Hopewell Chin’ono: The lack of critical thinking in Zimbabwean discourse
By Hopewell Chin’ono
As a journalist and documentary filmmaker, I was trained to understand that society has all sorts of people!
Some are reasonable, some cease to think when they feel that their idols are under attack, they become sycophants!
Which brings me to the next issue, our education system is crap! Why?
Because it has brought up adults that fail to understand simple things, like the fact that rights are a two-way system!
A musician like Jah Prayzah or any other musician has a right to sing whatever they like as long as it is legal, that is a given, and it is their right!
A journalist like myself also has a right to report and comment on anything that exists in a nation’s public discourse realm!
But we have adults who have degree certificates but can’t think and refuse journalists to do their job of commenting and critiquing things or people they adore, I don’t blame them, I blame our education system.
Thinking is actually taught, yes, critical thinking can and should be taught from a young age.
We are bringing up adults who embarrass themselves on social media writing drivel and failing to understand the relatedness of things in political and socio-economic realms!
In other societies, they have a much nuanced and better type of public discourse, because critical thinking is taught at a much younger age, countries like Sweden!
ZANUPF has realized that very weakness in our society, and it uses that lack of critical thinking to abuse citizens, and because of that, it will take a long time for us as a people to free ourselves from political tyranny and poverty of both economics and thought!
The ability to free yourself from tyranny starts with the ability to think and do things the right way on a moral scale as opposed to selfishness!
An army of citizens that can’t think and refuse others to think is dangerous to the survival of such a society!
We have men and women with degrees, but they have shown that thinking is not for everyone unless you have been taught either through reading or lecturing.
Great thinkers in our society do not command the same social media following like comedians do, we are a comical nation.
In America for instance, one of their great thinkers, Noam Chomsky commands a huge following, in Zimbabwe great thinkers like Brian Kagoro, Miles Tendi, Nyaradzo Rachel Adams are not even known in mainstream discourse.
WHY? That is for you to answer.
Most homes have expensive furniture and bars but they don’t have a single book shelf. WHY?
I am also cognizant of the fact that we have a lot of ghost and regime social media accounts that are used to come and disrupt discussions.
But we don’t have ghost accounts in WhatsApp groups, so these are real people displaying a tragic failure to think when they share half-baked responses to critical issues of our time.
A degree in Zimbabwe was an instrument used to find a job, and generally not to think.
That is why you see that a man with a PhD will beat up his wife daily regardless of the PhD certification on the wall.
The same man will go to Magaya’s church and be made to roll on the ground for a “miracle” yet he has a PhD.
WHY? Because our education system wasn’t wired to teach people to think but to pass exams and get a job!
The net result is that we are bringing up children who are replicating us and our ways, such that they see nothing wrong with the things that we don’t condemn.
Why would you expect your son to be a good husband when you beat up your wife, his mother, daily.
As has been said before in many writings which I shall use here, we all have a conscious mind from the second we are born, therefore we all think.
Everyone thinks but different thinking techniques can be taught like a teacher teaching through meditation or brainstorming.
There are different types of thinking.
Critical thinking is crucial, it allows you to form your own opinions and engage with material beyond a superficial level and face value.
It also allows you to craft worthy and cogent arguments which you are able to back them up.
Insults don’t require that, they only require a vulgar mind.
We live in a society where Ginimbi has more social media followers than Alex Magaisa or Beatrice Mtetwa.
When I ask questions on this page, I don’t care whether they will offend anyone or not, as long as they are legitimate in my estimation, I will ask them.
I expect a decent debate rooted in facts and reason and not responding through cheap vulgarities.
A man or woman who responds to a question or issue with cheap vulgarities is not only vulgar, but they are the lowest of the low!
When a man or woman has no answer to a fair issue based question, and they respond with insults, it simply reflects on their cheapness!
We could have been damaged for one reason or the other in this broken society, but I beg, please let us not pass on this to our children.
They will simply ruin this beautiful country in the same manner and way that ZANUPF and its enablers have done!
You can insult me, and say that I should have remained in Chikurubi as some say thinking that it will hurt me, but it simply shows their cheapness in failing to understand why I was there!
It doesn’t move me at all, what worries me is the damage that you might be doing in other areas of your life where you wield responsibilities!
For the sake of your children, wear a decent jacket when you are writing things on a public platform like Facebook and Twitter.
If not for yourself, do it for your children because the stuff that adults are posting when they lose arguments show that they have descended from the gutter to the sewer.
As Gordon Brown once said, the tragedy is that they let the rats out of the sewer.
Hopewell Chin’ono is an award-winning journalist, Documentary Filmmaker and CNN Africa Journalist of the year.
He was imprisoned at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison without trial after exposing massive Covid-19 looting scandals that included President Mnangagwa’s allies.
The corruption exposures resulted in the former health minister Obadiah Moyo being fired.
Chin’ono is a Harvard University Nieman Journalism Fellow and a University of Oxford Africa Leadership Fellow.