Zimbabwe rebranded – the hope for the future

Daniel Molokele loves Zimbabwe. Even when he is in Johannesburg, a thousand miles away, his home remains special to him.

Daniel Molokele is committed to making Zimbabwe great again.
Daniel Molokele is committed to making Zimbabwe great again.

Chairman of the Global Zimbabwe Forum, Molokele’s ambition is to return to a prosperous nation. He reckons that this could be achieved if he and millions of fellow exiles helped to restore the country’s status as the bread basket of Southern Africa. The starting point, he believes, is to market it as an economic, rather than a political package.

“Zimbabwe will be great again,” he says with conviction. It took a decade to bring the country to its knees, but the lawyer is convinced that it would take less than three to revive it.

“We have many professionals outside the country. Our aim is to get them on board. We need to forget politics a bit and present a new economic package.”

Warrior nation

The Hwange-born Molokele is confident that the GZF, an organisation that draws membership from across foreign bases, can best drive his agenda. Launched in 2007 and headquartered in Geneva, the organisation wants to attract investment from both Zimbabwean exiles and international companies.

“Historically, Zimbabwe was never known to be a warrior nation, but drew much of its fame from trade. That is the status we want to revive.”

The country’s political situation has given it a “tarnished goods” status, but Molokele said this could be changed.

“We will re-brand and present it as a new country. My dream is for every Zimbabwean to feel proud that they come from this wonderful nation – the Great Zimbabwe. Once we take our country from the last name in the alphabet mentally, it will be easy for us to move forward,” he said.

Emulating his host country, where “Proudly South African” is a vehicle to promote trade and investment, he has steered the GZF into adopting “Great Zimbabwe” as the new brand.

“We are a great people from a great nation and we all have to believe that. From the days of Munhumutapa, Zimbabwe has been known to be a trading nation. Even its colonisation was done under the British South Africa Company as a way of advancing business interests. We have been down in the dumps for long and it is time we rise again.”

His activities are the continuation of a dream Molokele had as he grew up in the hot mining town of Hwange, 296 km north of Bulawayo.

“When I grew up, my parents taught me to appreciate who I am and take pride in it. That rubbed into love for my country and I will never hide my identity as a great Zimbabwean,” he adds.

Born Fortune Mguni on January 31, 1975, Molokele has risen to prominence as a pro-democracy human rights lawyer. He inherited leadership qualities from his now late father, Godfrey Majahana Mguni, a career trade unionist and prominent community leader in Hwange, being elected as the Workers Committee Chairperson between 1979 and 1994.

The elder Mguni, who was also a key leader of both the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, passed on in September 2003. Molokela's mother, Jane Mpofu, is a retired career educator who specialised in pre-school education.

Keen on reclaiming his original family identity, Molokele assumed his new name in 2000. His father's family only started using the Mguni surname after the death of his grandfather in the early 1970s.

The name-change helped him re-unite with his father's original people, the Molokele clan in Mafikeng, South Africa, in September 2004. Molokele began his activism as a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe between 1997 to 1999. He is respected for being a visionary and principled leader. He is studying for his third law degree, but the quest for a successful Zimbabwe remains deep-rooted in his mind.

Diaspora support

He is instrumental in the recently-launched Diaspora Education Support Initiative, which seeks to promote the active role of the Diaspora in pushing the country’s education system to world class status.

“The initiative was inspired and motivated by members’ patriotic duty and their appreciation and love for our beautiful motherland, Zimbabwe,” said Molokele.

“The initiative shall be a loose network of various organisations based in the Diaspora community. A Co-ordination Committee will also be a public interactive platform for the Ministry of Education to engage key stakeholders in the education sector, both in Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora.”

The forum will comprise radio, television, public meetings, debates, and internet-based social platforms.

A trust will be set up in Zimbabwe under the Ministry of Education. It will be the official public platform to link stakeholders and facilitate public donations from exiles to the education sector.

Features of the initiative include the Zimbabwe Adopt a School Project, meant to create support linkages between the Diaspora community and selected schools, which will receive financial and material support from the Diaspora community for a specific period.

“Some educators will be assigned to specific schools or colleges in Zimbabwe for some specific periods on a voluntary basis, there will be opportunities for those based in the country to be assigned outside to gain international exposure. The programme will be implemented in partnership with the relevant departments of the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders in the education sector in Zimbabwe,” added Molokele.

Trade and investment programmes also remain in place, which if achieved will see a better, more prosperous country.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis
  1. Mary-Ann West

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