COMMENT: Young people should be proud of being  Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa

Addressing the 2024 National Youth Day celebrations at Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre in Masvingo yesterday, President Mnangagwa implored young people to avoid self-hate. He urged the youth to stand up and be proud of being Zimbabwean.

Many young people have never taken time to reflect on what it means to be Zimbabwean. They think it’s just an accident of nature and geography.

Young minds are also polluted by anti-government activism on social media, which makes them believe there is something wrong with being Zimbabwean.

The President’s speech yesterday got us reflecting on what it means to be Zimbabwean and why we should help the youth discover themselves.
Being Zimbabwean encompasses more than mere geographical placement. It embodies a rich tapestry of history, culture, and identity.

Zimbabwe’s journey to independence was marked by resilience, sacrifice, and unwavering determination. The liberation struggle against colonial rule shaped the national identity. Being Zimbabwean means acknowledging this legacy, honouring heroes and heroines, and cherishing the hard-fought freedom that defines the nation.

Zimbabwe is a melting pot of ethnicities, languages, and traditions. Being Zimbabwean celebrates this diversity. It means embracing Shona, Ndebele, Chewa, and other languages, appreciating cultural practices, and recognizing the contributions of all communities.

The breathtaking landscapes of Zimbabwe—Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, Matobo Hills—evoke a deep connection to the land. Being Zimbabwean involves a love for the Zambezi River, the golden savannas, and the ancient baobab trees—a love that transcends borders.

Zimbabweans have faced economic challenges, political turmoil, and social hardships. Yet, resilience defines the spirit of the people. Being Zimbabwean means holding onto hope, supporting one another, and believing in a brighter future.

Ubuntu is an African philosophy that emphasizes interconnectedness, compassion, and community. To be Zimbabwean is to embody Ubuntu—to uplift others, share resources, and recognize our shared humanity.

As the future leaders, the youth hold the key to sustainable development and progress. No self-hating youth can be an architect of progress.

Young minds are inherently innovative. They challenge norms, think outside the box, and propose fresh solutions. Whether in technology, arts, or social entrepreneurship, the youth bring creativity that fuels growth.

Growing up in the digital age, young people are tech-savvy. They adapt quickly to new tools and platforms. Their proficiency in technology can revolutionize sectors like education, healthcare, and agriculture. Many successful entrepreneurs started young. Youthful energy, risk-taking, and resilience are essential for startups. Encouraging youth entrepreneurship fosters economic growth and job creation.

The United Nations’ SDGs emphasize youth participation. Achieving these goals requires youth-led action. From ending poverty to promoting clean energy, the youth are at the forefront. The youth embody hope for a better future. Their dreams, aspirations, and energy drive progress. When supported and empowered, they become catalysts for transformative change.

Young people, stand up and be proud of who you are. Be proud of being a Zimbabwean!

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