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1981-2020: Does life really begin at 40? - In memory of Zimbabwe's Uhuru

14 Apr 2020 at 22:38hrs | Views
Siboza Business Centre my homeland
There is a lovely road that leads from Zvishavane going South to Shurugwi and finally to Gweru. That road leads you past some small but beautiful hills from which the name of the town comes. Formerly called Shabani which was a corrupted name of Zvishava...derived from what one sees from a distance, the hills look red (zvikomo zvishava/intaba ezibobvu).

The colour red in local language. This is a very beautiful sight during summer just like the maple leaf in Canada and the Jacarandas in Bulawayo. As you drive down that road, at the six (6) kilometre peg is a very progressive growth point called Siboza under the administration of the Runde Rural District Council. Since the early eighties, the area has been and remains very progressive with great infrastructure.

As far as I know, it was the first to have a rural piped water scheme in 1981 due to the late progressive Governor of the Midlands, Cde Cephas George Msipa's influence and initiative. The main business entrepreneur there is Mr Jabulani Magidivana and Mrs Feluna Nyoni who have run those businesses together and won numerous awards. There are also other local entrepreneurs forming the business complex for years. Within the vicinity or a radius of two kilometres is a massive mine of quarry stone (like the Davis Granite in Bulawayo). The Nyonis own this business as well.

A kilometre from the growth point going South, is a simply built beautiful homestead to the left pretty too close to and very much adjacent to the highway that proceed to Shurugwi-Gweru. That is the Dube residence.  Twenty kilometres from this homestead along the road is the turn off to His Excellence, the Head of State and commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence forces, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. From that turn off (kwaMzondiwa) you then proceed to the dreaded boterekwa and finally you reach Shurugwi town. The distance between Shurugwi and Gweru is approximately 35 km.

Back to the homestead at Siboza under Chief Masunda, is where I was born and bred exactly fifty-seven years ago on May 5th. I am a beneficiary of the post-Independence education for all policy. Having been abruptly stopped going to school in 1975 after completing grade 7, I found myself unable to proceed to the next level: General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O' Level) due to the then prohibitive white man's education systems. I was relegated to go to my uncle's place to herd my parents' cattle for two years before I found a job as a gardener in the then affluent suburb of Birth Day, one of the suburbs where the rich Shabani mine workers lived. A very nice Jehovah's Witness young couple employed me for two years (1978-1979) before they fled to the then apartheid Zuid Afrika at the pronouncement of the pending independence after the Lancaster House talks. I then became jobless and moved to Gweru where l got another job as a gardener. Those that know Gweru, just next to Midlands Hotel was/is a shop operated by KG Chapener.

They employed me for a good 3 months before I was fired on March 25th, 1980. I then would wake up every morning and go hunting for part-time employment at Bata Shoe Company where I thought I would get employed. During the night I would accompany my uncle (now late - Fikizolo Ganyani) a great lead guitarist during his days at Mpambadzire Night club.  He taught me how to drink Castle lager beer and Go-Beer, the local traditional brew in Gweru. I could not cope with the castle brand type of beer, it was too bitter for me, so I resorted to Go-Beer. I remember very clearly the announcement by the late first President of the Republic of Zimbabwe (Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe) saying that "those that were disadvantaged by the white man's educational system should go back to school because the government had mooted an Education policy for all."

I did not hesitate; I packed up my suitcase and told my uncle that I was going back to school. He thought I was crazy.  Come August 1980, I was back at Siboza, at the Dube homestead. I enquired about my possibilities of being enrolled for Form one for the next year 1981.

By virtue of Siboza's proximity to the town of Zvishavane, the war of liberation was not too intense, but the surrounding mountainous areas of Vaka villages, Mbilashaba, Mapanzure, Utongani, Zvegona, De-beers and the underlying areas of Dadaya Mission area (Bannock bun) areas had skirmishes of battles and sometimes very fierce battles where lives were lost. Our nearest base was at Makwasha area, where we would go and spend the night with the comrades. My brothers and I had done some war-collaboration with the comrades, during the 1975-77 period before l went to my uncle's homestead where I was a herd boy.  

When I went to inquire about registration, as I was told by the headmaster (the late Mr Benjamin Mhlanga).  He was a very honest and understanding old man, who had a fatherly heart.

