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A Student’s Eye: Perspectives on Campus Culture

Enjoy reading a collection of stories written by students from tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe.  Edited by Lackson Munkombwe and Pofela Ndzozi. Published by The HYD Collective, 2017, on the sidelines of its inaugural Inter-Collegiate-Convention for students. The HYD Collective is a consortium of student led organisations in partnership with Sexual Rights Center. HYD Collective comprises Campus Moments, The Joel Foundation, LSU Alumni and Student Councils at Bulawayo Polytechnic, Zimbabwe School of Mines and Hillside Teachers College. Here it is below.

 

 

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Revoke Grace Mugabe PHD: Student Body

by Costa Nkomo

THE framing Grace Mugabe as a powerful politician by the state media after assuming the position of Zanu PF Women’s League Secretary in 2014 was not sufficient to win the assent of the Zimbabweans. Instead, it resulted in backlash.

From a typist in the office of the president, to a lavish personality reminiscent of Marie Antoinette, spouse to the French king, Louis XVI of the 1770’s; various interpretations have been made of Mrs Mugabe’s character before and after her controversial marriage to Robert Mugabe in 1996.

Some have called her a woman of lose morals. Others, varsity students included, have made a parody of Grace’s rags-to-riches persona, which seems to have struck a hornet’s nest across the country.

In a bid to side-track this given background, Grace Mugabe was accorded a PhD at the University of Zimbabwe in 2014 and soon became known as ‘Doctor Amai,’ a narrative the state media believed to be more appealing to the masses This was a clear imposition of a character that never was.

Later that year, in the so-called ‘Meet the People Tour’ rallies in which Mrs Mugabe single handed purged the then Vice President, Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF, she failed to acquire and exhibit the voice and behaviour of a PhD holder.

‘…Mrs Mugabe’s thesis is alleged to be non-existent…’ 

Mrs Mugabe’s thesis, entitled: ‘The changing social structure, the functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe’ is however, alleged to be non-existent.  Students have called for it to be availed to them for the past three years, to no avail.

The conferment of PhDs to academics takes a long and strenuous route in which writing the final thesis requires a minimum of three years. For one to pass, they should have made a significant input to the intellectual fountain.

 But, for Mrs Mugabe, it took her only three months.  Her husband, then Chancellor of all universities, accorded her a doctorate, a development  that struck the raw nerve of student activists across the country and took the media by storm in its various formats. On social media, students and other concerned academics blatantly called it “fake degree”.

“By dubiously getting a PhD from the UZ to boost her political and presidential ambitions, Grace Mugabe compromised UZ” said Director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya, quoting Opa Muchinguri’s words.

Students and academics are lobbying the University of Zimbabwe to revoke Grace Mugabe’s PhD degree as soon as possible.

‘…Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ Vice Chancellor, must apologise and resign…’

The groups are also demanding an explanation from  Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ Vice Chancellor,  to  ‘clear the air’ on how  Mrs Mugabe was accorded the PhD.

Zimbabwe Congress of Student Union (Zicosu) led by President Takudzwa Gambiza demanded for the immediate revocation of Mrs Mugabe’s PhD which they perceive as a threat to Zimbabwe’s cherished education system.

“It’s of paramount importance that the fake PhD should be revoked, and a public apology issued by those who committed that heinous academic fraud”, Gambiza said.

Zicosu treasurer general, Godknows Mudhari also said academic achievements accrue as a result of hard work only.

“It is uttermost disrespect when fellow students are awarded such degrees on a silver platter,” said Mudhari. If this thesis is not authenticated then the degree should be revoked or UZ should award all of us the same degree for free.”

Fast forward to November 2017, having proved to the nation and the rest of the globe, that she was not nearer to being a PhD holder, Mrs Mugabe committed political suicide by unleashing venom on the person of the then Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a move that catalysed the liberation of Zimbabweans from an impending Mugabe dynasty.

 

(Video)Harare #SolidarityMarch,Jah Prayzah’s crowning moment?

Jah Prayzah‘s latest album, Kutonga Kwaro,  seems to resonate with the current political situation in Zimbabwe.

We have curated reactions (press reports and social media content) to the intersection of the artiste’s music and Zimbabwe’s political drama.

