ROBERT Mugabe’s unsolicited lie that Kalangas are uneducated criminals wreaking havoc in South Africa defies logic and common sense combined but also reveals the man’s true character. Mugabe hates the people from south-west Zimbabwe and will do everything to eliminate and humiliate them. These utterances highlight his malevolent desire to annihilate the Kalanga community.
On Wednesday 29 April 2015 Mugabe, who is also the President of Zimbabwe, unashamedly claimed that ‘the Kalangas were/are very notorious in South Africa, they are known to be crooks because they are not educated enough to get (descent) jobs.’ This was at a news conference ending a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting on industrialization. In essence, Mugabe was telling the whole of Southern Africa and indeed the whole world that Kalangas are uneducated criminals. Such generalisation, especially by a president with eight degrees, is the pinnacle of insanity.
Firstly, the assertion that Kalangas are uneducated criminals is malicious, scandalous and based on hatred of a community that has known nothing but agony under Mugabe’s tyranny. If there is one notorious criminal who deserves eternal incarceration it is Robert Mugabe, a man who masterminded the butchering of more than 20,000 innocent civilians, Kalangas included, in south-western Zimbabwe during the Gukurahundi genocide. The Gukurahundist-in-Chief has refused to acknowledge his role during the genocide. He has previously stated that Gukurahundi was a ‘moment of madness’ but it seems as if this madness will never end and the victims will continue to suffer.
It is common knowledge that millions of Kalangas and Zimbabweans have risked their lives crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo due to Mugabe’s cruelty, intolerance, economic mismanagement. While it is true that South Africa is not ‘heaven’ as Mugabe stated; it is a fact that, for many, South Africa is a better hell than Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. It is folly for the President to state that Kalangas are not educated and that that is why they cannot get decent jobs.
There are thousands of Kalangas at home and abroad with decent education but have failed to get jobs in Zimbabwe. Most of them, with their colourful academic certificates, have sought economic refuge in neighbouring countries.Advertisement
With more than 85% of the population unemployed, where does Mugabe expect the Kalangas to get jobs? There are thousands of Kalangas who, since the Gukurahundi era, have fled the country due to Mugabe’s brutal politics characterised by the massacring and terrorisation of perceived opponents. Does Robert Mugabe, in his sober senses, expect these people to come back when he is still in power and has not changed his ways?
Secondly, it is shocking that Mugabe, in his wisdom (in lack thereof in my opinion), still thinks that the bulk of Zimbabweans who are illegally crossing the border to South Africa are from Matabeleland South. Documented testimonies of victims of xenophobic violence who were recently repatriated to Zimbabwe show that the majority, if not all, of them were from areas such as Zaka, Chiredzi, Kadoma, Chinhoyi etc. These areas are not in Matabeleland South and they have never been. Neither are they inhabited by Kalangas.
It is my submission that these people from areas such as Zaka and Chiredzi have been inspired by Kalangas in South Africa and elsewhere who have successfully developed their communities despite decades of marginalisation; cultural and social infiltration and economic sabotage by Mugabe’s unrepentant regime. Rural Kalanga-land has some of the best houses in the country built by hardworking men and women who fled the country because of Mugabe’s disastrous leadership.
By attacking these selfless sons and daughters of Bukalanga, Mugabe has attacked the whole Kalanga community. Mugabe is an unrepentant perpetrator of gross human rights violations who has dedicated the entire three decades of his leadership to disempowering minority ethnic groups like the Kalanga.
Yes there are Kalangas who are uneducated just like there are millions of other Zimbabweans who have failed to access decent education because their parents could not afford to send them to school. Mugabe should be ashamed that three decades after independence there are children- whether in Kalanga-land or elsewhere in the country- who cannot go to school because their parents are poor and jobless.
Mugabe’s children and those of his cronies continue to be sent to some of the best schools and universities in the world. These children without access to education have to survive and the only option for them has been to escape to neighbouring countries. They are not attracted by ‘good life’ in South Africa as Mugabe suggests but they continue to be driven out of their motherland by his violent tendencies, corruption, economic mismanagement and abysmal leadership.
Mugabe should save his energy – the little that he is left with – for resuscitating the melting economy, creating the two million jobs that his party promised in 2013 and saving his party from internal decomposition instead of exhausting it in attacking a minority ethnic group that continues to survive despite his desire to destroy it. Attacking the Kalanga community will not create jobs, neither will it cure all the problems bedevilling Zimbabwe. These are the real issues that Mugabe has to deal with.
Blaming the Kalangas for all these problems will not cleanse Mugabe’s soiled image. Among many Kalangas, he will be remembered as a dictator who slaughtered innocent civilians to crush dissent and establish a one party state. He will be remembered as a tyrant who forced thousands out of the country as economic and political refugees.
Kalangas have survived and they will continue to survive Mugabe’s brutal rule until it’s over.
Kukalanga ndiko kanyi kwedu.
Kudzani Dojiwe Ndlovu is an educated Kalanga with degrees from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Zimbabwe.