Today I join hands with fellow youths from all corners of the world in commemorating the International Youth Day. This is an important and special day on our calendar as it awards us with a fantastic opportunity to recognise the efforts of the young people in nation building. It is a day we take to raise awareness on issues affecting the youths in their everyday life. We also take this day to reflect on the gains made thus far with regards to youth upliftment as well as gaps that ought to be closed.
This day comes at a time when Zimbabwe is going through momentous crises, circumstances which have consistently placed the youth on the receiving end. We are slapped with poverty exacerbated by high unemployment levels. Corruption is also mutilating all prospects of development, this has culminated in few individuals fattening their pockets at the expense of national progress. Education and health care have become inaccessible yet the quality continues to deteriorate by each passing day. These are some of the several challenges directly confronting the Zimbabwean youths.
This agglomeration of issues clearly indicate that the youths in Zimbabwe are subjected to suffering and in the same vein it is a call for unity in order to change the fate. Youths constitute the greater part of the population yet they remain relegated to the peripherals of decision making and development. This in itself is an anomaly which has been systematically perpetuated by the old guard occupying the corridors of power in the present day. Given this reality, every young person must feel challenged to stand up, shape and secure a positively different tomorrow.
It is not by mere coincidence that this day falls on the same day with the heroes’ day commemoration. It is in fact a strategic reminder and signal that as today’s youth, we have a generational mandate to save our country from destruction due to continued misgovernance. As we also on this day, reflect on the spirited fight that was pursued by our elders during the liberation struggle, we must learn from their sacrifice and be encouraged to do more for our beloved country. The heroes we are celebrate today, took it upon themselves when they were youths to challenge their tormentors and liberated themselves. Regrettably, 39 years later, the then liberators have become suppressors and our supposed to be mentors.
This is the sad story of the youths in Zimbabwe but it is also within our capacity to transform this sad story to a joyous one. We have a duty to protect our country from further demise for this is the only place we call home hence we can’t fold our hands when both our present and future are being robbed. Let’s embrace unity and exercise our constitutional rights at any given moment to fight for what is right. More importantly let’s embrace peace and shun all forms of violence.
Happy International Youth Day!
Happy Heroes’ day!
Tererai Obey Sithole
MDC Youth Assembly Chairperson