He told me that I was a very disciplined young boy who was going to be admitted straight into Form one. Those young man of my age that were harassing teachers and extorting their hard-earned cash during the war period were known in the community, so they were asked to go back to Grade seven so that they could reform before going into Form 1.

January 13th, 1981, I started my Form 1 at Siboza Primary School which was housing the first Upper-top Secondary Schools that were introduced due to the new Educational policy at independence. I was immediately appointed the Head boy of the school. For four years 1981-1984, I was the head boy at this Upper top Secondary School.

During our Collaboration (oMjibha) days with the comrades for the war of liberation, we were introduced to Marijuana (mbanje) by the Senior War collaborators (oMjibha abadala) who told us that if we were to be brave and stronger and not fear anything in war, even fear of death, "smoke the drug." We were told, if we were to be strong war collaborators, we need to be high on the drug.  I initially had my juvenile cough during the first days, but later it was business as usual. I started my Form 1 and was very close to one of the young man, who was two years younger than I, Colin was his name. He is now the late.  I discovered that Colin was smoking dagga during break times. I had since stopped smoking when I had gone herding cattle at my uncle's homestead and when I saw Colin smoking, I was reminded of the ‘good old days' of smoking that I had once "enjoyed."  So I asked him if I could join him during his escapades. He tipped me and we would do that every other break-time and immediately after school.

I am born from a family of 8, five sisters and three boys. My brother (the one I come after) was a veteran in the game of smoking. He teamed up with my other brothers from my father's elder brothers (uncles). Unfortunately, one of those brothers died from a road traffic accident in Bulawayo, while he was high on the drug post-independence. When they saw that I was back in joining them smoking the weed, they were very happy.

The six of us as the Dube brothers would "enjoy ourselves" and smoke in intervals at the Siboza Business Centre,

Does life really start at 40?
Mentioning 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or probation. During Moses' life he lived forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert before God selected him to lead his people out of slavery. Zimbabwe turns 40 years on April 18th 2020 having been tried and tested.  Have we passed the probation period?  I would like to believe that my life started at the age of 18 years old and not at 40 years. On 18 April 1981, the mega fest winning business entrepreneur Mr JM Nyoni decided to tie the knot with his lovely wife (Felina) on 18 April 1981.

Their homestead is exactly 4 kilometres from their business empire, while our homestead is in between their business empire and their homestead. Accordingly, we were invited as nephews to the wedding. The same day was going to be a great day for the community.  What a way to celebrate our first independence. We were to celebrate in style at the wedding. I remember vividly getting ready and wearing my nice clothes and heading to the Business Centre where I hooked up with my brothers in readiness to go to the wedding reception of the Nyoni family. My late brother (the one who died in Bulawayo) brought all of us, the six of us behind the business shops and they rolled five cigarettes of marijuana. So we started smoking.  This meant that everyone would be having a cannabis cigarette smoking, except one who would sip water waiting for his next turn. It was heavy smoking and the drug was very strong.

After smoking we then went back to the shops and started dancing to the music before we decided to walk to the wedding venue. I started seeing my world doing the round and going around. I was losing it! I had some balls of mbanje in my pocket. I remember taking them out right in the shop and saying to one of my brothers, "Take this, what is it?" I queried why I had to keep it. My brother dashed towards me and secretly took the balls (twists) and walked me outside and cautioned me. I then left for the wedding.  I had to pass through our home. On the road, it was all drama. I was stopping every vehicle.  

Remember this is a high-way and a busy road. I then turned and went to our house instead of proceeding to the wedding. My mother immediately saw that I was a different person, so she took me to our hut and asked me to stay there before my father had seen what was happening. Unfortunately, he had already seen me. Right in the hut on our bed, I was hallucinating. All the horror movies that you can think of were running through my mind. I was shouting for help and asking for food, water and literally everything, there was confusion and pandemonium.

My father left and went straight to the wedding.  He immediately looked for my brother (the one I come after) and he asked him: "What have you done to my son?"  He also was high on the drug, but he managed to come back home to check on me. He found me fast asleep, in deep sleep and left without talking to me. He went back to Dad and told him that I was fine and asleep while my mother kept an eye on me. The same day toward late afternoon, I was getting a bit of recollection of myself but still I was drunk. My mother told me that she brought some round nuts (nyimo/indlubu) for me to eat.  Those that know how to eat round-nuts, one must peel them before eating, but she told me that I ate them whole, no pealing at all. She was scared and regretted why she had given me round-nuts. I was later given water to bath and refresh. Only then did I start to regain my consciousness and started to recollect the day's proceedings. I missed the wedding. I never saw it but was only told how beautiful it was.

