Category Archives: Opinion

Russia 2018 World Cup: Africans’ Rigidity Exposed

Yasin Musa Ayami | Durban University of Technology

1 and a half minute read

I have taken particular interest in watching the performance of African teams at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Interestingly, Africa has scored only three goals so far with each of our teams save Senegal losing their match mostly in the dying minutes of the game.

I have observed that even with so much attacking talent, African teams love to defend.

It is as if they go into the game to maintain the same result before the game.

Learning from the way African teams play, I have noted that their play is not different from the way most Africans approach life.

Fans in Nigeria, Morocco and Senegal express their sorrow after their teams were knocked out the tournament. – BBCNews

Africans love to defend their status.

They keep unproductive pieces of land for generations, they shun business events, they defend irrelevant customs, traditions, they stick to economic activities that keep their poverty intact.

An African will defend a worthless job till retirement.
Africans are afraid to attack poverty and will find every reason to defend their sorry state.

There is very little to celebrate in Africa because we do not win.

Examine yourself.

What do you defend in your life? It is exciting to attack. Attack changes results, it brings euphoria, it makes life worth living. Start attacking what keeps you miserable now.

Watching Tunisia with all their attacking talent, speed and energy, I was left wondering why they opted to defend only to concede a heartbreaking last minute goal from the team that chose to attack.

Learn the bad lesson of defending from the African team and choose attack as your lifestyle.

Am off to attack!

Article curated from https://tiozambia.com
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5 Lessons from #VisaBae’s predicament

by Staff Writer

2 minute read

1. Be cautious of information you cannot fact check

Not everything you see on social media is legit and   is just another reminder that things on social media are not always what they seem to be(Think fake news also). Rutendo Tichiwangani (@RLT_) said that she did not own any of the clothes and designer bags she wore for the gram yet most potential suitors thought she was out of their league and her followers aspired to have her “fake” lifestyle. Be wise and cautious of anything you cannot fact check on social and mainstream media.

2. Get your priorities right

As Scott Caan said, “Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.”
#Visabae did not have to wait until a month was left to sort the Visa issue out. Surely, it is tempting to judge that she did not make it a priority. She knew for a reasonable amount of time as an adult that she had to fix her status in the UK and still did nothing about it. If she had heard Scott Caan’s wisdom in good time, she’d have saved herself all this drama.

3. Be driven by a cause not applause

When one has a cause, the motivation comes from within. You will not need to look outside yourself for approval or affirmation and you stop becoming a slave to the opinions of others. Just like in #Visabae’s case, not everyone was supportive. But she did not back down on her plea for help despite all the criticism and backlash.

4. You can’t rely on freelancing as a sustainable source of income

Despite the fact that the Gig Economy is growing, especially in the direction of online marketing and influencing (see Oxford Internet Institute’s Online Labour Index), it is best as a side hustle especially if you are freelancing. Even though #VisaBae has 70k followers on Instagram, she struggled to save up just over 2000 pounds. The problem could have been no income stability.

5. In life just be humble and be yourself nothing beats authenticity

#Visabae decided to be honest and transparent with her situation and ended up with an extra 2000 pounds for her Visa. We usually assume that others won’t understand and accept the truth, but if we gather up courage and step forward with the truth — it will be appreciated

 

Diary of a Zimbo Studying Abroad: A Day in the Life of a D1 Student Athlete

3 minute 30 secs read

 

At the age of 15, I had a dream. A dream to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics in the land of the free and the brave.  I knew what I had to do to make this dream a reality. Hard work and more hard work. Little did I know every single day from there on out would be executed with the same level of intensity. Kevin Durant once said, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard,” a true testament to the reality of Division 1 sport. Each day is routine, yet each day is also different.

6:45 a.m. – The blaring of my alarm snatches me from my peaceful slumber. It’s a Wednesday morning. As usual, I hit snooze, five more minutes until I REALLY need to be up.

7:15 a.m. – First order of the day is a mandatory lifting session. Since it is preseason, the strength and conditioning coach has us lifting at 75% close to our maximum lifting capabilities and this Wednesday morning is no different.

8:00 a.m. – After fighting through sleep and pain, I finally finish the lifting session with 20 minutes to spare before class to grab a smoothie and text my parents.