Kubatana, a non profit organisation in Harare used Jah Prayzah’s song , Masoja, as a soundtrack to its video of the  solidarity march . Meanwhile, the Daily News’ referred to the solidarity march as Jah Prayzah’s crowing moment.

Amid blaring car horns and the generous serving of anti-President Robert Mugabe songs during the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) solidarity march on Saturday, was the constant din of music star Jah Prayzah’s music.

If it was not the hit —Kutonga Kwaro  — which turned out to be the de facto anthem of the march that celebrated the ZDF’s seizure of power last Tuesday — then it was the old favourite Mudhara Achauya or the party song Ndini Ndamubata.

Harare was turned into one big party anchored on Jah Prayzah’s music. No artiste in the recent past has had his music played by such a huge concentration of people. It was clearly the Jerusarema hit-maker’s crowning achievement.Daily News

The article further claimed that Jah Prayzah is linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa .

However others felt that Jah Prayzah’s music is nothing but just prophetic artistry.

ARTISTS are prophetic!

The above phrase aptly suits Jah Prayzah’s current album if scenes from the solidarity march on Saturday are anything to consider.

Songs which include Kutonga Kwaro, Ndini Ndamubata and Masoja off the crooner’s album Kutonga Kwaro became anthems as people repeatedly played the music in their cars during the march.

Most of the people labeled Jah Prayzah, the prophet arguing his songs are reflecting on the prevailing situation.

People took to social media including Twitter with others saying JP is the ‘spirit medium’ of the country. – H Metro

Zimbabweans reiterated this prophetic position on social media.

However, Jah Prayzah is on record denying  any deliberate political motivation or inspiration in his music. His managers have said people are free to interpret the songs and titles the way they want as in other art genres.

#CurrentSitutation: UZ Students Strike,Refuse to write exams until Mugabe steps down

STUDENTS at the University of Zimbabwe have called off exams until President Robert Mugabe steps down.

The students are also demanding that Grace Mugabe’s PHD be revoked and that  Levi Nyagura, Vice Chancelor of the institution should resign.

Grace’s degree attracted intense criticism and speculation after claims that she did not write a thesis and did not take the required period of time to complete it.

According to press reports, Nyagura is perceived to be Mugabe’s ally and also thought to be complicit in suppressing dissent at the university.

Grace Mugabe graduated with a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Social Studies Department of Sociology in 2014.

University of Zimbabwe students say they do not want any external interference in their demo.

WhatsApp rolls out ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature; here’s how it works

Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp last week rolled out the most sought after feature – “Delete for Everyone.” As the name suggests, the feature allows users to revoke their messages in case they sent those to a wrong person or a group.

You can only delete messages for everyone for up to seven minutes after sending.

“Once seven minutes have passed, there is no way to delete messages for everyone,” Facebook-owned WhatsApp said in its updated FAQ last week. “In order for messages to be successfully deleted for everyone, both you and your recipient must be using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone,” the micro-blogging platform said.

WhatsApp was working on this feature for almost a year. You can now delete messages for everyone or just for yourself.

“Deleting messages for everyone allows you to delete specific messages you have sent to either a group or an individual chat. This is particularly useful if you sent a message to the wrong chat or if the message you sent contains a mistake,” WhatsApp noted.

Messages you successfully delete for everyone will be replaced with “This message was deleted” in your recipients’ chats. Similarly, if you see “This message was deleted” in a chat, it means that the sender deleted their message for everyone.

How it works:

Open WhatsApp and go to the chat containing the message you wish to delete. Tap and hold the message and choose Delete from the menu.

Optionally, select more messages to delete multiple messages at once. Then tap “Delete for Everyone”.

“If you or your recipient are not using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone, this feature will not be supported,” WhatsApp said.

Recipients may see your message before it’s deleted or if deletion was not successful.

According to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp, this feature works for messages in text, videos, GIFs, pictures, voice messages, quoted messages and status replies. The second part is to delete messages only for yourself.

Deleting messages for yourself allows you to delete your copy of messages you’ve sent or received from your phone.

“This has no effect on your recipients’ chats. Your recipients will still see the messages in their chat screen,” WhatsApp said.

