My continent needs to improve. But how?
The answer is simple; trust.
Whilst the reader may be wondering why an article would defy writing norms and spill the beans this early, the writer would like to assure you, there’s more to it.
Various research papers have made the assertion that up to 70% of Zimbabweans don’t have access to clean water sources or reliable electricity supply. Whilst education is a cornerstone of our social constructs, most Zimbabwean students struggle to access books, educational infrastructure and the Information technology required to keep up with modern educational norms; all this and we haven’t even begun to explore the deeper economic realities that constantly haunt the average Zimbabwean. The idea of “changing” the country and, more immediately, individual communities is one that has plagued every single Zimbabwean’s mind because, unlike more stable communities, ours is an issue of survival; but that, at least, can be somewhat relatable, no?
Humanity is defined by its ability to evolve. Evolution itself being the quest to modify ourselves and our environment to equip us with whatever we need to live better lives. Through things like compromise, adaption and innovation, we have progressed as a species from being cave dwelling groups, to massive communities made up of complex hierarchies and technological advancements. My immediate community has a firm understanding of the first two; compromise and adaption, but the last one seems to rear its head on rare occasion; innovation. The problems that plague us today are the exact same that have haunted us for the past decade and there seem to be no signs of improvement. We can survive for another decade, but the stark reality of this situation is, unless we begin to innovate and create solutions tailored to us, we are going to be in this exact same situation come 2031.
Innovation requires three basic steps, namely, research, brain storming and implementation. Research means understanding our precise problems; without a shadow of a doubt my
community has that pinned down. We don’t have the means to make an effective living legally, we don’t have proper access to basic necessities and we feel powerless to fix any of the above. Ask anyone and they will reiterate these points, albeit in a myriad of synonymous phrases and words. Research, check.
Next, we must brainstorm. Interestingly, this too seems to be ground we have covered. A community finds themselves with plenty of time to brainstorm when their populous is suffering from 90% unemployment. Through individual day dreaming and various road-side discussions that I have found myself privy to, I have come to realise we know precisely what we need. Independence. A shift from depending on municipal and government solutions and band together as communities to provide all the things we require. Solar solutions, boreholes, affordable private schools and community projects to build and utilise infrastructure. We need to stand together and equip each other. Brain storming, check.
Now for implementation.
Implementation is where we fall apart. Local organisations are plagued with needless squabbles, mistrust and abuse of resources. It works here and there, but oddly the communities that need it most seem to have the most trouble putting things into action. The individualistic survival mentality has penetrated our communities so thoroughly, we can hardly make a move without tripping each other up. We refuse to trust each other to the point of actively sabotaging each other and ultimately ourselves, leading to us closing ourselves off and bringing the entire process of innovation to a screeching halt. All the research and brainstorming in the universe is entirely useless if we don’t trust each other enough to work together and actually implement. “The thorn in the Lion’s paw”, though cliché, becomes the most apt phrase to describe mistrust ruining any hope of improvement in my community.
All that said, let us reiterate our wild and ground breaking solution to a crisis that wears so many faces its genuinely difficult to look it in the eye; trust.
So, what’s the plan? Well, we can start small; as a neighbour, try earning and being worthy of your neighbour’s trust. Form small neighbourhood communities, watch each other’s backs, contribute and repair a road, join and be active in the parent teacher associations and start a neighbourhood fund to pay local unemployed people to build things like parks for your children on the cheap. Take small steps, check on each other, pool resources and, eventually, actually actively improve each other’s lives. We are all facing the same enemies. We are comrades in the fight for improvement, not competitors and it is time our communities
reflected this philosophy and ultimately earned the title of “communities”. After all, what is a community if not a group of people working together toward a common goal? If we do this, if we simply trust, we can all utilise our research and brainstorming, pair that with our skills of adaption and compromise and ultimately, evolve as we march forward as one.