A reflection on Zimbabwe Independence Day and Good Friday

POST BY GClapson

Dominic Tomuseni SJ

Fr Dominic Fungai Tomuseni SJ is a priest of the Zimbabwe Province who worked in the Guyana Region and studied at Heythrop College, University of London, 2006-09. Here he shares some thoughts for Good Friday 2014.

Those who have grown up in Zimbabwe since 1980 will always remember that 18 April is Independence Day. The story of this day is associated with the story of the blood of the many young men and women, which was shed in the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe. This year, 18 April  falls on Good Friday, the day when Christians commemorate the shedding of the blood of Jesus on the cross, to liberate humanity from the power of sin. As I contemplate the way of the cross, the passion and death of Jesus, I am tempted to think of the sacrifice of Jesus in the same way as the sacrifice of the many young men and women who gave their lives for the liberation of Zimbabwe. However, as I consider the two sacrifices closely, I notice an important difference, the young men and women are carrying AK47s as they sacrifice their lives, but Jesus is carrying a cross.

The blood of liberators of Zimbabwe is shed in the process of defence and attack and shedding the blood of the other (the enemy), but the blood of Jesus is the blood of a helpless victim. Human effort to liberate involves victimisation of the others (oppressors), but that of God will take the position of the victims and rejects any form of victimisation. Rejection of victimisation does not rule out resistance. In Jesus there is double resistance. He resists all forms of oppression and exclusion; and he also resists any temptation to do what his persecutors are doing to him. He resists evil and retaliation to evil by evil.

May this Good Friday’s commemoration help us to reflect not on what we have done in bringing about, and protection of, the sovereignty of this nation; but on our failure to resist taking over the powers and principalities that ruled those who oppressed us. May it help us to see how we sometimes are like our oppressors. Today we will give credit to the heroes of this independence for all their efforts to bring us where we are, but we will also look at the cross to heed the call to go beyond these efforts and resist any victimisation of others, a dream that inspired all those who gave their lives for this country. The ability to avoid victimisation of the other is an act of God and let us pray that God helps us to act likewise.

Today when we go out on the way of the cross from different centres to the cathedral or wherever we will sing “Nechipiyaniso chaMambo,mufaro wakapinda munyika”, may we be able to see a freedom of the cross, more powerful than that which we find when we sing, “Tora gidi uzvitonge!”  (songs of independence). When we venerate the cross at 3pm in different places, may we remember the victims of our efforts to bring out what is good and ask God to help us to bring out that which is good without victimising anyone.  May we pray for a true freedom that is befitting all children of God, a freedom that comes from obedience to the will of God in the way that Jesus demonstrated on the Cross. May the reign of God rule in our hearts and in the hearts of our leaders.