The name of this column — Déjà vu — came naturally because I am a great admirer of the ancient philosopher Plato, who in a sense believed that there is nothing new on earth.
Déjà vu with Kamurai Mudzingwa
Even our souls had always been in existence before, according to this great man, and what we call the acquisition of knowledge is simply reminding our souls about things they knew before they became embodied in the human form.
That is why, for instance, we sometimes have the feeling of having been to certain places before or the feeling that we have met certain people before etc, in typical déjà vu fashion. This, to me, is reinforced in the Bible when it is written that there is nothing new under the sun. From the Revised Standard Version we read: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, there is nothing new under the sun” (ECC 1:9).
Everything is a repetition of what has been done before or what was seen before. The hero in my all time favourite book — The thousand and one nights of Jean Macaque by Stuart Cloete — cynically tells a prostitute who had bragged about her prowess in bed that she could not offer him anything new in sex because it is something so ancient there can’t be anything new in the act.
Macaque argues that even if the act is performed between animal skins (as our ancestors used to), in the grass or between silky sheets it remains the same ancient act. If we look, for instance, at the corruption in modern day society by our rulers, we can see the truth of what the ancient Jewish prophet Samuel foretold when the Jews pressured him to appoint a king to rule them like what was happening in all their neighbouring nations.
The old and wise prophet warned in 1 Samuel 8:10 (Holy Bible International version): “This is what the king who will reign over you will do; He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
Your menservants and your maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.” Looking at what is happening in the world today we can agree that these ancient words describe the modern ruler so aptly that they evoke a sense of déjà vu.
Those who grew up during the colonial period will remember how a white man called Ian Douglas Smith ruled this country in a racist manner that backfired. He is well known for UDI, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the colonial womb called Britain. What is funny to me is that Smith, in the colonial situation that gave him power, mistook isolation for sovereignty, a sin that is so tempting we have had our modern rulers threatening to break away from certain strategic alliances like Sadc and others in this global world.
Technology, networks and new needs have smashed political dichotomy into smithereens. The global network has become so intricate that a friend of a friend has become the friend of your sworn enemy.
Here is the catch: No one can survive outside that intricate global web. But we are already years out of the Commonwealth for our own bad. Smith also created an oligarchy comprising a few whites (about 5% of the total population). Informed by racist thinking, he disenfranchised the other 95% of the population that was black. This, obviously, backfired. The man was clever enough to create industry to produce home-made goods to circumvent sanctions imposed on the country due to UDI. But he failed to see that he had no market for the goods.
He could not export much and the 95% component of his population had no money since they were not part of his oligarchy. So here was a man who could not make money out of his stock. And worse still, here was a man who created resentment against him in the thousands, if not millions comprising the disenfranchised 95%.
It is this resentment that grew the seeds of his overthrow from power.
Now isn’t this the same scenario today where we see a few who belong to the post-colonial oligarchy grabbing resources for personal gain leaving the rest poor and jobless? Isn’t it ironic that these same people have businesses whose market should be the very same poor people? Can their businesses survive? I doubt it. Are they not resented like Smith for their actions? Isn’t this another case of déjà vu?
The man called Smith and his friends sent their children to the best schools named Group A schools where they tried to emulate the Western system of education.
They gave us schools that had poor education facilities and they did not care a hoot. Interestingly, our oligarchy has perfected this art; now they send their children to schools in foreign, Western countries. T
he majority in this country now have access to the former Group A school and in typical Smith logic, they bring with them “the curse of the black man”. So why not migrate to Europe for education?
The list of such parallels is endless, but the point is that if we take what we see today in light of what was happening before, we cannot help, but experience a sense of déjà vu.
In short, today is just yesterday.