Asante Sana Mr President
Afa Anaka is a Shona Proverb whose literal translation “The dead become good” loosely translates to “Do not speak ill of the dead”
In the Shona culture, the dead join the ranks of the ancestors along with the other departed and so earning a form of reverement in which people choose to remember and celebrate the good and not dwell too much on the short-comings of the deceased. In death, one becomes good as people refrain from voicing out the misdeeds, at least not loudly and publically out of sympathy, respect and maybe a shaky sort of truce. After all the dead seem to have no worries at least none that we the living can fully comprehend.
Saying wafa wanaka is a statement that embodies how the dead are now free from the burdens of life and regardless of the life of they lived, are at peace in the mystery that is the next life.
Our former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe died today, 6 September 2019 born 21 February 1924, he was 95.
Once upon a time it was said that he would rule, even from the grave; making it feel like we could never be free of his hold on power.
I woke up today to news of his death.
My exact sentiments over his passing are not clear cut. Having been my president for over 30 years of my life from childhood me who grew up when he was revered a great hero and could not wait to meet him, to grown up me who could not wait for him to die. Death seemed not to come swift enough for him while it did for many under his reign, I imagined I would have a party at his funeral celebrating the freedom from his unending rule.
Once he was asked on BBC interview when he was going to say goodbye to the people of Zimbabwe, he made the classic response “Where are they going?“
For awhile it seemed he was immortal, still around several death hoaxes/announcements later like a die hard nemesis from a horror movie, that keeps coming back. Even during the coup that was said to be not a coup I half-expected him to suddenly clench his trademark fist defiant to the end.
A revolutionary leader, a freedom fighter, a liberator, a tyrant, a dictator
The man has left a complicated legacy steeped in controversy, hailed a hero by some, witnesses to his misdeeds are less forgiving but how do we weigh out how it all balances the good, the bad and the inevitable.
His legacy is inseparable from the ruin that plagues us now and the monsters his regime created.
In a way the divisions this country faces and the way people bear down their opinions on others and not allowing divergent views feels a remnant from the tyrant’s divide and conquer Modus Operandi. We too busy fighting each other instead of being a united front to tyranny.
I remember the time I tuned in to the news to hear a press conference in which the late former president was supposed to read his resignation speech but instead after a rambling speech he bid the nation goodnight
He has made his final goodnight, love him or hate him, he is forever a part of our history, the good and the bad and the night he helped spawn.
And now his
error era is over Asante Sana Good Night Mr president