Zimbabwe was still colonised, known as the Southern Rhodesia then. However, the Smith dispensation was able to thrive despite these sanctions and the country became so prosperous that it was labelled the bread basket of Africa!
On the other hand, since Zanu PF took over, plenty other precious minerals have been discovered in Zimbabwe. It has not impacted the economy of the country, due to mismanagement and their corrupt ways of handling resources.
The above experiment although cruel demonstrated that when the mind of an animal is conditioned, it will live within the limitations imposed upon it even after it is set free! There is no way to walk to freedom without shouldering it’s responsibility. The people of Zimbabwe do not appear or feel free at all because of the government’s failure to manage resources.
Without mental transformation, the actions we take to change may only produce a new place where we continue to do our old things. The answer lies in renewing our mind and not blaming others. They spent years conditioning us and we have to spend years educating ourselves! It starts with each and every one of us!