Tomorrow is New Year’s Day and there is excitement all over the world as people plan to celebrate the last moments of 2010.
That day marks the beginning of a new calendar year and is the day on which the year count of the specific calendar used is incremented.
In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner. When I was growing up in Kitwe, Zambia, New Year’s Day was marked by hitting of metal bins and fireworks shooting into the atmosphere. The same I am told also happens here, especially in high-density suburbs.
Some of the reasons why plastic bags for refuse were introduced were because council had discovered a massive loss of metal bins every year on New Year’s Day.
Honking and hooting of car horns also punctuated the celebrations as the clock hour hand ticked a few moments after midnight.
We would gather as family, with uncles and aunts who would declare their New Year’s resolutions, some repeated over the years.
A New Year’s resolution is a commitment to a personal goal that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.
The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day.
Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive or to kick out certain habits like heavy drinking and smoking.
Some popular resolutions include losing weight, improving finances, getting out of debt, and improving education and so many others.
We would always laugh whenever one of our uncles, a heavy drinker of alcohol, would swear by his mother’s totem that he would stop drinking as a New Year’s resolution.
The last time he said so, he was so drunk that he could hardly stand on his two feet.
He woke up the following morning with a bad headache and the next thing he wanted to take was another beer. He had never fulfilled that resolution for the years that I had known him.
New Year’s Day is also a victorious moment for everyone. This is because some never make it into the New Year.
Last year, some fella from Highfield was hit by a car as he was trying to catch a lift to the city centre where he was expected to meet his friends who had invited him for a New Year’s Day celebration bash at a local hotel.
He died just before midnight, plunging those celebrations into a funeral. New Year’s Day is a day that people reflect on the past year and make plans to make the coming year a much more favourable one.
Another person in Mbare died after he had taken too much kachasu (an illicit brew) on New Year’s Day 2010. Movement from one year to the other is not guaranteed at all and this is because life is unpredictable.
New Year’s Day generally brings hope for the better as we all want to brush the previous year which may have been filled with sad events.
There is a family I know in Bulawayo that lost three sons within a week from separate accidents a couple of years ago between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
That is what we call a curse. A curse strikes when things seem to be moving in the right direction just like what seemed to have been happening with these three young men.
They were all university graduates holding good jobs in South Africa, Botswana and Malawi, driving the latest 4x4s, unmarried, no children and fate seemed to have destined them to sign off Mother Earth leaving their parents in deep grief.
Never take life for granted for we are all living on borrowed time.
This family has never enjoyed the festive season for the past seven years as it is a constant reminder of those three deaths which were so sudden.
I am actually amazed as to how they have managed to carry on with their life without these three men. They were so full of life with so much hope for their future.
But we also have people who experienced grace and sufficiency in 2010 who are looking forward to another year of abundance.
I know of people whose salaries improved for the better, bought homes and cars. Harare at the moment is so congested with traffic because of the many Hararians who now own cars.
This is why I found utterances a Cabinet minister who said this week that 2011 would be a bad year for Zimbabwe, rather unwelcome.
Why is he so pessimistic? There is so much power in words and Zimbabweans are generally people who are quick to speak negatively about their own country.
The reason why Zimbabwe is failing to wriggle out of its problems is largely because we have prophesied bad things about this nation with our own mouths.
The Bible in Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” and indeed we are reaping the fruits of our loose mouth.”
In Proverbs 21:23 the Bible says: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”
Frankly speaking, apart from the politics of this country which seem to be running in circles, there has been a general improvement in the living standards of the general population.
This was evidenced by the general bright looks on people’s faces and the optimism that they projected throughout the year.
Zimbabweans have for the past 10 years led a life that is sub-standard leading to mass exodus of many of our professionals, but we have to speak positively about our situation even when it looks hopelessly hopeless.
I was so amazed at the number of messages I received from my country folk that are dotted around the world during Christmas time. These highly skilled personnel want to come back home.
A Zimbabwean working in Botswana also called me yesterday saying he would love to come back home and join everybody else in rebuilding Zimbabwe.
Home is never home away from home.
Coming back to New Year’s resolutions, it is my fervent hope that Zimbabwe will speak with one voice so that it encourages investment opportunities that will attract both locals and foreigners to restart the industry in this country which is yet to rise from its coma.
This would enable Zimbabwe to lure back its citizens that are dotted all over the world, making those economies tick for the better.
The church needs healing first before healing can cascade to other facets of the economy.
For as long as the church is operating in a fragmented fashion, this country will not realise its healing as anticipated.
A couple of years ago, a church minister confessed that he had been praying for death of some political leaders. He said this at a New Year’s Eve church service, a matter that really shocked everyone that was in attendance.
Can you believe that a man of the cloth wanted death to befall people from a certain political party? Yes, I heard about this pastor who has since migrated to Europe.
For as long as the church is divided along political lines, healing will not be experienced in this country.
The church has let Zimbabwe down and this is something we all should bear in mind as we move from 2010 to 2011.
Yet while the scandal of disunity persists it does not relieve us of our responsibility to practice the unity that is God’s gift to us.
Let us all pray for a God-fearing nation as we get ushered into the mysteries of 2011. I also wish to take this opportunity to wish you a blessed 2011 that will unleash your greatness.