It was the month of May 1957 when the citizens of Matumaini gathered at Jukwaa stadium to listen to their leader Lengo as he delivered his speech dubbed, ‘Marching into the future.’ This event happened 2 years after Independence. The following is the verbatim address.
“The terrain that we are travelling on is completely unforgiving and uncompromising. However, we have made up our minds to soldier on despite the unpropitious circumstances. The end results for us are more appealing than the currently appalling conditions. It is with this spirit that we decided not to look back. The journey we started may be precarious and certainly perilous, but we are committed to it, for we can see beyond the tempest crosswinds.
They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and indeed this is the step we have taken and we intend to build on. We look forward to having our own castle; a castle that started with one stone and ended up towering above the clouds. Our hearts are filled with promises and our lips are easy with hopes and aspirations. We are fully aware that we carry the future, and this is an onerous duty. We cannot afford to fail or flag. We will fight for our children and grandchildren.
I remember a time when we were born. It was one of the lowest moments in our country. Those who stepped on us those days might have thought that our future will never shine as bright as the morning sun. Time has proved that nothing is impossible to those who believe. We are here because our parents and guardians never gave up on us. We are here because the community did not abandon us. We are here because we refused to listen to unprogressive gossip and instead chose to listen to the gospel of truth.
Consequently, we are a generation that will never die. And this generation must produce another generation that will never die. This can only be achieved when we refuse sideshows and distractions that can so easily beset us. Indeed it is happening. We are laying the foundation for immortals. A generation that will stand firm and tower above the mediocrity that has permeated every thread of our social fabric.
I know this is easier said than done. Knowing this is fundamental for it prepares us for action. We roll our sleeves and refuse to sit under the apple tree. Our hands must get dirty and our clothes must soak in sweat. The actions we undertake will undergird and not undercut our visions, dreams and aspirations.
Every generation has its own battles that it must fight. It does not end here; for every generation has also victories it must celebrate. Fully aware of these dynamics, we endeavour to play our part with a single heart and mind. We prepare for war in time of peace and we prepare for peace in a time of war. This is a conundrum of life. In this, we are guided by the wisdom of the wise and strength born of unity. This unity is of purpose.
Having said this, it is supreme to note that every generation has had a place to draw supernatural strength from. The source of this kind of strength is of great importance. For us, we refused to look into the mountains. We have also made it a rule that we will instruct the generations after us to focus their attention away from the mountains. Instead, we have drawn ourselves closer to the one who drew closer to us. This is the God we worship. He is the one we wait on and our efforts are futile until they are done within the precincts of His fortress.
Isn’t this wonderful! That we are not fooling ourselves, is a refreshing thought. To know and understand the powerplays beyond human abilities is an addition to our quest. The quest that we have started and will complete is this; that we live our lives to the full and set the stage for future generations to experience the same.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the European missionaries arrived, and they were accompanied by colonialists. I could put it this way; every angel is occasionally shadowed by a demon. They came with schools, hospitals and churches. Their companions came with subjugation, humiliation and suppression. We had to swallow both at the same time. With time we could see where the goodness started and ended. We could see where the evil started and ended. This knowledge led our people to demand a divorce from the colonial masters. It came, sometimes with blood and other times with sweat alone. Either way, we became free.
We studied the text the missionaries brought to us. It talked about love, grace and mercy. These are wonderful things and we embraced them. We must continue to embrace them. The text went beyond these nice terminologies and gave us a hope for the future. This is the hope that was so shaky in our own traditional religion. It was there, but too weak to inspire. It expired. The new hope that was founded in historical realities, and a God who has demonstrated over time that He neither slumbers nor sleeps, is what we still cling to. We do this not on our own terms and in our strength.
This is the background of our high spirits. It is the bedrock of our tenacious actions. It is the foundation of our moral fibre. It is the fundamental pillar upon which our oomph radiates from. It is good to explain the source of our strength; the manufacturer of the engine that powers us.
Having done this, we stand firm, watch and pray and defy every contrary laws and decree. We are rebels with a course. Daily we rebel against regulations and rulers who seek to prevent us from reaching the highest apex of our lives. In this, we won’t stop or stoop. We practice violence that is not violating any human rights. For we realize that we are one, only separated by ideologies fashioned by humans.
Thus we humbly appeal to all and sundry to join us in this holy resistance. It is a combat comeback. It is a combat combination. It is not a combat of here only but hereafter too. As we disperse let us remember the words of one great daughter of our generation, Hekima, ‘Our feet were created facing forwards so that walking back or meandering becomes difficult.’”
With this, Lengo finished his address and the masses cheered in agreement. We will bring you more speeches of this eminent African son.