8: 30 a.m. –  The beginning of the first class of the day. Always hard to get through

10:30 a.m. – End of first class. Time for breakfast.

11:20 a.m. – Start of the second class of the day.

12:50 a.m. – End of second class. A quick hustle to the fitness center.

1:00 p.m. – Start of practice.

3:00 p.m. – End of practice.

3: 15 p.m. – Physiotherapy and ice bath session

4:20 p.m. – Last class of the day.

5:50 p.m. – End of class

6:30 p.m. – Dinner time

8:30 p.m. – Homework

12 a.m. – Bedtime

The above is simply a snapshot of one particular day, but every other day is eerily similar. Practice somehow takes up most of the day despite NCAA regulating that technically it only lasts two hours in most cases. Prior to the start of my student-athlete collegiate career, I only practiced track for an hour, three times a week. With Division 1 athletics comes a drastic increase in intensity during practice and competition. In terms of intensity, every single day is similar to race day.

“Chim” celebrating after winning a medal as part of her school’s 4×400 relay team at the 2017 Big East Conference championships

Time management is of the essence for a student-athlete. While a schedule exists for practice times and competition days, the rest of one’s time is usually in limbo in terms of a strictly planned out schedule which is at the discretion of the student-athlete. Given the role that class participation plays in one’s grades in America, class attendance is mandatory. Coaches and athletic advisors are constantly checking on the academic progress of athletes, particularly because the inability to maintain the required grade point average results in being deemed ineligible for competition. While being a student-athlete comes with a number of perks, it does not guarantee any sort of favoritism from professors. Some professors expect assignments and examination to be completed according to the dates on the syllabi with no room for leniency. I too have been subject to completing assignments on the road in the bus or in hotel rooms before a meet. Due to the demands of practice and academics, it is difficult to maintain a typical college student social life. However, as one who is not keen on having an extravagant or wild social life, so I don’t this aspect of the student-athlete life as a disadvantage. I find myself spending countless hours in the library or doing homework in a quaint coffee shop.

As a student-athlete, it is essential to be diligent in balancing school, friends and sport. Each of these is dire to the maintenance of a healthy state of mind. The student-athlete experience is not for the faint-hearted. The harsh realities of the difficult college classes, the highs and lows of sport and in my case, the exposure to a new culture in a country over 14,000 kilometers from home, can come rushing down like an avalanche. The positives, however, outweigh the negatives. The camaraderie among teammates who become lifelong friends, the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and the “Nike Christmases” are some of the perks of the student-athlete life.

While there are definitely sacrifices to be made in the glamorous student athlete life, I would not exchange this experience for a regular college experience. The life of a student-athlete is a true testament to the following quote:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better start running.” – Christopher McDougall

Rutendo “Chim” Chimbaru is a second year student athlete specializing in 400m at Depaul University.  She attended Arundel School in Zimbabwe. 

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on Education Matters-USAP Perspectives:

Diary of a Zimbo Studying Abroad: Surround Yourself With People Who Are Good For You

Angela Kumirai | University of Pennsylvania
5 minute read

My first semester at Penn has been enriched with wonderful experiences that I have been blessed to enjoy. I am grateful for having gone through this first semester and made it out alive! There are tonnes of things that I have learned but the lesson that comes close to my heart is:  Surround yourself with people who are good for you!

I had a horrible experience in my Chemistry Recitation. Chemistry is my major, and I expected to do well in that class. Three weeks into the class made me think that I was downright stupid. I felt like an imposter. “I do not belong here,” I thought to myself. Questions like these started to fill my head, “How did I get into this Ivy League school- 9.4% acceptance rate? Did admissions make a mistake?” I was performing horribly in that class. I realized it later than I should have that the group that I had been placed in for in-class discussions was not good for me. My contribution to the discussion was not regarded as worthy. When I did not understand how a problem was solved, the group would not wait to make sure that I understood what they had just done. I spoke out and I was literally ignored. Plenty of times I squeezed back tears in the classroom. This led to a bad first midterm.

My fate turned when one of the other groups had a shortage of members. The teaching assistant asked the class if anyone wanted to join that group. I stood up as the words came from the TA’s mouth and I packed my things quickly and unapologetically walked away from my group.

