The song Our Zimbabwe was a collective effort of song writers, videographers, producers, and members of the Celebration church to speak as a prophetic voice into the Zimbabwe situation. Birthed in a time of challenge, the concept came to me when I was on a cricket tour of India in the early 2000s and was impressed with the patriotism displayed throughout that great land. With our nation facing increasing polarisation there was a need to change our language and vision by re-inforcing the things that bind us together rather than those that tore us apart. That we needed to speak, peace, harmony and pride in our flag. That we needed to speak of nation building and the Zimbabwe we all desire for ourselves and our children. A great Zimbabwe, not one of ruins.
So in a little bedroom studio in Harare, the seeds of the song were put to paper by a group of song writers, recorded by an amazing producer and a video made in a short time. The song was misunderstood by many who were quick to judge but I hope it’s essence has stood the test of time; the truth being that it always spoke in a non-partisan way about the pride Zimbabweans have in their nation.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the people of Zimbabwe have embraced the song and that ZBC had been playing it as events unfolded in Zimbabwe, having been excluded since my exile. It is very humbling for all of us involved and I hope that even those in the diaspora, scattered across the world will take it to heart.
The last point I would like to make is that the song is called ‘Our Zimbabwe’ and not ‘My Zimbabwe’. There is a nuance there that may be lost, but it needs respecting or else we may revisit uncertain days if anyone thinks of Zimbabwe as exclusively theirs to do with what they wish. The second verse deliberately goes into the first person ( and although it speaks of events that actually unfolded in my own life’s journey ), it stands as a challenge to each and every Zimbabwean to embrace their part in making a stand for their country. A bold, positive and passionate stand to change things for the better. Judging by events that occurred recently, I think Zimbabweans are finding their voice and have done just that. Now the true litmus test going forward is whether each Zimbabwean will head the call and play their part. I know I will if the opportunity arises.
Henry Olonga 2017