A Definition of Patriotism

Art & Design | By Chiratidzo Chiweshe, Graphic Designer | 29 April 2013

But it is about a heart set towards the development, growth and improvement of his nation, and a commitment towards–in his own lifetime to contribute to the well being of a people and the betterment of his nation and society.

In the writing of Sun Tzu, a Chinese General in a collection called "The Art of War",  the General mentions that in order for one to fight effectively, one must know one's enemy. Often the problem with medication is that it targets and dulls symptoms, but rarely destroys the root of the problem. 
What has this to do with patriotism? Well, patriotism is not an outward character: it is not a matter of clothes or a face-but an inward thing. A matter of the heart. To tackle the issue of patriotism we must affect a change in the heart of a man. You become what you behold, one of my pastors often says –'The eyes are the windows to the soul'. To affect change in the heart, as a designer my job is to therefore affect change in what a man sees, or rather, how he sees it, We all see the same thing – but it is our perception of the thing that is the determining factor. 



Zimbabwe is going through one of its most tumultuous times of struggle and hardship these have affected the way in which we see, understand and view many things.

Does this mean then that to instil patriotism in the hearts of Zimbabweans, the designer must hood-wink the masses through creating illusions, false images  and ideals? No! That is to be ignorant of one's powers and influence, design becomes not an art form, but mere propaganda. No! The designer must tell the truth (Chokwadi) –but likely not in the manner you might think and neither in a manner that is intent on deception. Because in presenting the truth, the designer must seek to empower the Zimbabwean so that he will no longer see for love his country, his, position and role in it as far-fetched incredible concepts– but as realistic, expected and welcomed duties. 



Every man everywhere is born into a place: a town, a community, a land and by reason of this is immediately attached to and assigned a portion in this territory by matter of birth. That is to say allegiance to his country is immediate and undoubted: if you are born in Germany; if born in Zimbabwe you are a Zimbabwean.
You grow up with it in your your bones, your blood–in its languages, its character its tones and its attitudes. Aligning yourself with its dictates, its laws, its wars and its loves.
 
For some it is physically manifested–as with soldiers and law enforcement officers.

For most it is an attitude of the heart. It is not about the government in control then (propaganda), it cannot be formed  except through manipulation
and coercion–but then it ceases to be patriotism and becomes only glorified oppression. It is not about self or just "The Nation" as a fanatic rolled in a Zimbabwe flag, no. But it is about a heart set towards the development, growth and improvement of his nation, and a commitment towards–in his own lifetime to contribute to the well being of a people and the betterment of his nation and society (whether on a national scale or within his sphere of influence).

This is the concept that we must tackle as designers in affecting or our nation's attitude towards patriotism: not to falsify evidence and facts, forcing him to see what we want him to see. No. But to present him with the truth of the facts in a positive light, affecting his and influencing his attitude and choice, so that when we present the 'Chokwadi' concept he sees not what we want him to see– but he sees himself. He must identify with the concept if we are to trigger of a paradigm shift– a shift of perception. Not to have to imagine himself into a forced role, but to be it.