I was amazed! That was the first time I felt like I was in a group. I sat down with my new group members and they asked me for my opinion on every single problem. Even though I did not know answers to some of the problems, I felt very important and wanted. That class session went by faster than I wanted it to. I learned a lot from those students and I knew that is where I belonged. I realized that I had wasted half a semester by sticking to the first group which had treated me like trash. However, I am glad that it only took me half of my first semester to realize that. The worst case would have been to learn this valuable lesson in my last semester of senior year. I am happy to say that after I changed groups, all the midterms and exams after that had better results.

“…I knew beforehand that people would judge me because of the way I looked and the way I talked. I had prepared myself for this scenario. My plan was to prove that I was just as intelligent as all of them and in my mind,…”

I knew beforehand that people would judge me because of the way I looked and the way I talked. I had prepared myself for this scenario. My plan was to prove that I was just as intelligent as all of them and in my mind, I had imagined that after solving a complex problem, then they would realize that I was worth listening to, and I would earn their respect. However, it did not go as I had imagined. That complex problem never came and I was the one who did not know how to solve any of the tough problems. I was always behind and I missed a lot of announcements and important pieces of information. This only magnified my uniqueness but in a negative way. For awhile I felt like a charity case from Africa who was there for improving statistical purposes.

But when I was courageous enough to stand up and walk away, I realized that a student can only be as strong as the extent to which the environment in which she/he is in empowers.
So again I will emphasize the lesson I learned – Surround yourself with people who are good for you!

Author Angela Kumirai is a first year USAP student at the University of Pennsylvania who hails from Fletcher High in Gweru. 

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on Education Matters-USAP Perspectives:

 

Zim students in Cyprus: Journey of broken promises

10 minute read
Roselyne Sachiti 

An advert in a daily Zimbabwean newspaper is quite imposing. It is colourful, has catchy information which easily entices any student eager to take up university studies in Northern Cyprus.

The advert is like a food platter and attractive in every aspect. It states that fees are affordable, and puts up a salivating menu, which students and parents fall for hook, line and sinker.

Yet in reality, some students in Northern Cyprus, enticed by the same “food platter” are caught between a rock and hard surface and wish they could turn back the hands of time, back to the day they made the decision to study in that country.

Misled by local agents and agencies representing universities in that country, Zimbabwean students are being “pushed” into all forms of vices, exploited in workplaces and verbally abused just to make ends meet.

Some are trapped in huge debt.

Zimbabwean students are enrolled in state and private universities that include Near East University (NEU), Girne American University, Mediterranean University, European University and Lefke University.

Most of the universities are privately owned by billionaires who run them as money making enterprises.

Investigations by The Herald revealed that a total of 800 Zimbabwean students who privately went to Northern Cyprus for university studies have messed their lives, dropped out of university and are now irregular migrants.

Their stories bear all the traits of human trafficking and to some extent modern day slavery. The Herald spoke to some of the students who have seen it all in Northern Cyprus.

Case 1

Students like Mathew (name changed for fear of victimisation) say leaving his banking job, selling all household property to take up studies and also “dragging” his wife along to Northern Cyprus remains his biggest regret.

He says the journey had been extremely tough and blames it all on an agent, Ralph James Martins, who allegedly deceived him.

“It was full of pain and tears. Finding a job was not easy because of language barriers. Where you get a job, sometimes you have to work 12 hours of hard labour.

“You are told to come to work at 7am and work up to 7pm yet you have to attend classes. Sometimes you are verbally abused and called names like Zenji, Harab, Ziatan etc. They use you and misuse you. We are so tired by the time we get home. This is why sometimes some end up not attending class, we will be exhausted,” he revealed.

He said some employers do not pay salaries on time especially when the job is tough.

“They promise to pay the money at the end of the month so that you keep coming. If you stop reporting for work and come at the end of the month, the boss will say they do not remember that you were working for them and refuse to pay.

“Where the money is paid, sometimes it is three or four days after the agreed pay date,” he added.

He said reporting to the police bears no fruit as they first ask if the student has a resident permit.

“If you do not have a permit, they will tell you they do not recognise you. If your papers are in order, they will ask whether your employer is Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot. If the employer is Turkish Cypriot, they will act as if they do not like them. But, if the employer is Cypriot the issue is swept under the carpet,” Mathew alleged.