Father-Son-Talk Helped Me from substance abuse
The following day my father sat me down. We had a father-son-talk. He told me that substance abuse was not going to help me realise my dream and destiny.  He was very polite with me. He was a drinker himself, but he warned me about it. He asked me and I remember the conversation very well up to this day. He said to me:"If you intend to pursue education as you said you would, then you better stop this business of smoking mbanje and drinking beer."He explained to me that if I abstained from these things, I would be focused on my studies and then with all the years ahead of me, I would enjoy drinking and smoking after I had attained my education.  Then the condition was: If I chose to continue drinking and smoking, then he was not going to pay for my school fees. He would withdraw me from school and I would either go work at Shabani Mine or the Siboza Quarry.  I weighed the options. Straight away, I chose school ahead of drugs and beer. The nineteenth of April 1981 was my last day to taste beer and smoke the weed until today.

I became focused on my studies.  I told Colin that I was not going to smoke any of that stuff again. He laughed and thought I was kidding. I had got a lesson from my Dad.  He died in July 1995 from prostate cancer.  I still cherish his advice.  That is what he caused me to inherit. Rest In Peace my old man. We sat for our Zimbabwe Junior Certificate Examination (ZJC) in Nov 1982 and I passed with great units. This pleased my father who had not used the rod to bring me on track.  Back at school as the head-boy, I was entrusted with the keys to the whole school.  I would lock all the classrooms after school and open the classrooms every morning.  

There was a group of Scripture Union students that were supervised by the Deputy Headmaster, (Mr John Maruva Shava). Since I needed to lock the classroom, I would harass these students for not finishing their meetings on time. They reported me to their leader Mr Shava the Deputy Head. Instead of shouting at me, Mr Shava spoke to me and instead told me the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He persuaded me and told me how Jesus Christ died for me on the cross and how I would be a changed man if I received the Lord Jesus Christ. I was so proud and ignored his call to salvation.  

On my way home, I could still hear his gentle call to salvation, Jesus Christ loves you. On March 9th, 1983, two days after my encounter with Mr Shava, he invited me to his house at the school compound and shared again the love of Christ in John 3:16.  I remember kneeling down and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour of my life. He prayed for me and behold the newness came. Mr Shava, now Apostle John Shava, is the founder and Senior Pastor of Calvary Christian Life Missions based in Zvishavane and has several rural branches in Midlands and Masvingo provinces, including urban branches in most major cities in Zimbabwe. He is the man that helped me shape my Christian walk with the Lord. He mentored me and brought me up before handing me over to the Victory Fellowship Church to be the Pastor that I am today.  Ever since then, I have never looked back.

The Favour of both Man and God
Everyone needs the favour of God and man.  My uncle and his wife (my mother's brother), Rev Peter Baka and Dr Hon Sithembiso GG Nyoni who are my proud surrogate parents had just returned from overseas (UK) and were settling.  Uncle PB Nyoni was working at Dadaya Mission School as the Mission's Chaplain while Dr Hon SGG Nyoni was starting her community work with communities around Dadaya-Ndinaneni areas under Chief Wedza and Chief Mafala. This saw the birth of the Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP).  Still smarting from the war, the Midlands politics was polarised between Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Patriotic Front Zimbabwe African People's Union (PF-ZAPU).Then ORAP did not find a place in the hearts of the communities surrounding these areas because the communities perceived Dr SGG Nyoni to be aligned to PF ZAPU and the communities did not want to be identified with anything or anyone associated with PF ZAPU then.  There could have been other reasons, but this one was the top drawer one.

My uncle and aunt visited our home and my dad told them how I was performing in school and how he was struggling paying school fees.  When I showed them my results, it did not take them a minute to take me on board as their first son.  Consequently, I remained learning at Siboza Secondary School and they paid all my tuition and made sure that every school holiday I would come to Bulawayo where they were based. I remember my first visit to Bulawayo was in December 1982. I would go to the National Free Library for studying. My life totally changed. I passed my GCE "O level" and proceeded for my General Certificate of Education at Advanced Level (GCE "A Level") at Dadaya High School, a mission school I had been deprived to go to by the Smith Regime's prohibitive education system during the protracted war of liberation. I studied very hard and passed my GCE "A" level with nine points (During our time points were very hard to get and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) then was accepting students with two points.  In 1987, I enrolled at the UZ to study a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree.  

