From Peace Within to Progress in the World

Samantha (1) — By Samantha from Zimbabwe

Disability is not inability and this is a fact that many will not understand until they meet Tinashe, a young Zimbabwean male who has defied all odds to make it in the world despite the limitations he was born with. Peace begins from within and this is something he has proven to many people as his current progress is evidence to what one can achieve when one accepts themselves with the rightful support from family and the community.

Tinashe was born in April 1986 and is the third born in a family of four boys. He is handicapped and cannot use his hands for any job other than using his mobile phone, eating and writing. For motion, he uses a wheelchair to get around. Despite the fact that his condition was new in the family, his parents and siblings accepted him the way he was and supported him in any way they could. For his primary education Tinashe attended a school for the disabled where he settled well with the rest of the students. His father was his main pillar and ensured that his son never lacked in any sector of his life be it moral, financial, emotional or parental support.

For secondary level, he managed to attend a school for people with no disabilities and according to him, everyone treated him the same as every other able-bodied person. In 2002, his father passed away and his mother had to step in. In all this, his mother managed to fill the gap and ensure that Tinashe and his siblings never lacked anything. He managed to finish his Ordinary level in 2003.

The year 2005 was the beginning of a productive year for him as he managed to notice a need in his community. At that time a few people had mobile phones and there was a huge increase in the need for communication. With the support he managed to attain a handset and a sim card which he used to start a pay-phone business. In addition, he also sold recharge cards to the few who had cell-phones.

As the years passed by, the viability of his business also decreased as more people started owning phones. Coupled with the fact that there was a huge turnaround and downfall in the economy of Zimbabwe in 2008, he no longer managed to sustain his pay phone business. This led to the closure of his business and he had to have no income for months that year.

With the innovative spirit in him, he did not let the change and loss in business keep him down. In 2009, he started rearing chickens as he saw a need for them in his community. This is the business that he has been doing until now. Per each batch, he rears a total of 50 chickens. In addition to that project he also runs a tuck shop that sells wares and basic supplies to the citizens of his community. All this he does with the assistance of his mother and younger brother, who assist him with the hands-on stuff.

This man’s story inspired me as he did not let his condition be a reason for him to give up on life. Instead, he realised that he also still has the responsibility to fend for himself and his family. Despite the many obstacles he had to face in his projects, he continued to try and is still looking for other ways to increase his income.

Families, communities and countries have the key to progress and development and it starts with peace from within. As one comes to term with their background, ability, limitations, weaknesses, that’s when we can accept each other’s differences, opinions, background and dreams and that’s when we can expect progress to occur in all sectors and communities. If all families were like Tinashe’s family, we would neither have homeless, disabled people in the streets, nor would we have those who have decided to be regular street beggars. We all need support, so do they.

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The Death of Democracy

mark
— by Mark from Zimbabwe

As I lay in my bed, staring at the blank ceiling, I reminisced about the good times we had shared together. We had come a long way together, me and her. I met her when I was born, but only when I was old enough  I was able to understand her. She was strong and free spirited and she had given me hope for a brighter future. With her by my side, I knew I could conquer the world.

Everyone loved and adored her, especially the politicians. They spoke highly of her, and made the masses chant her name day and night. They gave her too much attention, especially during elections and this made me a bit jealous. I was afraid that their sweet-talking tongues would persuade her to go with them, but then again she was a foreigner in my land. Ships had brought her here for the sole purpose of adding colour to our grey and desolate land.

Her beauty was unparalleled, her power was wide reaching and her voice resonated throughout my motherland. I had never met her and this was also the case for everyone else around here, yet her influence was strong. It was like we were in a trance…a trance we didn’t want to break free. Everything in the motherland was done to match her standards; from the laws to the systems of governance. Her standards were the best and there was nothing better, after all those who came with her highly recommended her work in the foreign lands.

We were told that this was the land of ‘milk and honey’. Gallant sons and daughters had fought tooth and nail, they even put their lives on the line to ensure that everyone had a fair share of this milk and honey. Elections had been held and a new epoch had begun, as a nation new to the world of independence. We had been promised a lot and we had expected a lot as well. Constitutions were drafted by the politicians and a government was formed by the politicians. She made her grand appearance alongside of our former colonial masters who helped create this new phenomena. We had embraced her wholeheartedly from the onset and indeed, the future looked bright.

Everything was serene during the first few years but little did we know that the future looked grim and grey. It was eighteen years of self rule and devoted association to her, when things started taking a negative turn. The land was unsettled and a storm was brewing on the horizon. She remained steadfast and resolute, playing her part in ensuring that the masses smiled at all times. However, the politicians were slowly draining her power by enacting laws which went against her principles. The politicians were doing a good job of keeping her quiet. Slowly but surely, they were turning her into that, which the gallant sons and daughters had fought for in the past.

Like a permanent scar, I still remember the day they came to take her away. Men with guns had come in the middle of the night. They had been sent by the politicians, the same politicians who had worshipped her at her feet. They chained and gagged her. Her screams went unheard as no one noticed what was happening. By the time the sun rose, she was nowhere to be found and the void she had left was filled with an eerie air of silence and sullen faces dripping with tears. Anyone who protested against the prevailing situation was taken away. Any form of resistance from the masses was stifled. We all secretly hoped to see her again, but something deep inside of us told us that we had seen the last of her.

So, here I am, a few years later, as I lay in my bed staring at the blank ceiling. Everyone is mourning…we are mourning the death of democracy. Oh, How I miss her so.