What the hell is truth – whose truth?


I SAW something every interesting on social media last week, it must have been on Facebook. There was a picture of President Robert Mugabe being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour and the question was around how noble it would have been for Mugabe to retire at age 89.

I was totally blown by the president’s response, which was a question. He asked whether that retirement question was just for him because he was African and whether the interviewer would ask the Queen of England the same question.

Now, I was not focussed on the partisan politics and nuances of the President’s age, retirement and succession drama — no, it was the ideology of it that got me thinking. I immediately began an interrogation of truth and how that relates depending on whether one is black or white, male or female, African or non-African, boy or girl, Christian or Muslim, Zanu PF or MDC and of MDC whether led by Morgan Tsvangirai or Tendai Biti. It is a matter of one’s lived realities and how these interplay with their perception of the world. It is when we decide to hold onto our personal notions of truth that the world becomes chaotic, as we seem to fail to embrace the fact that there could actually be so many truths.


There is currently in my spiritual circles a debate around alcohol consumption — to partake or not to partake is the question. Well, so the debate is centred on what the Bible says in regards to alcohol. Now I have read enough of that Book to learn that it condemns drunkenness in the strongest sense but seems to encourage the sipping of the holy waters.

It also does go on to share aspects of the Christians being sternly warned to stay away from arguments that could lead to unnecessary debates. Well, does it make the drinker and non-drinker any different?

Can somebody please assist by pointing out what drinking or not drinking contributes to the greater good of humanity? Would it not be more sensible to debate issues that would further the goodness of all humanity and not dwell on issues that could lead to division and strife? Do not get me wrong here, I am not condoning any “wayward” behaviour. What I am saying is that what one brother or sister chooses to hold onto as truth is a matter of their personal conviction as truth and when they come together with the same conviction then there is a group of people with similar beliefs.

So what am I saying? There is nothing like black and white in totality sometimes there will be gray areas and depending on who is sharing this truth, it could mean just about anything. What I guess is critical is that we learn to understand that truth can be very fluid from one person to the other.

In order for it to be a semblance of co-existence, we need to understand this and embrace other people, no matter how much we think they are lost. We should be careful to frame our question in such a way that we stimulate conformity alone, sometimes it is critical to know that you might be asked a question in response to your question as the president did on that Christiane Amanpour interview and that alone stimulates healthy debate and insight.

Currently, Zimbabwe is ablaze with the Presidential spokesperson George Charamba — Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo exchanges that have taken the media by storm. Is it I alone or a few years ago one of these fine politicians was in the forefront of leading a statute that controlled the media? Was it Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act? Now the very crusade they led seems to have been thrown out of the window as they explore alternative media. Even now, the powers that be are also attempting to put a plug on the new information and communication technologies. What is my point? Nothing is static, we live in an ever changing world where norms, values, culture and whatever you care to call it are constantly changing.

What was truth yesterday can be something else totally different and sometimes irrelevant. Holding onto something and becoming a social recluse by so doing will not facilitate for a progressive way of being, it will only cause us much pain and damage. Just recently I visited our neighbours in South Africa and was pleased to grab a pair of ripped jeans in my line with fashion sense.

However, the older generation is shocked at how anyone would choose to move around with half-torn clothes when others are looking for clothing. Is it a fashion sense or shear madness on the part of us the younger generation? Who knows, we could both be holding onto what we deem as truth but the generational aspect has eroded it for both of us.

Another notion is language, what I thought was cool jargon in my teens has totally been lost in translation as new words are coined and a new reality emerges. It could even be the notion of activism and how the citizens of Zimbabwe want to see transformation-taking place. Maybe the stone throwing and toyi-toying that our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers utilised are not longer what makes sense. Things do change and nothing remains constant.

My most beloved reader, truth can be rather very fluid. Do what works for you and move on with life that you live to the fullest. A wise English saying notes that one person’s meat is another’s poison so do not be caught up in painful situations that are not worth the light of day.

This is why academics are at pains daily to unpack meaning from all aspects of learning. We learn a new truth with each breath. Zimbabwe needs a generation that will indeed understand the urgent need of diversity and how powerful it is to embrace this notion. As unique as our fingerprints are, is how unique this could be from person-to-person, group-to-group, society-to-society and you name it.

This is a time we explore the truth as we see it, explore how we see things from one angle and share our different thoughts as we explore new ways of transforming this world. When we begin to do this, foreignness becomes foreign and we learn the pleasures of diversity that facilitate for brilliance as we embrace one another’s uniqueness. It could be at home, church, business, political parties and wherever you hail form.

This is a new dawn, a new era that waits each of us to unleash our potential to the greater good of all humanity. So what are we waiting for, now is our time to make a difference and ensure humanity thrives and becomes a force to reckon with? Hold my hand and I hold yours as we jump into the truth as we see it, differently as it might be, it still is truth, not your truth but mine so let each one of us be. Let’s do this!

 Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje writes in her personal capacity and loves stimulating conversation. You can contact Grace on graceruvimbo@gmail.com, follow her on twitter @graceruvimbo Chat soon.