In the past few weeks, I have been struggling deeply with betrayal. I had a very dear friend of mine with whom I thought we shared a deep and mutual friendship. However, I recently discovered how treacherous my friend is as a human being. I have since gone through all the motions of grief as defined by Kubler-Ross, ranging from denial to anger, to bargaining, to depression and now acceptance.

As I reflected on my experience, Zimbabwe and its people came to mind; it is almost the same loss we each have experienced at different times. We are a people who have suffered loss – we elect, or maybe made to think we have elected a government to lead us on all our behalf only to be brutally betrayed at very many levels.

However, this is not a sad song writing, it is an insightful expression of how we can each cope with our loss as we do our very best to keep afloat and live our lives to as near normal as possible.

It is about making a choice to become a friend to the next person during these hectic times in Zimbabwe.

Denial

Sometimes it is unthinkable that we have had one president for the past 37 years when other countries keep changing their presidents. With the same presidency has come a certain narrative we cannot even fathom like how we are addressed during rallies by our leaders and so on. Utterly unbelievable, right? Well, it is what it is and no matter what we think or feel, let us remind ourselves that if we register to vote, who knows maybe one day we shall indeed overcome. Whatever we chose to do, denial of the current realities will not help us transform the status quo.

Anger

It angers each of us how much we have been short changed by the leadership we have. Honestly, how do we each work so bloody hard throughout the month and yet fail to get the salary from the bank one has entrusted to keep that money? How do systems fail the way they have in Zimbabwe? Well, yes, we are angry but let us not let emotions cloud our judgment …. it could be worse. May our anger drive us to go register to vote and then vote when the time comes. Our anger should push us into action. Hold local leaders accountable, do something positive fuelled by your anger – after all anger can be a great source of motivation when we seriously commit to it!

Bargaining

I recall thinking that maybe I could negotiate with my friend just like we as Zimbabweans think we can negotiate our way through our lives. We hustle and bustle as we attempt a near normal life that is good. However, we should also learn to bargain in understanding that our lives are messy and in that messiness, we should explore making it work for ourselves because truth be told these leaders care only for themselves. We bargain how we want our lives to be. We stand collectively and redefine what Zimbabwe should be and should represent. It is us who can do that for the sake of our sanity – we bargain, bargain, bargain!

Depression

Loss leads to a peculiar depression that one can never explain. It could be loss of your job, life, loved one or any form. So as Zimbabweans, let us choose to be compassionate with one another understanding that our current reality needs each of us to carry the burden for the other. No selfishness should prevail but absolute love, care, and concern for fellow Zimbabwean because this depression is real as we manoeuvre life.

Acceptance

As I learn to live each day with the reality that I have lost a beloved friend, life is difficult and painful. But guess what? It is what it is. So yes, we are the ones with a political leadership that seems to be in sixes and sevens but, we can still choose to accept our reality and yet also choose to stand up to create the kind of narrative we want to experience not just for us, but for future generations too. It is possible to accept the current narrative and choose to accept that we can do something about what we currently face. We choose to accept too, that we are each other’s keepers.

Loss is a very sad experience. It is however also a time when one can choose to explore and embrace new possibilities as you painfully forge ahead redefining narratives that could lead to a newness we never imagined. Zimbabwe is in a crisis at many levels but let us choose to embrace the beauty for ashes. You may never become the president or a political leader, but you can choose today to live each breath with love, care, concern, and compassion for fellow Zimbabweans.

We do not have to keep choosing negativity even in our toughest circumstances. We can choose to exude positivity even in our own depressed states. Is it easy? Never, but we make choices daily that make a difference for others and us. Be the change that Zimbabwe urgently needs today – be the friend I lost.

Let’s do this!

Source: Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje

Facebook: Grace Chirenje
Twitter: @graceruvimbo