For this, open WhatsApp and go to the chat containing the message you wish to delete. Tap and hold the message and choose Delete from the menu.

Optionally, select more messages to delete multiple messages at once. Then tap “Delete for Me”. “The feature is being slowly rolled out and users can reinstall WhatsApp in order to download from the server the latest configuration,” WABetaInfo said.

Article source: Hindustan Times. 

MSU dismisses Zodwa waBantu dissertation reports

“It has come to the attention of the University that a dissertation cover page with the title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival … is circulating on social media”

Patrick Chitumba|Chronicle

MIDLANDS State University (MSU) has dismissed reports that it received a dissertation with a title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival” that is circulating on the social media.

In a press statement yesterday, MSU said the University does not distribute or share submissions or dissertations wholly or in part, with the public through non-official platforms.

The MSU statement comes after an image allegedly of a front cover of a dissertation by a student started circulating on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

The image purports that a student wrote the dissertation after South African entertainment queen Zodwa wa Bantu was denied permission by the Government to perform at the Harare Festival that was held last month.

Reads part of the press statement from MSU: “It has come to the attention of the University that a dissertation cover page with the title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival” that is purported to be a cover page of a dissertation submitted to MSU, is circulating on social media and this has led to unfortunate and misinformed speculations about the institution, staff and students.

“The impression that has been created on social media, as a result of the viral image, is that the University has received a document with the said cover page or it has already been examined. While we acknowledge the amount of interest this viral image has created, we wish to bring to the attention of our publics a few points that may assist in framing the discussions.”

The submission of dissertations or any other examinable material is done through clearly-defined procedures and to designated offices where such submissions are recorded.

“Students are still working towards the submission of their dissertations for examination. All successfully completed dissertations — those which would have passed the test of rigour and quality — are submitted to the University and can be accessed from our institutional repository via the University library. Because dissertations are examination documents, the University does not distribute or share them, wholly or in part, with the public through non-official platforms.

“Students work on their dissertations for a minimum period of two semesters although the actual writing takes place in their final semester when they register for the dissertation module.

“The University upholds the spirit of creativity, ingenuity and academic freedom, for both students and staff, as long as these meet set conditions for quality and rigour. We have a tested system of checks and balances to achieve these goals. Therefore, a research on any topic or theme will still be tested for these conditions,” reads the statement.

ZICOSU TUMBLES AT NUST

By Costa Nkomo| Nust- ZW

ZIMBABWE Congress of Students Union (Zicosu) lost National University of Science and Technology (NUST) student union elections yesterday to National Students Council (NSC).

Pablo Tinashe Chimusoro, the NSC representative, together with five Councillors from his camp, romped to victory after he garnered 1227 votes (47%) followed by a ZICOSU representative Natasha Aliki who got 757 votes (29%), while ZINASU  represented by Pashor Sibanda came third with 643 votes (24%)

For the first time in four years,  2627 students participated in an election. This is also the first  time  in the history of Nust SRC elections that either Zinasu or Zicosu  have failed  to secure the top student  leadership post.

It has been alleged that Zicosu  embarked on a vote buying drive in a bid to secure the top post for Aliki. Former student president, Shadowlite Ndou, was also present to drum  up support for Aliki.

Zicosu is alleged to have distributed about $500 plates of sadza, alcohol worth about $800 and $600 worth of airtime among other goodies.

When contacted for a comment Zicosu campaign manager, Blessing Zhou did not deny Zicosu’s attempt to buy student votes. However, Zhou could not be drawn to disclose the exact amount of money that his party spent.

“It was a tough race, anyone could do anything to make it,” said Zhou.

“Without vote buying, Pashor should have been the Vice President, so vote buying counted ” added Zhou.

Zicosu had lured ZBC news presenter, Rumbidzai Takawira, to campaign for them in a video clip that went viral on social media.

Takawira who addressed herself as ZBC Newsbae said, “Vote Aliki, vote Tanaka Alice, and you will see change at Nust.”

While ZICOSU was left disappointed by the students who enjoyed the goodies, for Chimusoro, it was personal integrity and selfless character that won him this year’s Nust SRC elections.

” I am proud of Nust students, I’m happy for the faith and trust they have in me, I owe them desirable service delivery” said Chimusoro.