He said the employers were always a step ahead of students and win cases if taken to court as they have money to pay lawyers.

Mathew added that living an honest life was hard when in Northern Cyprus.

“I remember applying for a job at the university I study at.

“I told them about my situation that I had moved there with my family after being deceived and as such I needed more income. Only those who are well connected get the job. If you are living an honest life you get nothing.

“I had tensions with Martins, the guy who duped me, and he was connected with the university people and they made sure my life was difficult,” he said.

At one time, Mathew explained, life became unbearable when his wife had to undergo surgery to remove a swollen ovary.

“I had to go to work, and also take care of my wife, then go to school in the evening. It was hard and I was under extreme stress and scored bad grades that semester.

“Sometimes I worked half day so that I could take care of my wife. Because of this, I received half my salary,” he explained.

He also said the universities overcharged students on many occasions.

“When you query they throw figures around and apologise for overcharging you,” he further alleged.

Mathew added the situation was worse for female students as some desperate ones ended up in relationships with Nigerian and Turkish Cypriot nationals.

In worse cases, some of the female students allegedly prostitute themselves in bars just to make ends meet.

Mathew said his biggest regret in life was moving to Northern Cyprus and taking his wife along.

“Martins and his wife promised us that we would get jobs that would give us sufficient income to pay for fees and other needs.

“Martin’s wife told us that she was earning US$500 but after confronting her she said she meant 500 Turkish Lira,” he said.

He added that Martins and his wife have used that trick on many students giving them fake promises.

“They have a way of convincing you. They will tell you the university is going to give you a scholarship based on merit. Come the time, no scholarships comes. Actually the university devised a way of cheating the students by telling them everyone is on 50 percent scholarship,” he said.

Mathew added that they were also told that Northern Cyprus was an easy gateway to other European countries.

“They say it is easy to apply for visas. I have not seen other Zimbabweans who start from here moving there either to find work or even to visit. But when they lied back in Zimbabwe, students believed yet they were manipulating us to get a commission.

“Once here you do not see them. They avoid you saying they are busy; then switch off their phones. That is what Martins used to do here, after lying to parents.”

According to Mathew, many other students have been disappointed.

“Sometimes you are made to enter into contracts that are binding on you.

“You can’t move out of their contracts. If you say you do not want the contract, they will put the debt on your account. But they would have made promises to students that life will be easy and things are not expensive yet they are. They can easily breach their contract, you can’t,” he added.

He said the new political dispensation should ensure that agents that deal with tertiary education are registered with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.

“This brings assurance to parents as they know they are dealing with genuine agents and agencies rather than those that are concerned with money.

“This reduces problems as they can be tracked, especially those who would have done wrong,” he suggested.

He said his wife was back in Zimbabwe and faith in God keeps him going under these tough conditions.

Case 2

When Thomas (names changed for fear of victimisation) was lured to study in Northern Cyprus, he thought his life would transform for the better.

He would finally get the education he had always dreamt of and fulfil his dreams of learning abroad.

Today, he says he is vulnerable and prone to exploitation due to deception tactics used by a Harare-based agency which dangled a juicy carrot at him and his parents.

“When I secured a place, I paid $250 visa fees through the agency only to realise later that it costs $60.

“I was told to pay an extra $300 for transport from the airport and after staying in Northern Cyprus I learned that universities provide a free shuttle for all its students. I could not recover my money from the agent,” he said.

He said upon arrival in Cyprus, all hell broke loose.

Before leaving Zimbabwe his parents had been told to pay a deposit of $1 000 to the university, the minimum required to process a visa through the Turkish Embassy in Harare.

“Once the visa was approved, our group of 20 left Zimbabwe for Northern Cyprus. I was happy to go there. We were all clad in branded T-shirts of the agency that facilitated our move to Northern Cyprus,” said Thomas.

Reality sunk in when he arrived in Northern Cyprus.

“I was given between three days to one week to register and pay up annual fees. Four other students in our group were treated the same. Our fees were 5 000 Euros and this was not conveyed to my parents before I left the country.

“This was my initial shock. We were thrown out of boarding facilities as we were not paid up.

