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Not yet liberated

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There are so many questions to answer if we want to know whether we are liberated or not. And, again, there are so many reasons to justify why colonialism was hated by the nationalistic leaders who are recognised for liberating African states including Malawi.

It is evident that most of Africa is suffering from the hangover of colonialism, and that is why we tend to blame everything on colonialists. It is not strange to hear the modern African leaders say that our countries are sovereign so we cannot be colonised again. If we are told how democracy should look like, we paint new cloth with new colours to redefine democracy. But if the former masters insist on true democracy, the masses are told all those lies that colonialists are coming back.

If leaders want to draw huge support – of course to hide their dictatorial tendencies – colonialism will be part of the lexicon that equally sends the same message. Yes, the message of Kwame Nkrumah, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and others.

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But when such nationalists cried for the winds of liberation to blow across the continent, they did not mean it would be a lifelong excuse to justify the state of the economies that are far from being admired; less freedom of speech and, of course, less everything. Ideally, we liberated ourselves from the colonialists but the bigger challenge is to liberate ourselves from our fellow black African leaders. Yes those who would not allow someone to tell the truth or you will be branded a puppet of colonialists.

Reflecting on how much musicians have liberated the poor from their poverty or liberated the voiceless to enjoy the freedoms that are clearly documented, all I see is a huge gap that might take eternity to fill. This is made worse by praise-singers who would fill loads of records with all kinds of praises. I am at times tempted not to criticise the musicians or artists because I am part of them. I still believe we fail together so we need a voice that will liberate our brothers and sisters.

Such views are often fragmented; either deliberately or unknowingly skirting around issues to avoid further criticism. I am just writing this.

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To be safe, I will start with the least on the list of issues. The question that bothers me all the time is why men in dreads are not yet liberated. Did I ask the right question? Not before you think of the many reasons that can be listed why men in dreads [not necessarily rastas] cannot be employed because of the wrong perception possibly generated in colonial times that spilled over to the Kamuzu era and now this time; our time. So many dreadlocked fellas cut their dreads when looking for a job. In offices, there are a lot of old men and women who cannot allow those with dreads to join them.

To my surprise, I have seen a lot of dreadlocked women [natural dread] who are allowed to work, yet the same society would deny dreadlocked men the same opportunity. What is the explanation? Unfortunately, no-one would explain why we are chained to the indoctrination that a Malawian man should not have long hair.

Liberating ourselves from colonialism was not all we asked for, let the man in dread be liberated and have his long hair. His sons in dreads should be allowed in public schools too, just like his daughters. But, as I said, this was the least on the list of issues. The bigger issue is that we are not yet liberated and those in dreads should sing about it, all the time.

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