My uncle and aunt continued to support my education and provided upkeep and every other need for my education. I had found favour with God and men. During my UZ days, I was heavily involved with the University Christian Union group on camps and was the Deputy Christian Union Chairperson deputising the late friend of mine Dr Mutarisi Nyaku. Reverend Sebastian Bakare was our Chaplain. I saw the hand of God asI completed my degree studies in spite of the student politics that had threatened the university's closure due to the activism of the then student leader (Student Representative Council President) Professor AGO Mutambara.  He was my leader and remains so. I later returned to the UZ in 1993 to study for my Graduate Certificate in Education as I had to be employed as a teacher at Mzilikazi High School (eMgandani) from 1990 to 1993 with my now good old friend Mr Cuthbert Chiromo as Headmaster.  What a task master he was.  Very focused and a disciplinarian.
 
I left the teaching profession end of 1993 and joined ORAP as its Information and Documentation Officer on November 1st, 1993. When the favour and the great opportunity in my life arose, in the (August) Fall of 1995, I was selected from among the ORAP staff to go and study for a Master's degree in International and Intercultural Management in the United States of America in the state of Vermont. I look back at two important decisions I made in my life. The first decision was the day I listened to my father (Father-Son-Talk) and then the second decision I made was to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour with Apostle John Shava.  These were my major decision moments (at the age of eighteen) of my life that transformed my life. I look back and say, here is the war collaborator, the herd-boy cum-gardener and now a PhD Candidate and an ordained minister of the gospel! That can only be God. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek yee first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you as benefits."  This is what I did.  I am enjoying the benefits. Infact I am enjoying two great benefits: those of the Educational Policy at Independence and the Christian benefits. So I want to believe that life does not start at 40...but life starts at the very point you make a decision to live right with yourself.   

Deuteronomy 30:19 says: "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.  Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.  Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"  That is what it has became from that day up to today.  I do not regret at this decision.  Having been ordained as a Minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ under the leadership of Apostle Kenneth Eric Haskins, the Senior Founding Pastor of Victory Fellowship Church, I enjoy his fatherhood figure in my life and his mentoring while I discharge my administrative church duties and simultaneously serve at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) as the University's Chaplain. It is at NUST where I fully realised my calling. I am called to minister to the NUST staff, and the young generation of plus or minus ten thousand students that have been caught up in a web of an intolerant society that has judged these youths so harshly. I believe while I still have the energy, I am called as a preacher, teacher and pastor to the academic world. Called to teach the word of God and rescue the generation of my time from this sick and wicked world. So help me God!

If I did it, you can also do It - An appeal to our Youths
I have shared my biography and I hope it will reach out to someone.  As we celebrate our hard-won Independence, let us remember those sons and daughters that died to liberate us. It is not demonic to remember those that died to liberate Zimbabwe.  They liberated me. I was involved in the war of liberation as a war collaborator. (I also died for this country if I can dare express it as well as they say so!)  However, my clarion call is to you the youths and even other adults who think you are finished and cannot do anything.  There is something that you can do. I would have ended up life a mere war collaborator, herb-boy or a gardener, buried in my marijuana smoking lifestyle and could be dead by now. I chose to be different. Hebrews 12:1 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us". I want to appeal to the youths and parents that are reading this article.  I know the youths keep saying that was your time! Times are different.  But the drugs are still the same and many more have been brought on the market.  What you call right is wrong? You (youths) call us backward and unschooled. You call us ignorant and lacking understanding and appreciation of what you are going through, (you may be right on this one) but let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  We know all that. I was eighteen years old when I made the decision to quit dagga (mbanje) smoking. Yes, you can say "that was your decision, why do I have to impose it on you or us".  I think it is the right thing to do. Like what the scripture above said: We are surrounded by a crowd of great witnesses.  I stopped smoking not because I had received Jesus Christ.  It was a deliberate decision so that I could re-focus and complete my education.  I know right now there are many of our sons and daughters struggling with substance abuse.  I see them in my church, in the streets of Bulawayo and Harare and everyday at NUST. Most of my counterparts (Chaplains) at State Universities tell me the same story. It is possible to stop it. The decision lies with you. No one can have you stop it other than you.  You can only be told to stop it, but the choice is yours. Right now, you are stressed, depressed, feeling helpless, living in denial, full of anger, guilt, bargaining, shock, suicidal, lost, struggling with acceptance, and what-have-you. Give yourself an Independence gift of a life changing decision. I do not intend to belittle what you are going though. I know you have tried, but you have not tried enough.