“We were told that we would only attend class and access dining facilities after paying up,” Thomas added.

As a result, he and two other Zimbabweans looked for an apartment to rent as they sorted out the fees issue.

“The rental facilities required six month’s advance payment. We did not know what to do. We looked for three more Zimbabweans so that we could split the rent. The landlord complained that we were too many. It was a difficult time and I thought of coming back home,” he added.

He said he got a construction job, where he was paid a wage, but not enough to clear the debt he owed the university.

“I borrowed money from a Nigerian loan shark. The debt has grown. He is holding on to my passport and will only return it when I repay the money and all the penalties,” he said.

Case 3

When Rudo left home, she only had one dream, to get quality education.

Her move was facilitated by a local agency and she left Harare on a flight with six other students.

“Upon arrival, we were told that the money we had paid was just a deposit to secure a place. We were given a few days to stay on campus as we sorted out the fees issue. After a week we were told to leave. They needed 7 000 Euros,” she said.

Rudo says she came across female Zimbabwean students who had been affected by this before.

“One of the ladies I will call Naomi told me the way to survive was to date rich Nigerian and Turkish Cypriots men. I had no choice, at some point I could not even afford sanitary pads. I would tear T-shirts which I used as pads. Jobs were hard to come by. I had to pay rent, eat and the university wanted their money. The Nigerian guy I hooked up with paid my rentals, but this was not all for free. He demanded sex even when I was in class. He would call me. Sometimes he would also pimp me, that’s how he recovered his money,” she said.

She also said life was extremely hard, but she cannot come home as yet. She still owes her university money and they are holding on to her original academic certificates.

Case 4

Mary comes from a wealthy family and her story is rather different from others. Her journey since leaving home in 2016 has been smooth. She sought the services of an agency in Harare who processed all her paperwork.

“Upon arrival in Northern Cyprus, I received my student letter from the university. I also stay on campus and do part time jobs just to earn a bit of my own money. My father sends money every month end and he also pays my fees,” she said.

She, however, said the situation with other female students was sad.

President of the Zimbabwe Students Union (ZISU-CIU) Cyprus, Mr Collete Ruzive said universities in Cyprus, like many world institutions, outsource their advertising to agents and agencies in that country and abroad.

“There are good and bad agents and agencies that sell dreams. Just like in marketing, there are ethical and unethical marketers. But the universities have websites, people normally just want to run away from Zimbabwe and do not pose and sober up to do research and match expectations to realities. But through social media platforms like Facebook, people can inquire from people on the ground and alumni who have been there,” he said.

He said the main problems students face in Northern Cyprus have been to do with challenges most had back home.

“When most thought they ran away, those challenges followed. Cyprus is a small Island with no industry of any sort, but mainly strives on tourism and education. So preference for the few good jobs that come goes to locals and all the dirty and donkey work remains for students. These include construction and farm work,” Ruzive said.

He said the working conditions were extremely bad with no protective clothing. He also said students work up to 12 hours per day for a small wage.

“It’s not easy to get part-time work here. With that backdrop, many Zimbabweans who come with ulterior motives other than education have their hopes dashed.

“Some Zimbabwean parents send their children here with the hopes that they will work and fend for themselves and that’s almost impossible here,” he said.

He added that being a foreign student means they rely much on support from back home.

“So if things are well for parents, they would be well for students in foreign land. Government has put plugs on sending of money outside Zimbabwe. Parents have to buy foreign currency on the black market at high rates. Think of what young girls will end up doing if a parent fails to support her,” he said.

He said some students have been assisted by organisations like Careshare, a group of fellow students.

“Careshare collects food, sanitary pads, clothes from the haves to assist the have not’s. In worst cases, the society calls for donations to raise airfares so that those who are stranded can return to Zimbabwe,” he said.

How agencies benefit

A Zimbabwean national Ralph James Martins who is based in Northern Cyprus left Zimbabwe in 2015 and is believed to have recruited more than 500 Zimbabwean students getting a commission for his role.

Information gathered by The Herald revealed that each company or individual who brings a student to Northern Cyprus Universities is paid between 10-15 percent of total money the student would have contributed towards studies.

This has compelled agents to lie to students about the realities of life in Northern Cyprus.

