Battles are won by men and women of physical, mental and moral mettle. They are fought in the trenches and the mind. The battles of the trenches are easier because the enemy is easily identifiable.
It is an enemy with a weapon, ready to kill or maim you and your rational response is to fight back, kill or be killed.
That battle is physically lost or won. It is a transient battle. There is usually a definite winner or loser at the end of it. It is the battle of the mind from which it is most difficult to emerge victorious.
It takes time and endurance. It is the hardest, especially so in Africa, a continent that bears the still-fresh physical and mental scars of slavery, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.
The work of freeing the mind from these disabling mental shackles is arduous, frustrating and an ongoing process. The scars of slavery and colonialism are difficult to erase.
Pre-independence nostalgia is a form of historical amnesia and wilful ignorance of the nature of colonialism as well as the successes we have enjoyed post-independence, despite our growing pains as Africans generally and as Zimbabweans specifically.
It is also a dearth of vision about the future and an unwillingness to forge a uniquely African psyche that entrenches this colonial mindset.
It is unfortunate and disappointing that some among us as Africans whose forebears suffered the twin evils slavery and colonialism in fact prefer the paternalism of that system that bonded, displaced and deprived them of the hard task of nation-building.
But then those are the clutches that colonialism still has over the African mind, psyche and imagination which severely limit the potential to thrive independently.
The continued presence and the delays in the healing of these mental and physical scars gives rise to a paralysed colonial mindset.
The colonial mindset is a form of conceptual confinement that is a result of the after effects of imperialism and colonisation.
This is the colonisation of the mind, a subjugation of consciousness and it has a near-impenetrable permanency.
This is a mindset that lacks self-confidence, self-belief and has a low self-esteem of own ability to thrive without the former coloniser.
There are self-loathing traits and racial insecurity, all byproducts of colonisation and slavery. The work is to dismantle that completely and entirely for future African generations to thrive and realise genuine and full development outcomes.
This is a fractured mindset that overvalues and overestimates everything by the former enslavers, captors and colonisers.
There is a clear rejection of blackness, a belittling of African culture and identity in exchange for a supposedly “superior Western culture”.
There is a condition called the Stockholm syndrome, which is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors to the point of defending them.
The victims become emotionally attached to their captors. The colonial mindset presents symptoms indicative of this syndrome.
There are often indications of a low self-esteem and an inferiority complex.
This is what forms the hard shell that makes it nearly impossible to dismantle the manacles of this mindset.
It makes victims reject any intervention to reverse the process and they even fight against those attempting to help them break those mental chains.
The colonial mindset puts limits on the African victims and their potential.
The manacles of the colonial past induce doubt and self-pity. It fosters a dependency syndrome, it makes those afflicted develop self-hate.
The victims will fight against any efforts to deconstruct that disastrous and debilitating mindset.
That low confidence and low self-esteem will forever keep the African overly dependent on those who displaced and subjugated them.
The battle has always been to change that mindset to enable Africa and the African to thrive.
This is what PanAfricanists the likes of Robert Mugabe, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and others have always emphasised and continue to emphasise. Throughout history these are the battles of the mind that PanAfricanists have fought. The chokehold of the colonial mindset continues to hold back genuine and meaningful African progress. This has always been the case until Africa’s finest son entered the scene.
Where every other PanAfricanist has fallen short, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has succeeded and lived to tell the tale.
President Mugabe did what no other African country could ever do, that is make Zimbabwe the only country in Africa where the indigenous peoples own the country’s means of production entirely.
This is a country that is owned by Zimbabweans not by some offshore owners who sit on yachts smoking cigars and draining the country of its resources.
Robert Mugabe is Africa’s greatest visionary, dead or alive.
Here is a man who can only be described as the last outpost and final frontier for African economic self-determination.
He represents real hope for total economic emancipation of the African continent that is meaningful for present and future generations.
This is a continent that was too hasty to settle just for political independence minus the economic independence and to this date continue to feel the impact of neglecting to push for economic independence.
President Mugabe, the man is a visionary and his ideas are finding a permanent home in the minds of Africans.
This is a major breakthrough in the battle of the mind to challenge and disassemble that colonial mindset. This colonisation of consciousness poses a huge stumbling block to genuine African progress.
The continent appears to have frozen in time in terms of development and progress.
Robert Mugabe has fought a tenacious battle to end the slave-master dynamics which are the by-product of colonialism.
These are dynamics created long-term dependency and subordination even many years after countries attained independence.
The battle to deconstruct this colonisation of consciousness starts with an outright rejection of an inferiority complex.
Only Mugabe alone can tell the former colonisers exactly where to go at any platform without fear or favour. He has completely wrestled control of the means of production from the former colonisers in a radical way, probably never to be repeated on the continent.
What separates Robert Mugabe from the rest is his principled leadership stance, commitment and consistency. His approach might have unsettled some elites who are the biggest victims of this colonial mindset but the fact remains that the battle of the mind is being won. Challenging the skewed colonial relationships and dynamics of yesteryear is not racist but rather a necessity.
The clutch of colonialism still controls much of the African continent’s psyche.
The work of pan Africanists like Mugabe is an ongoing process. It is unfortunate that today, the main apologists for colonialism are Africans themselves.
You often hear them make claims that white rule was better and you know it is that colonial mindset kicking in.
The Mugabe ideas have however created a gatekeeper mentality to preserve and protect the political, social and economic gains of independence.
It is a moral copout, a lack of belief in one’s own people, and a sign of deep inferiority to endlessly believe that our most critical institutions can only be well run by our erstwhile colonisers. Mugabe demystifies that myth. Definitely Africa’s finest son.