Independence Day

“Listening to the radio and drinking a lot of beer” sounds like an international response to national days. “We laid down our weapons” is part of it too, “the day when we obtained our freedom,” when “it’s fun to be 34,” “we are very happy about it,” and we are “happy and rejoicing” and “dancing a lot, that we forget that we will die.”

In Zimbabwe, as in Australia, there is “the day these countries have been liberated, no longer colonised by the British.” This day should be the 1st of January in Australia. In Austria, it is the day that the last allied forces from WWII departed, leaving Austria to its own, neutral future.

National days are probably always a mixture. We heard that President Mugabe will give a speech over three hours, filled with jokes and emotion. At our residence we wished one another a happy independence day, but it seemed nevertheless strange that we, as Europeans, were congratulating the Zimbabweans on throwing the British out. But as some people here said, they were not born then, so they do not share the problems and the hatred of the British that older Zimbabweans have. The can’t share the bitterness of them, they just want a good life. “Relatives are in town, and they bring a lot of bread.” Such simplicities, the freedom to celebrate with family and food, is part of a better life.

To our own disgrace we have to admit, that we haven’t been aware of April the 18th being the Independence Day in Zimbabwe. We only managed to know about it yesterday. We didn’t attend any special ceremony, still we went to the shops around the corner, saw loads of people gathering and celebrating together. We saw them having fun, listening to music (out of three sources at the same time) dancing and enjoying some drinks – and if in a near future there ever will be a better internet-connectivity there might be some videos uploaded showing the Zimbabwean people dancing that day.

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