The agents also deceive parents and guardians and students of merit based and sibling scholarships which they say are awarded to students that will study in North Cyprus and that students can easily get jobs during studies.

Some greedy Zimbabweans based in Northern Cyprus and have connections also allegedly take stranded students whom would have found their own way there and register them as having been facilitated by them.

As a result, the university authorities give those agents a commission for the role.

At these universities, tuition fees are charged depending on degree programme and on whether a student is using boarding facilities which range from economy, standard to upmarket flats and apartments.

Since the boarding facilities attract different costs, agents usually opt to place students in high value apartments in order to obtain more from the percentage payment that the universities give them per student.

At some point, the universities misrepresented that they will offer merit based and sibling scholarships but nothing of that sort is delivered upon arrival.

The merit based scholarships are purportedly given to outstanding brilliant students and the sibling scholarship is for students from the same family.

Zimbabwean students also go through rigorous medical checks that include HIV, tuberculosis and herpes.

Those found positive of any of the three diseases are immediately quarantined while awaiting deportation while those who pass the tests get a student letter they use to get student visa of $150 per year.

Students who fail to raise fees for the semester are allowed to defer studies by freezing the semester and pay 250 Euros for that first semester in order to resume studies.

A further 500 Euros will be charged for the second semester before student is struck off the register. Students end up paying 1 550 Euros for the semester so that they clear fees arrears including accommodation and dining facilities they would not have accessed.

The universities also allegedly hold on to students original academic certificates until they pay up their outstanding arrears.

Some students have been promised sibling scholarships which never materialised.

The most affected students are orphans who would have sold inherited properties to travel and become destitute on arrival and never attended class in the past three years.

The majority of stranded students whose parents suffer from social pressure also hail from high density suburbs.

ZAOGA church pastor, Hillary Mwale who is based in Northern Cyprus has also been helping more than 300 Zimbabwean students who attend church in Kyrenia Town.

If they could, the students would reset time and go back to the day they chose to study in Northern Cyprus.

Image credit: http://www.iliteentgroup.com

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.

 

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.

Why 92% of #Twimbos think Robert Mugabe University is a misplaced priority

92% of Zimbabweans on twitter think that the proposed $1 billion dollar university in honour of  Robert Mugabe is misplaced, according to our poll.

Here are some of the reasons why citizens are against the initiative:

However, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Prof Jonathan Moyo justified the Robert Mugabe university saying:

Furthermore…

The few who sympathised with cabinet’s decision to grant quarter of the nation’s budget to build the institution said:

See more below:

The essence of culture and heritage: identity

“There is need to share with young citizens and educate them about heritage and culture as symbols of national identity and common wealth for all ethnic groups …”

by Tsungai Mhungu

People seem to forget who they are, the basis of their identity and where they come from. Change is bound to take place but continuity of culture is essential, it is heritage.

You will see that as a particular culture becomes unique, it becomes important and a marker of identity of that one group while other cultures are swept away by change owing to exchange of ideas and new preferences in terms of lifestyles in a global village.

However, no matter how prevalent change is, the word culture or heritage can never be swept away. What only lacks is the practical part, hence heritage awareness and education becomes critical

Promoting heritage awareness is equally important as safeguarding our identity. Raising Heritage and Cultural awareness has become vital especially in a fast globalizing world that we now live in and which threaten the survival of these two aspects of our social fabric as a country and as Africa as a whole.

We all know what it means when we talk about a global village, where some cultures are becoming less important and fading away as people are adopting foreign cultures and disregarding their heritage.

This could be because of uneven distribution of heritage awareness and other heritage programs across Zimbabwe owing to criteria, variability in resource availability and accessibility to different areas of the country.

This, however, is a challenge that can be curbed with dedicated effort and resources including professionally trained heritage personnel.

It is common and generally known and, may be, accepted that remote areas are less prioritized and far much disadvantaged in terms of accessibility of critical Heritage and cultural information.

It should be of concern that the urban counterparts of the remote areas have an upper hand than the later because of easy access to and availability of information, technology and heritage centers which allows them to learn more about heritage than their remote colleagues.

Usually culture and heritage are looked at from a touristic point of view (their value to outsiders) and not from conservative point of view where priority is given to posterity (so that future generations also enjoy the heritage) than their economic merits or striking a balance between the two.