 How does it feel to be:
Stressed- Each time we fail to take up our responsibilities (for Christians when we fail to take up the cross), we fall into sin. It happens when we lose our tempers, quarrel with our spouses, shout abuse to drivers on the road, become impatient with our parents, lust after an attractive woman, get frustrated at someone's repeated mistakes, fail an exam, feel let down by our parents or become fearful or overly stressed. We all stumble over and over again—we are under pressure, stressed and subject to deadlines and limitations. What I know is that we have the authority to cleanse any place of evil spirits (even if it is in us), because we bring with us the presence of God. Worry and stress will also have no power over us, because we have the peace of God in our hearts.  But as is always, we allow fear to dominate and this leads to stress due to anxiety.

Depressed - You need to recover the loss. You feel empty and powerless. Here is a useful purpose.  Recognizing your limits might allow you to stop trying for the impossible. Tell that inner man/woman that s/he needs help. Depression is real and you need someone to help you. Cry out.  Reach out.  There is help waiting for you. But in order for your receive help, here are a few tips to overcome depression:  You should start letting go of things that are beyond your control, and allow those with capacity to help you. Try to avoid compulsive consumption of things that can cause potential harm: from food to information. Start letting go of those things that are beyond your control, and allow those with capacity to help you. Familiarise with a situation/option before making the optimal choice and acknowledge other people's efforts and avoid being judgemental.

Feeling helpless - This could be where most youths are. A state of helplessness! You are feeling helpless like a dead man. You are a dead wo/man walking. In real life of change, you must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously. Let me put it this way, first of all, when Apostle John Shava preached to me.  I felt helpless. I needed some extra power to overcome my helplessness and that power came through faith to a higher authority - Jesus Christ.  This faith means utter impotence and helplessness before God. At the bottom of all faith there is a feeling of helplessness. And so, faith always means helplessness. God will have to bring us very low down; there will have to come upon us a sense of emptiness and despair and nothingness. It is when we sink down into utter helplessness that the everlasting God will reveal Himself in His power, and that our hearts will learn to trust God alone. That is what you need right now. When we are helpless and nothing that is when God takes over.

Living in denial- You need to adjust and there is need to recognise the loss already. What this means is that you are carrying on regardless.  It will kill you. Living in denial is living a lie. You need to get rid of it and keep that positive energy going for what else is important. Denial is shelving stuff for a while but still that problem is with you.  It has not left you. Stop living in denial, seek help. You can do this by keeping yourself emotionally stable and transmit hope.

Anger- You need to prevent loss. What this means is that you must stop this from happening or prevent it from happening again. Stop blame shifting. Take responsibility. Stop blaming your siblings, your parents, your peers. Take the anger to its roots. It's inside you and you alone can deal with it and remove it. Here is a useful purpose: You may choose to give yourself energy to take action out in the world and change something there. Maybe look for ways to channel your anger in a healthy way, perhaps through exercise, such as running or gym or playing an instrument.  Remember the anger iceberg, being reflexive and knowing yourself more, or maybe finding ways to positively adapt to change and embrace diversity

Guilt - You need to adjust right now and prevent further loss. You may be questioning, where did I go wrong? You may be asking yourself; you may be questioning if something you did caused it.  You can only come out of that guilt if you learn today: "Could I do something differently that might prevent it happening again?" That guilt conscience will drag you to the grave. You can come out of that self-accusation and prevent the loss.

Bargaining- You are bargaining with self.  I need to recover the loss.  You keep saying I must try doing something to get back what has gone. You have become lost in a maze of "If only…" or "What if…" statements. You want life returned to what is was; you want our loved one restored or want to go back in time. Stop bargaining and make the decision to recover what you have lost. Here is a useful purpose; the energy to take tasks to deal with solutions and other people in new ways is knocking on your door. Bargain for the best.  Bargain for a better life. Talk about these feelings and your bargaining hopes with close family and friends. Not only can they provide support, they can also offer some perspective that may help you better accept your loss. This will help you live in the present and observe community and become connected.

