|Makombe, Egyptian pyramids, Timbuktu: A paradox|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:51|
You are a villager, and you owe the village because it was the village that made you who you are. We are not excluding those in the Diaspora. They are all villagers.
Despite the comings-in and goings-out of villagers from that humongous place, and notwithstanding my concerns that too many human hours are spent at Makombe at the expense of working the newly acquired land, Makombe Buildings is also in a place of its own.
Although the processes are tedious, we are happy that at Makombe Buildings, they keep records intact.
Let me give a good example. When birth certificates were first introduced, their importance was never explained. In fact, it was seen as a ploy to oppress people and also collect revenue, because they were never issued for free.
Grandmothers said it the way they heard it, and the clerk also wrote it just like that because there were no birth registers. For some people, nicknames ended up as their official names.
Go down the document and when you get to the section, “Mother of child”, and subsection “Maiden surname” you will end up with interesting findings.
Forgive them. They were just providing the information the registrar of births asked for. My conclusion was that because it was a manual and decentralised system, it was difficult to crosscheck in order to produce uniform records in sections like mother’s maiden name.
When most people are incapable of maintaining records like electricity bills and/or pay slips, it is incredible that this place we underestimate so much, sometimes labelling it inefficient, still holds millions and millions of records from many decades ago, and not just records from independent Zimbabwe.
Some day people will appreciate this great work as historians, sociologists, language experts and others use this huge repository for the betterment of this nation, because there are some people who have gone that extra mile to ensure that things work despite problems.
go into getting birth certificates, passports, death certificates and other documents.
We move to Egypt, which seems to be experiencing peace after one and half years of tumultuous protests.
They did not vent their anger on structures that define them — the pyramids or other relics of their estimable history and civilisation. Hoseah Chipanga’s “kwachu-kwachu” (senseless destruction) was not part of their struggle.
Egyptian history, we won’t find pieces of destruction of important relics.
Someone one day will use that information because the crowds did not get carried away and destroy their being — throwing the baby with the bath water.
Never mind that we never really understood its importance and why it was so well renowned, still, we were happy that an old African city had found itself in the pages of history, including primary school history.
Why should the fighting in Mali endanger the historical records that Timbuktu is famed for? Is there any reason under the sun to support the destruction of structures in Timbuktu?
Zimbabwe has had its fair share of internal conflicts, but no one dared destroy the Great Zimbabwe.
If the Islamists destroy Timbuktu, in whose interests are they doing it, because those monuments and their contents are not just Malian, but they are African as well? How many centuries of African being are they destroying?
What they have destroyed and damaged cannot be reconstructed. It is gone, and gone for good.
But, even before Unesco condemned these acts of destruction, Ecowas the regional bloc and the African Union should have seen this coming and taken steps to preserve the ancient city.
Thus I believe that the hard work being done at Makombe Buildings will remain intact — a rich resource for the nation and Africa.