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TIME TO BREAK THE SILENCE

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Eswatini is no longer what it once was, a peaceful country.

I believe we can all ascertain the experiences of Eswatini life being ideal for many African countries. As soon as the mention of ‘Eswatini’, one would go on about how fortunate we are to live in such a peaceful place. A few years later we are forced to reflect, to redefine this notion of peace and to understand our debacles as a country. To question the peace that has made our political picture one that many countries have admired and wished for.

Problematic

There is something problematic about this association. That for the longest time, despite knowing and understanding the conditions of poverty and unemployment, we were still sought for as a peaceful country. Therein lies the question, how can it be normal for a country to be blanketed by so much silence when suffering prevails, and when there are so many reasons for its people to be angry. For many years these things have been overlooked, and a silent country that hides the pain like it is a shameful cancer is deadly.

This silence has turned into anger; it is like a beer bottle that was shaken and left to boil until its particles succumb to the pressure of being contained and explode. There is a saying, by me, that silence under the measures of unfairness and suffering is as dangerous as a ticking time-bomb. It is also often times unstoppable when it is time for it to blow and Eswatini has shown us this; the truth that is uncomfortable because we have learned to live with it for years.

Revolution

Today, a different story is being written, without any certainty of neither the ending nor the casualties, but a revolution has begun. A new form of leaders has emerged; this silence has brought about people who are hungry for change. It is unfortunate that when a revolution begins, when the outcries of the people are met with nothing, but silence or mockery, the flame of the fire only becomes more dangerous. Dangerous to the extent that we must understand a fed up child is more willing to burn in the fire with their parents than to live in fear. If they continue to cry, they will face harmful consequences.

There is something about this generation; the universe has produced a different kind of young people. Unafraid and fierce, they have challenged the silence that has held our ancestors and parents captive. We are in an intense moment, with half the audience looking in utter disgust at the audacity of young people; questioning the moral constructionism that has deeply rooted them in unbearable silence only to suffocate in the process. This is a group that dares to question the ‘disrespect’ of the youth because how dare the youth break the silence and stand up to question the underlying problems that everyone loves to pretend do not exist?

Failures

These young people are the highlight of their failures, of how much they failed themselves and how they failed us when they carried that silence. These are the fruits of being so accustomed to silence; it breaks down our ability to identify the truth between right and wrong.  On the other hand, is the group that claps, slowly questioning the bravery and the ability that young people have displayed. It is important to mention that I in no way intend to compare the leadership of young people to that of the elder generation, but then young people have started a revolution, they have stood still in adversity and showed up in ways that the older generation leaders could not.

They have portrayed a strength that we have long expected from the leaders who have held us from the helm. It is both disappointing and at most painful, that these past few days have only shown that we are alone, that our cries are only met with judgement and a quick response to harm. Not only are we a silent nation, we are also a terrified nation now. We fear the people and institutions that were established for us, whose aim, among other responsibilities, is to protect and safeguard us. It is not only a battle to break the silence, but also a battle to break free, our parents who have become familiar with this silence. They cannot stand to see anyone break it.

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