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    Friday, 23 August 2019

    Our silent church

    12 August came and flew by. How many of us here in Zimbabwe know that 12 August is International Youth Day (IYD)? Designated by the United Nations through Resolution 54/120 in 1999 the first IYD was celebrated in 2000. The main purpose of this day is to draw attention to youth issues particularly cultural and legal ones in order to uplift their lives as a vulnerable group. Some major areas of concern include sexuality, peace and security and climate change. The theme for 2019 is “Transforming Education” with special emphasis on making it inclusive and accessible to young people particularly to young people living with disabilities. It is reported that worldwide more than 262 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 are actually out of school and these include girls, the disabled and children living in conflict areas.
    Zimbabwe may not be a conflict area in terms of warfare but we find ourselves having our own peculiar conflicts as a politically polarized nation that is ‘at war’ with itself where property is destroyed during demonstrations and civilians are severely beaten up, injured and shot dead. In this kind of scenario we find politicians using young people to further their political agendas. They are sent out to campaign often using intimidating and violent means to gain mileage. Youths can also be used during wars when they are either forced or motivated to fight as patriots fighting for their country. The sad thing is that after being used they are dumbed by the roadside while politicians march on to claim their ill-gotten prize, a prize they will enjoy without caring much about the people who supported them and enabled them to win it. 
    As we transform education in the light of this year’s IYD theme we need to highlight the need to open young people’s eyes to possible abuses that they can be subjected to by greedy adults. Young people should be able to play their role in terms of ensuring peace and security for all citizens in the country instead of being used by political parties that may be seeking to gain votes or keep themselves in power without caring much about them. Hence we see political leaders getting richer and richer while the youths get poorer by the day. A lot of youths left their homes, jobs and schools to fight in the liberation struggle spurred on by their spirit of nationalism and self-sacrifice. However how many of them can claim to be enjoying the full benefits of their sacrifices?
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