Now, I think my thrust mainly is bringing out African thought. I’m very Afrocentric. In my approach, I am not apologetic at all, because my drive is that let those who write stories about Africa be Afrocentric. What I don’t like is for us to be a people in relation to other people overbearing us. But we think we should be a people in reference to our selves. Let African people take the centre-stage and begin to understand their world from their own perspective.Pathisa Nyathi
Here is the concluding part of the Pathisa Nyathi interview… You can find the first part of the interview here.
Our world is both spiritual and material. It becomes a challenge for some people therefore to traverse and transcend the material world and get on to the spiritual world. Only when you do that are you going to appreciate the African. But because they do not understand this, it’s so easy and convenient for them to dismiss everything as being material. Or it is all superstition; then the African is dismissed. As a result, we are not tapping into the wisdom of African from the past generations, and to me that is tragic. That’s the situation. It is a situation that we need to arrest. We need to change, but Africa has to be Afrocentric, push an Afrocentric agenda and not be apologetic about that one. But we need that to come from people themselves, being very spiritual who have Western education. So that they are not going to say, “Ah ha, but you are primitive, you do not have Western education.” It will be done by people who are well educated in the western sense of the word, and also are spiritualists in the African sense. That is the generation that is going to push the African agenda forward.
First, just the word Sanganai-Hlanganani suggests a meeting of people. It’s a market place. This is where we are trading. It’s a traders’ forum. That’s what I understand about it. But what are we trading? People all over the world have an adventurous mind – the degree of adventure may differ. However, we all have that craving in us to see something out of the mundane, out of the ordinary, out of the everyday life. We love that. And to achieve that, we travel. That’s tourism. We travel to have new experiences. Experiences different to those we are exposed to on a daily basis. So what we want to see, we see…
In the past and we see an imbalance here… It has been European countries coming out to Africa, the so called primitive world. In a way they’ve finished off their wildlife, so they’re coming to Africa where Africa has managed until recently to preserve and conserve their heritage, whether natural or cultural. So that gives them exposure. But at Sanganai, you’re bringing people from various parts of the world, so that they get to know the tourism offering that is available in Zimbabwe. So that they can come and partake of that which is rich heritage, Zimbabwe heritage, but which ought to be shared and consumed by other citizens of the world. Here we are thinking of our world heritage sites, cultural and natural. Great Zimbabwe – very cultural 100%. Khami Monument – 100% cultural. Matobo heritage site – 100% cultural. Then we have Mana Pools, we have Victoria Falls – both of them 100% natural. But there’s much more than that beyond these. Our wildlife, people have an interest. We have bird species that are not available elsewhere. Remember, Africa is the cradle of mankind. You want to see those species that have been associated with humanity over the centuries. And then the people themselves.
There was a time when people used to enjoy partaking of the environment, seeking the pristine vegetation, the pristine forest; but now I think we see a change and people want to learn about other people’s experiences. In other words, there is now cultural tourism – what are people doing, their ways of life, their culture, their artefacts, their ceremonies, their rituals, etc. So when we talk tourism, we are going beyond the historical and traditional idea of tourism as it relates to the natural environment. Culture becomes very important, and for us as Zimbabweans – as I said to somebody – we need to reflect that new thrust. That when we have embassies in various parts of the world, we have what I might call cultural attachés, over and above military attachés, economic attachés. That is an important one which will avail our offering – our cultural offering, our natural heritage offering, cultural heritage offering to the people of those countries where we have embassies.
So, here we are at Sanganai, here we are at Hlanganani and bringing the people together “Ba Hlangana, Ba Sangani” as the two words suggest both in Shona and Sindebele – and we are here to share ideas. And we are selling, not so much physical objects, material objects. We are selling ideas. We are selling destinations. We are selling a heritage trade. We are selling pleasure – that’s what we’re selling here and people are here to trade in those non-material items. So this becomes a very important veritable platform for that way.
I think the first thing would be to really commend ZTA. They’ve gone out of there way. They have brought the media persons, for example at Amagugu we had quite a number of these coming from various countries in Africa and beyond – Germany, USA and many other places. Locally Ghana, Nigeria, and then our own local media, which is good. They gave these journalists an opportunity to sample what is on offer in Zimbabwe by way of heritage availability, but also natural heritage – what is available. It was on that basis that they came to Amagugu. You are going to Great Zimbabwe, you’re going to other places. So that you have a rich package. A package that you can sell. The idea is to get people coming here. That has spin-offs. Many people benefit: the tourism industry, those that offer bedding or accommodation, room service, and then those that offer heritage, museums, monuments – all these people stand to benefit. Finally, government itself through taxation, because these people who offer these various facilities are going to pay to government. So it’s a contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) – and that’s what we want. So we really appreciate what ZTA is doing, especially for Zimbabwe growing the gross domestic product of this country. And that translates to national development, economic development, social development. The people are benefiting through the visits of other people through tourism.
My dialect or the language of the people spoken here is Sindebele which is a language which was introduced to this part of the world about 1839 by King Mzilikazi coming form Zulu. So our language is a language of clicks. The Guni language was influenced by clicks from the San people that they found in South Africa. So we came here and brought that language – that’s the language which is spoken in this region, Matabeleland.