This is a language only known to professionals but should be shared to all stakeholders of our cultures and heritage so that it becomes vivid to them the value of what we are trying to protect.

The provisions of the 1972 and 2003 UNESCO conventions are tools that need to be embraced and put into practice because of their recognition of the significance of heritage and the dangers that are posed by both natural and cultural events.

awhyf 2016.png
The Inaugural African World Heritage Youth Forum in Roben Island, Cape Town-2016 is an example of efforts to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage of outstanding universal value in Africa.

I understand that Zimbabwe is a member state of the UNESCO and ratified the conventions that seek to protect culture and heritage.

This therefore suggests that heritage awareness and education is remedial to our concerns as heritage professionals.

As a country we should also learn from activities like the Bosnian heritage awareness program with the Foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHWB) to show the importance of heritage for a better future.

Our concern as Heritage Professionals is further exacerbated by the recently introduced curriculum which includes Heritage studies.

With the same appreciation and respect for this initiative by the ministry of education to promote heritage and culture in Zimbabwean schools, especially faced with the fast globalizing world where heritage and cultural principles are fast being washed away and disappearing, there is, however, the need for the professionally trained heritage teachers to undertake this initiative.

The status quo in this field is inopportune taking into cognizance that heritage studies teaching stuff is borrowed from other disciplines such as History.

This under mines the very same goal that the ministry is trying to archive and also undermines heritage facts that are being compromised by the opinionated dissemination of data to students.

Our goal is to promote culture and heritage.

Culture and heritage are most important in defining a country’s identity.

It is therefore critical at this stage to engage professional heritage and cultural practitioners to equip teachers with authentic and professional information so that students are prepared not only to sit for culture and heritage studies exams with confidence but also to raise conscientiousness in students and youths in general towards culture and heritage.

There is need to share with young citizens and educate them about heritage and culture as symbols of national identity, common wealth for all ethnic groups and liberation heritage.

Such endorses national unity, Heritage laws of Zimbabwe, global laws and conventions as well as the national heritage and cultural custodian, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and other organizations that play pivotal roles in culture and Heritage.

The bottom line is that preserving our national heritage safe guards our identity as a country.

Featured Image: Amagugu International Heritage Centre.

 

UZ Chancellor AU donation could have paid fees for 2000 students

Press Release|Zinasu Information Department| University of Zimbabwe

President Mugabe’s 1 million dollar donation to the African Union which sent tongues wagging this week could have paid school fees for at least 2 000 students, the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) has claimed.

This comes after medicine students recently held protests over their inability to pay high fees at the University of Zimbabwe(UZ), leading to the arrest and detention of several student leaders, among them Zinasu spokesperson Zivai Mhetu and UZ Students’ Union treasurer  general Ignatious Mukwichi and secretary for sports Kudakwashe Guta.

President Mugabe, who also doubles as the UZ Chancellor, could have used the 1 million to pay fees for 2 000 struggling students at the biggest university in the country if he really had their plight at heart, Zinasu spokeperson, Mr Zivai Mhetu, said.

Not more than a week ago students were up in arms at UZ because they are unable to pay the increasingly unaffordable tuition fees only to hear that their Chancellor is giving away 1 million dollars to the AU as if he has dealt with all the problems affecting people in his own country.

“Donations should be made by the Bill Gates of this world who have more money than they can spend not Heads of States of impoverished countries whose citizens are wallowing in abject poverty and absolute misery said Mhetu”

Fees for general programmes at UZ were around five hundred dollars meaning that had he chosen to, Mugabe could have paid fees for at least 2 000 students at the institution, many of whom are being forced to defer their studies or drop out completely because of their inability to pay fees.

Countless students are being forced to drop out of school, not at the UZ alone but countrywide. It is against this background that we have been clamouring for grants and loans. But instead of giving us grants and loans the Head of our government and all State Universities is busy dishing out money to international organizations as if he is a one-man donor agency competing with the US-Aid.” said Mhetu.

Students at the tertiary level in Zimbabwe have been dropping out of school en masse due to economic hardships with Zinasu claiming that 12 000 students dropped out of school countrywide in the first quarter of 2016 alone.