Shock-You are supposed to adjust for the better.  "I need to recognise loss!" What this means for you right now is that you are doubting your capacity because of your deterioration and shock in the state of affairs in your life. You better stop what you are doing! Find a safe place to review your life.  You will be shocked that you can do better by changing the way you are right now.

Suicidal-Do not go that route.  This is a spiritual matter and I will handle it from a spiritual position. The Biblical Elijah, the great lord's prophet ended up suicidal and depressed after contending with Jezebel at Mt Carmel, even though he had three years rest and preparation beforehand with the widow in Zarephath. It is no light thing to experience Jezebel's contentions; these things are real, not fantasy. We should be fully aware of the realities of the devil's wickedness, ‘lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices'
(2 Corinthians 2:11). Seek counsel when you see, feel or experience suicidality. You just need to shout out for help like RIGHT NOW!

Acceptance -You need to come to a realization that acceptance means, "I need to let go of.." as opposed to feeling sad about your situation.  Being sad about a situation simply means: "I have limits, but that's OK."  It makes you human like everyone else. You need joy. You still have the energy to explore your limits. Life is forever renewed. This is your time. Turn a new leaf and renew your life. If you have not attained your maximum potential, do not accept that you are OK. Do not accept mediocrity for life. Do not short-change yourself and accept that. Eagles need high places and rats need to be underground.  It's a design issue.  Do not accept what you are not. You need to know who you are.  You need to know who God says you are.  You are a called and chosen generation, called to show God's excellence.  His excellence is in who you are.  Deep down in your heart you know your inner self, you know who you are.  And you know you should be walking in power and seriously walking towards your destiny. You are holy, righteous, and beautiful and all that which God said "it is very good" on creation.  What people are seeing right now is not you! You are a wonder! God has ordained you to be great and do greater things. You are your own limitation, not even the sky. You may look defeated, down and hopeless, but you are not down and out.  It is time to resurrect and make a difference.  You are a miracle. Add to your story a great testimony of rediscovering yourself!

My Conclusion - Add to your story!
This is my testimony. You do not have to be me. You can be yourself. You do not have to go through what I went through. If you have not tasted any beer, praise God, remain pure ("How can a young man keep his ways pure?" the Psalmist asks in Psalm 119:9.  I commend you for that.  Intensify your relationship with Jesus Christ. You will never regret. And do not try what I have told you I went through.  It is not necessary. I did not know. If I knew, I wouldn't have done that. Actually, you can give a testimony to others that "I never did ABCD and it is possible!"  But for those that are in it, you are hooked in it, there is hope.  There are many things happening today that causes us to lose hope.  I want to encourage you that lack of hope can stifle your working toward changing your destiny. For the person that loses hope begins to fail.  You cannot and have no right to fail.  Psalm 65:5 says; "You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our saviour. You are the hope of everyone on earth."  Make your hope real and no one will take it away from you.  You can make a difference in your life. You can make the right decision that will change your life. You can rediscover your lost destiny. Your destiny is currently buried in that substance abusive life-style you are living.  You can change your lifestyle for the better. Yes, you can stop it. As Dr Amai would say! STOP IT!  I stopped smoking the weed. I stopped drinking the brown, green, yellow or whatever colour of bottle you are drinking. I stopped. I later received Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal saviour, a plus which cemented my destiny.  Like what the Lord God said in Deuteronomy 30: 19c; "Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"  Bring hope alive in you and your generation to come. It is possible! Happy 40th Independence celebration. Enjoy the celebrations in the comfort of your home especially due to lockdown by making the right choice. Ignore the corona virus that has ruled the roost for a season. You are your own life changer. A change of direction is what you need. You cannot expect to change your life when you keep on doing the same things over and over again, it's not possible.  But on this Independence Day celebration, you need to score big. Change your character, change your life and change for the better. Once again. Happy 40th Uhuru!!

Pastor Tomson Dube is the Administrative Pastor at Victory Fellowship Church and the University Chaplain at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo. He writes this article in his own personal capacity as a leader and a voice to the nations. You can get hold of Pastor Tomson Dube via e-mail on tomsondube@gmail.com

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