Lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness is a personal goal I have adopted for several years. It was not so for many decades before. I was like most other people who are quick to criticize, not from malice, but from simply seeing something that is wrong. The thought of a bright future, far or near, was not the focus for a long time.
As it were, criticism had also been expressed in quite private settings, usually in intimate or friendly settings. Many can still remember how it was before the internet and social media. I was young then but still understood issues. We would talk about anything and everything only in physical proximity.
Those who are even older than I remember how the Zimbabwe government made rumour-mongering i.e. a gathering of more than 5 people punishable by law. Because even in an authoritarian state, people talk, people criticize, people, go rumour-mongering.
When people are intimidated to limit their freedom to speak their mind, resentment brews very quickly. The frustration builds up and it’s only a matter of time before an implosion, or explosion occurs. It is sad when the only options left for concerned citizens is fearful silence or violent rebellion.
But for a long time, that was all we had, hemmed in by a conservative society or worse – an authoritarian regime which deleted hopes of a bright future for young minds. When countries and their authorities clamp down hard on the creative and technical dynamism of their young, militant dissent has been the patterned response. We saw this happen in Zimbabwe and other various African countries.
However, as peoples and nations go through their respective transitions from centralized to democratic, from conservative to liberal, from fear to aspiration, each will experience the traditional holding on for dear life if the change has already taken root. Some move very fast while others seem as not moving at all. But whatever the pace of change, real change is happening.
It is not driven by personality but rather, it is driven by the new and emerging generations. It is a change whose time has come and nothing can stand in its way and win. It is aided by attrition, by older generations fading fast and new generations continuously coming on stream.
It is important that we understand how evolution expresses itself. It does not mean that we, collectively, cannot influence how evolution unfolds. Of course, we can. Yet, even as we participate, we are not in total control. There is a direction towards which life moves. We dance with evolution.
We have to recognize, though, that evolution is about life, and life is bigger than all of us human beings on earth. If we do not appreciate this, we can unwittingly go against a tidal wave and end up a broken loser, ending up following the pace and tenor of evolution after all.
I address myself to those who are holding on to dreams of a bright – brighter future. Dark and heavy the clouds may be, sunlight is there and sunlight will emerge. Our journey is towards the light, not away from it. If the light is blocked by incidents or personalities, it is temporary.
There is a bigger game in town, the game of the future, a future that seeks the light and will force open the clouds that block it. It is the era of knowledge, of freedom, of innovation. Change is not a passive blob, it is a dynamic wave. The most powerful of which is hinged towards a bright future.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the only ones who can reverse the trend are the new generations who will collectively allow themselves to abdicate their mandate and instead submit to their parent generations. This is, in my opinion, unthinkable, because this generation will go against its very nature.
That is why I will gamble, anytime, on the direction of the younger generations whatever distractions, political, economic or otherwise, get in the way. I know there are many of them. They never block any evolution led by the fresh thinking of the young, expressed most graphically by technological advances and a more radical mindset advancing towards a bright future.
What I see is a strong bias for a bright future. All the more when I see the ugliness and darkness in our surroundings, I see only a desperate struggle of the fading past to maintain dominance and control. I am not even unduly optimistic; I am simply endowed with a context of the past which contained even more ugliness and darkness.
I see a process by which change transformed the past, transforms the present, and surely will bring about a future that is closer to the human angst for relief from pain, the human dream for that which is better, a bright future. Perhaps, you will call me naive but how else, then, can there be no bias for the future?