The Brits could learn from the Zulus

2010-03-06 00:00

IN the past, I have maintained that with South Africa having put its apartheid past behind it, there is a serious need for psychological counselling as the remnants of apartheid are still deeply entrenched in the psyche of both the perpetrators and the victims. If counselling is not made use of, the ghosts of the past will continue to haunt us in one form or another.

This takes me to the United Kingdom where South African President Jacob Zuma and his entourage touched down for a state visit. There is a lot of rich history between the two nations and, for the Zulus, none is more memorable than Impi yaseSandlwana.

As for the Boers who were the government of the day, Great Britain colonised them, effectively colonising the disenfranchised Africans living in South Africa, hence the Anglo-Boer War.

Decades have come and gone and we are in the 21st century and the English still treat us as their colony. I say this because there is still a tendency on their part to prescribe what is good for us as Africans, even though they have very limited knowledge of who we are and how we live our lives.

To them, that which is English is fair and that which is foreign, specifically African or Zulu, is foul.

Using what point of reference, I ask?

One cannot and should not use one’s own point of reference to analyse or pass judgment on a concept that is foreign. Just because I prefer drinking porridge in the afternoon does not mean I should ridicule afternoon tea.

I challenge the English to take up an interest in things African, to understand Africans and live among Africans with no intention of passing judgment. I would have been very interested to hear what the late historian David Rattray would have had to say on a lot of things which are deemed “barbaric and outdated”.

Prince Charles was in a polygamous “marriage” within weeks of his marriage to Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales. Clearly, it does take more than two to tango. Like Tiger Woods, perhaps he should have borrowed from the “barbaric” Zulu king.

If that which is English is holy, how is this reconciled with the catastrophic results of his infidelity, as they view it?

Lady Diana, as a result, went on secretive promiscuous escapades of her own with a few gentlemen and this culminated in her relationship with businessman Dodi Al Fayed, with deadly results, literally.

Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Ashley Cole are embroiled in extra-marital affairs and for Terry, this has rattled not only his football club but also the national team. Talk about captain Terry leading from the front.

As difficult as it may be for the English to accept, they can learn from the “inferior and barbaric” Zulus, especially in the field of multi-tasking. Just like at Sandlwana, we taught them a lesson in the art of war and they should humble themselves and learn from us again. Perhaps the English should borrow from the works of their own William Shakespeare: Fair is foul and foul is fair.

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