Chimusoro also welcomed elected Councillors saying that he was ready to work with everyone despite different political orientation.

“I am ready to work side by side with everybody, Zicosu, Zinasu, NSC, everyone is important, and I do hope we are going to deliver as a united team,” Chimusoro said.

NSC secretary general, Kudakwashe Chikondowa urged students to stand for values and integrity as these are the most important traits that a leader should possess.

“If Zicosu arranges bashes for you, you are welcome to go and enjoy yourselves, those who received bribes like airtime enjoy it, but when you go to the ballot remember who is capable to defend your interests throughout the year,” said Chikondowa on election day.

Efforts to contact Aliki were fruitless as he was unreachable immediately after the pronouncement of election results.

Meanwhile, the newly elected SRC leadership is expected to be sworn in early next week at a hand over take-over ceremony to be held in the Council Chambers at Nust.

Opine: Why female candidates are perennially absent in elections.

Thulisile Mthethwa | Nust -ZW

How far have we gone with emancipation of women and girls today?

Too often we hear people saying that we are now civilised, we recognise and acknowledge the rights of women and children as a way to counter patriarchy and its bounding chains of inequality.

A university is at the centre of all this as it imparts basic principles of survival to young adults to cope in this socio-political and economically defined community.

Granted it is so and women are being given the voice to articulate their challenges and aspirations, why then have we not seen a female candidate successfully running for presidency at the National University of Science and Technology and bagging the top post of the students union body?

Does the answer lie between the socialisation of females or it is in the mind of a people?

Masculinity is constructed as binary opposed to femininity as early as childhood.

Women are often deemed to be in need of male guidance such as looking up to the man in their life,  be it a partner, parent or sibling, who is ‘a positive role model to all’.

That could be one way of understanding this problem although  the possibilities are just endless.

The day a woman could take up the NUST presidency would be the beginning of a journey of emotional and psychological liberation for those cramped in the dystopia of ‘Macho-manism’.

The day a woman would lead the NUST Students Representative Council would certainly be the day the notion that, ‘men make better political leaders than women,’ would be challenged.

‘…if you are too tough you are not feminine, if you are too feminine then you are not tough enough…

The political landscape at NUST shows that personal gender role threats are much more pronounced than they have been in the past. The double bind for female candidates is that women who contend for power are less likely than men to be seen as likeable.

Disharmony among women has not helped the situation either.

The most critical barriers that have hindered females from contending for the presidency at our prestigious university is that men are often judged by their potential, yet young women are judged by their accomplishments.

2017-2018 Academic year Students' Union presidential hopefuls.
 From Left to Right: Vusa Ngwenya, Natasha Aliki, Pablo Chimusoro.

Women have to spend more time proving themselves and can be easily written off as too feminine to withstand the political pressures that come with the demanding nature of leadership.

The idea that, ‘if you are too tough you are not feminine, if you are too feminine then you are not tough enough’ comes into play.

To win an election in this system, women must contend with sexism and stereotypes. The more a leadership position is perceived by the public as powerful, the harder it is for women to secure it.

MSU STUDIO 4 – Celebrating 2017 Dreamstar Champions : Footprints

 

Footprints, an all-male member group from MSU pocketed $3 000 and a recording deal for their sterling performance at the Dreamstar finale at Harare International Conference Center.

Footprints leader, Tafadzwa Matiure said their victory was a result of the powers of the Almighty

The Dreamstar talent show seeks to empower gifted young people and help them move from the backstage to the official stage.

The show was organised by the Chinese Federation of Zimbabwe (CFZ) in partnership with Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation (JCMC) and the Embassy of China to Zimbabwe

Curated content: MSU Facebook | Newsday

Scholarship Opportunity for Students from Sub-Saharan Africa (Masters)

THE GLOBAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (GHD) at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service is excited to announce a full tuition scholarship for a master’s-level student from sub-Saharan Africa, made possible through the generous support of the William and Catherine McGurn Family.

The Global Human Development Program is a two year, full-time master’s degree that encompasses an innovative skills-based curriculum with built-in opportunities for experiential learning. Deadline: 15 January 2017 : Apply at link below