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 literatim address.
“The terrain that we are travelling on is entirely unforgiving and uncompromising. However, we have made up our minds to soldier on notwithstanding the unpropitious circumstances circumventing us. The outcomes for us are more appealing than the currently appalling conditions. It is with this spirit that we resolved not to look back. The journey we started maybe precarious and indeed 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 admittedly 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 will end up towering above the clouds. Our hearts are filled with promises, and our lips are easy with hopes and aspirations.
We are cognizant that destiny is in our reach, and this is a serious charge. We cannot afford to fail or flag. We will battle for our children and grandchildren.
I remember a time when we were born. It was one of the bluest moments in our country. Those who marched on us thought that our future will never shine as bright as the morning sun. Time has proved that nothing is impossible for those who choose to believe. We are here because our parents and guardians never gave up. We are here because the community did not quit on us. We are here because we refused to listen to unprogressive hoopla and alternatively chose to harken to the gospel of truth.
Consequently, we are a generation that will never expire. And this generation must produce another generation that will never perish. This can only be realised when we counter sideshows and distractions that can so easily beset us.
Yes, it is happening.
We are laying the foundation for immortals. A generation that will stand firm and tower above the commonplaceness that has permeated every thread of our social fabric.
I know this is easier said than done. Knowing this is vital for it dresses us for action. We roll our sleeves and refuse to rest under the apple tree. Our hands must get muddy, 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 struggles that it must confront. It does not end here; for every generation also has victories it must celebrate.
Completely 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 make plans for peace in a time of war. This is the 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 energy is of great importance. For us, we refused to look into the big cities. We have also made it a rule that we will direct the generations after us to centre 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 endeavours are empty until they are done within the precincts of His fortress.
Isn’t this wonderful! That we are not duping ourselves, is a refreshing understanding. 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 eternal lives to the fullest 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 an imp. 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 virtue started and ended. We could see where the damage 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 beautiful things, and we espoused them. We must continue to embrace them. The text went beyond these nice jargons and gave us hope for tomorrow. This is the hope that was so tenuous in our own traditional religion. It was there, but too weak to inspire. It expired. The new hope that was established in historical facts, and a God who has demonstrated over time that He neither slumbers nor sleeps, is what we still clasp 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 flout every contrary laws and decree. We are anarchists with a course. Daily we rebel against regulations and rulers who seek to block 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 realise that we are one, only divided by ideologies constructed by humans.
Thus we humbly petition all and sundry to join us in this consecrated resistance. It is a combat comeback. It is a combat combination. It is not a combat of here only but hereafter too.
As we disband let us recall the words of one great daughter of our generation, Hekima, ‘Our feet were designed facing forward so that walking backwards 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.