Several weeks back we published a story about a second accident involving the Nehanda tree in Harare.One of our readers Dudu Masaiti had a lot to say in reaction to the story by our contributor Nonku Vundla. Below is her response to Mr Masaiti’s comment.

With all respect due to me as my elder, I must say that living in the past cannot help our future. You call Zimbabwe your beautiful country yet you want to continue creating a rift between Ndebeles and Shonas.

I actually read your article before I wrote mine and I found it very passionately destructive. I appreciate the losses on both sides during periods of conflict. The facts surrounding Mbuya Nehanda possessing those who massacred tens of thousands is not something I am able to debate. I was born in 1983 and unfortunately my education never reached those elements, however I will take you for your word on that and the next time I am in the areas you mentioned I will further investigate.

What research I have done is around the fight Mbuya Nehanda (during her lifetime) led against invaders. What followed after her death is really all specualtion because to me blaming Christ for the crusades or blaming Allah or Mohammed for suicide bombers is a futile activity. This ‘demon’ as I have also been raised to believe she was, is also a representation of brave women who rise up in the face of oppression.

She may have followers who carry out horrendous acts and if that includes the killing of innocent people then that is truly regrettable. But that doesn’t take away from the many great things SHE DID achieve and I don’t know many characters in history who were perfect. In the Bible, David was a killer and adulterer. Across the Limpopo, Shaka was also a killer who shed lots of blood during his lifetime and a lot of that blood belonged to other black tribes. However Shaka Zulu is still celebrated for the many great things he did for the African people.

In response to your question if I really am a Vundla, yes I am… I am not a Zezuru posing as a Ndebele for propaganda purposes. I am the product of the New Zimbabwe. I was born in Harare when my father came from South Africa (via Zambia) to live in exile. My father’s Xhosa heritage means that I am definitely far off from being a Zezuru, and as children we were not allowed to speak Shona at home.

Being born in Zimbabwe means I have been educated here for periods of my life, but don’t confuse me for a Zanu PF brainwashed youngster who has not been exposed to anything other than their propaganda. I spent almost half of my life in South Africa and as I was bounced between countries I realized that all the divisions that the older generation are trying to hand down to us will only DESTROY Zimbabwe.

I have Ndebele friends and cousins who despise Shona’s because of the bitter history that our elders fed down our throats as children. How about givng our generation a chance to start on a new page and rebuild Zimbabwe as a unit?

If my blood will be demanded by the Nehanda ‘demon’ as you say then so be it. One thing I do know is that I will not be a preacher of the gospel that says ‘let’s hate the Shonas because they hate us.” Perhaps it’s time for us to move past our past hurts and betrayals to build a nation that’s based on forgiveness.

December 22 means nothing to most people and a day which was meant for unity and reconciliation is just a farce to most. When I see Ndebele’s castigating me for being open to Zezurus I can’t help it think of the saying “Divide and Rule.” Until we are able to bury the hatchet and aknowledge our common history, Zimbabwe will always be in a limbo. Those of us who really love ‘this beautiful country’ don’t want to see that happen.

I live in Zimbabwe because I choose to and when I visited the UK during my high school years, I knew I couldn’t leave my continent and run off to a place with “roads, jobs, rail, technology, education, health, economy, currency, development, law, mines, trade, farming and food.” I and many young Zimbabweans want more than these material things and since you had your chance to fight the struggle for political emancipation, allow us to fight for the economic emancipation of our people.

Saying you would rather be under Colonial rule so you can have jobs and food means you are too tired to keep fighting. Thank you for fighting for our freedom, but please do not suggest we go back to our opressors for want of material things. That is the mentality of Esua who sold his heritage for a plate of food… I stay in Zimbabwe, not South Africa and this is a conscious decision that I made. So to answer your question I choose to be in a liberated country rather than in one that has the highways, shopping malls and supposed better life yet the majority of the wealth is in the hands of the few… If  I had to choose between being a ‘rich’ slave in Rhodesia and being a master in ‘poor’ Zimbabwe, I choose the latter.

Freedom is my name, Nonkululeko, and I can never ever fathom wanting to be a slave just so I enjoy the material gain that comes with that.