What I want as a Zimbabwean youth

Daphne Jena reflects on her own wishes as a young Zimbabwean. 

Zanu PF women's league members sing and dance

Zanu PF women’s league members sing and dance

I want something different, I want an experience I can speak from. I don’t want to be a sinner, but I want to eat the forbidden fruit.

In my world, it is taboo for a young person to be in a position of influence, but this year I want to break the spell. I want that which is only for the privileged. I want to be the privileged one. I want power.

I don’t want to be woken up at 2am in the morning to start a 400km journey in order to arrive in time for your rally happening in a town far from my village.

More than fifteen thousand supporters gather to hear President Robert Mugabe speak at an election rally in Banket, Zimbabwe, 24 June 2008

More than fifteen thousand supporters gather to hear President Robert Mugabe speak at an election rally in Banket, Zimbabwe, 24 June 2008

Despite an early morning, I don’t want to shake my waist and dance to the discord of the drum and the rattles, combined with disorganised ululations just before you start your speech- which I will sleep through.

Political clichés

I don’t want to be part of the crowd that will make the world believe that each time you utter your political clichés our lives come to a halt. The old rhetoric is quite sickening.

I don’t want him to end up fighting on your behalf, only to receive a container full of that smelly opaque beer that he will share with two or three others.

Besides having to cook and prepare the meal for you and your whole delegation, I also don’t want my brother to be on the lookout for your imaginary enemies.

I don’t want him to end up fighting on your behalf, only to receive a container full of that smelly opaque beer that he will share with two or three others.

Please allow me to be, and refuse to cheer and clap at every syllable that will come out of your mouth in the name of an important address.

I don’t want to pretend to approve of all the nonsense you are going to be churning out in between sips of mineral water, while the rest of us roast under the scorching sun with smelly armpits and sweaty foreheads.

Just for this one day, I want that which you share amongst yourselves. That which I hear is for the veterans.

We want it too

I want to be one sitting at the back of a black Mercedes with two motorbikes flanking me at very great speed.

I want to be the one who should not touch door handles, the one whose way is opened and cleared 30 minutes before arrival.

I promise I won’t get too comfortable and refuse to go, it will just be for one day.

I want to know the other side of politics. I want to know how it felt, back in 2008, when you sat inside the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) and signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

I want to know how it felt to sign on behalf of the rest of us, who stood outside anticipating to be called in to help in the decision making process. Only to be told that we were just there to provide moral support.

I want to know how it feels to sit behind locked pine doors for hours, knowing that millions of people are holding their breaths waiting to hear how the meeting ended.

Being in control when people are pleading with me not to pass that law for once in my life, is all I ask for.

I want to feel more important than just a mere Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) election observer, who will get nothing but a meal allowance and a t-shirt only meant to last for the duration of the election period.

Mobilising people for a gathering with an unknown agenda is no longer as exciting, since it has not got me anywhere near the August House.

Ideology

Reminding people about the party’s ideologies has got me nothing besides fake acknowledgement from my better off friends, who got themselves college degrees and are working abroad.

Organising the distribution of the party’s regalia has got me so busy I even forgot to put my name on the waiting list of housing stands.

At least I got to have t-shirts in all colours and grabbed a few wrappers for almost all my aunts, but I want something different for youth day.

This year I want real power just for 24 hours. I want to be in parliament and pass laws, I want to be consulted before the national budget is compiled and announced, I want to decide how much my mother will have to pay the next time she visits the hospital.

I want to decide whether I will have a job after the 24 hours in power.

In honour of this year’s Youth Day please allow me to be in charge just for one day, is that too much to ask for?

Very passionate about the voice of the ordinary person, Daphne Jena is an ordinary young female African who likes to use her skills to articulate on big matters. A journalist by training and passion, she enjoys blogging on governance, youth and women’s rights issues.
She believes the best stories are told from the experiences of the ordinary person. An alumni of number of leadership fellowships, she volunteers for a number of women’s organisations.

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