There seems to be a general tendency and assumption, especially post-independence, that territorial and physical freedoms alone are enough. People become content with the freedom to move from one place to another without hindrance. It becomes a natural adaptation to be content with the fact that they can go to sleep without fear of intimidation, terror and harassment alone is more important than anything.
This is done without knowing that physical and territorial freedom should not be the end. Instead, it should rather be the very foundation upon which other freedoms should be built. Sadly, the opposite becomes the people’s reality. That the very freedom, which should be the basis for more other freedoms, becomes the only rhetoric and narrative, but which eventually leads to complacency.
This freedom eventually becomes the element that impedes on the proclamation of other freedoms. People become content with other mishaps and misfortunes as the sacrifice for the physical and territorial freedom. They forget about other freedoms such as economic freedom and the freedom to claim what is duly entitled to them just by simply being citizens. That is the freedom to, for example, have a decent roof over their heads and the freedom to have proper sanitation and ablution facilities.
The problem with the lack of these freedoms is that they hinder the very basic and daily living of a human being. It becomes an irritation and a subliminal source of distress even if one may somewhat become accustomed to it. It also becomes a health and well-being issue that one is constantly exposed to the risk of diseases.
Maybe the economic and the freedom of citizen entitlements are too complicated for the layman. But what about the freedom to think for themselves? What about the freedom to freely dive into self-education and research to set their own mind free?
It is no doubt that one cannot entrust that the content of their thoughts and how they perceive the world should still be in control of the same entity who they claim to have freed themselves from. It would be naïve to think that education will liberate them when it is from the same entity that once held them captive. It would also mean that as much as one may be physically free, it makes no difference if one’s mind cannot determine and define their own purpose of existence.
It is also no doubt that the aforesaid can easily be taken out of context and be interpreted as making racial reference.
What has been the norm of the post-independence era anywhere in the world, regardless of race, is that change is often only the change of hands of power. The way of doing and running things often continued to be the same, if not worse.
Therefore, maybe to proudly claim freedom is when they have control over their own minds, systems of every sort and the wisdom to define their own existence. Maybe one is only truly free when they have the means and factors of production on their side. Maybe it is only when one can own and produce their own food without worrying about the shortage of external supply. Maybe it is only when one has the assurance that they have empowered their children with the knowledge and tools to toil the land for self-sustenance and reliance that one can say that they are truly free.
- Karlos TheGreat
Uncommon Sense is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.