Brand Zimbabwe versus the self-loathing Zimbabwean

Bernard Bwoni
Brand Zimbabwe is phenomenal and needs patriotic and the right ambassadors to fly that flag all over the world.  Every Zimbabwean is a foot soldier with a very important and birth right responsibility to enhance the overall image of brand Zimbabwe and help change the distorted perception the world has been presented with about this extraordinary country.
The REAL Zimbabwe is a peaceful, an intriguing, a friendly and an inviting place. It is a country with values and roots that go deeper than the ocean. The warmth and welcoming nature of Zimbabwe, the place and Zimbabweans, the people, has always been admired worldwide.
It is the responsibility of every Zimbabwean to take the country’s brand image and culture across our borders and present it in a manner that does not demean, disparage or destroy.
Every Zimbabwean has a responsibility to market this beautiful country for the benefits of doing so are immense and country defining.
We have a gem of a country, God-given and our only responsibility is to respect it, to honour that name Zimbabwe and sell it and sell it good.
There are many takers out there and every Zimbabwean should be a brand ambassador with an embodiment of the country’s identity, the values, the culture and the ethics of this brand called Zimbabwe.
There is value and relevance in selling and presenting Zimbabwe in a positive light. It cannot be emphasised enough that the responsibility lies with every Zimbabwean citizen wherever they are, be it in Zimbabwe or outside the borders.
However, it is very disappointing that there are some Zimbabweans who find it okay to portray their own country negatively.
There is no denying the fact that there are many challenges in Zimbabwe, there are many things that could be better and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to revive the country’s economy and battered image.
However, consistently painting a negative picture about the country is only going to repel business into the country. It is going to send the wrong message to those who want to come into the country.
Zimbabwe has always been one of the top tourist destinations in Africa and still remains so. There are many people who make informal enquiries about travelling to Zimbabwe and the expectation is that they should be presented with the true picture about the warmth and beauty of the place.
There are tourists, backpackers, business people or just wanderers who have money to spend making such enquiries. It is unfortunate that there are many who will just not find anything positive to say about this intriguing country.
There are those who have become persistent and perennial whingers and many seem to derive pleasure from dishonestly painting Zimbabwe in a negative light. That is just disappointing and will never make things right for the country. That is just substandard patriotism if at all.
To degrade and demonise your own country is to degrade yourself. Those who publicly and persistently discredit Zimbabwe clearly have no awareness of the profound implications of the negative speculation they constantly present to the world.
The world has become way too interconnected and with the advent of the Internet and social media, anything and everything is now available online for immediate perusal. It does not matter whether it is the truth or not, but that is exactly what the world would read about Zimbabwe.
The negativity that is being presented about Zimbabwe has far-reaching and damaging effects on the country as a whole. It just boggles the mind why anyone would have such deep-rooted negative views about their own country to the point national defamation.
There is this failure to separate party politics from the politics of national development among some people in Zimbabwe. Whatever some perceive to be the shortcomings of the ruling party must not be used to defame Zimbabwe the country. The problem with many is that they have no idea when to draw the line and separate country from party politics.
Zimbabwe has both victors and victims of the trauma triggered by colonialism. The same can be said of many, if not all African countries. There are those who have managed to deal with the physical trauma and shackles of colonialism and there are those who have failed to do so.
In Zimbabwe, there are those who took up arms against the unyielding colonial establishment and dismantled the hurdles the system created.
They physically and psychologically de-constructed the colonial construct and enabled all Zimbabweans to be counted as first class citizens in their own country.
However, many among us have struggled with pulling down the veil and the psychological scars inflicted by the trauma of colonisation and imperialism. These are the victims who still express sympathy and empathy with the Rhodesian system, have publicly expressed positive feelings towards the architects of the system to the point of defending it and identifying with it while putting down the system that liberated them.
There are many Zimbabweans, especially in the diaspora who present such negative traits. Some victims have called for the “escalation of the economic crisis” to further that very system which subjugated Zimbabwe and many other African countries.
It is defeatist and unpatriotic to consistently put your own country down. Every citizen has a duty to defend their own country, their own nationhood and their pride as a people instead of devoting energies to trampling on the name of Zimbabwe and its people.
Why is it that other nationalities do not always wash their dirty laundry in the public and never present their countries in a negative light?
There are many countries worldwide that have it much worse than Zimbabwe but you rarely hear their nationals parading it to the world that their country is the definition of disaster.
There is no denying that things could be better in Zimbabwe but perennially naysaying your own country is not going to make things any better.
Those who denounce Zimbabwe claim that President Robert Mugabe forced them out and that they did not have a choice in the matter and hence the bitterness.
Choice is a very big word that should be used carefully for we all make our choices and we have to live with them.
People have migrated and moved around the world since time immemorial and for anyone to blame President Mugabe for their nomadic ways is nothing short of comical and preposterous. People are all over the world for various reasons and Zimbabweans are no exception. Most people had a choice to either leave or stay. Some chose to leave and others chose to stay.
There are many Zimbabweans who decided not to leave the country and they are carrying on with their lives.
Many chose to stay and are doing better things than the majority who diced with the diaspora. Nobody is saying that things are easy but life goes on in Zimbabwe. Whatever each individual’s circumstances are, the choice is often theirs to make unless of course if they are children.
It is easy to try and abdicate responsibilities for the consequences of the choices we make to try and blame it all on President Mugabe.
In Zimbabwe there is land to farm, there are opportunities if you exert yourself, and most importantly there is peace.
Most if not all of us have a choice to either stay in our peaceful land called Zimbabwe or move to other parts of the world to face the unknown.

December 2015
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