Let’s instruct our children not to recite the national schools pledge

When we were still in high school, I had a Jehovah's Witness friend and classmate who would never sing the Zimbabwe national anthem - due to his religious convictions - and would just keep quiet when everyone else was singing.

girls in rural school settingThis was brought back into remembrance by the delay by the courts in hearing the case brought before it by concerned parents, who are questioning the constitutionality of the Zimbabwean government forcing pupils to recite the schools pledge – in which they pledge allegiance to the national flag.

Whilst the nation waits for the case to be heard in court – possibly at the end of June – parents can, in the meantime, do something else – instruct our children not to recite the pledge and to just keep quiet whilst it is being recited by those who have no problems with it.

I believe that this will also inculcate in our children a sense of standing up for what they believe in – no matter the consequences.

The nation of Zimbabwe needs the new generation to be one that knows and appreciates the rights and responsibilities bestowed upon the people of Zimbabwe by the Constitution, and be willing to fight for these.

Our children have to go beyond merely understanding the so-called ‘children’s rights’, but embrace all the fundamental human rights, as enshrined not only in the country’s Constitution, but also in the various bodies that Zimbabwe is party to, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN).

They have to fully comprehend all the charters and conventions, and protocols that the Zimbabwe government has ratified.

This generation should be able to question the government on all matters of human rights, and be willing to stand up for them – as not teaching our children these fundamentals will only result in another oppressed generation that can not stand up for itself.

Whenever we are in our homes, let us – as parents – be the ones in the forefront of teaching our children these values – schools will never do it, since they are part of the Zimbabwean government’s oppressive system, as witnessed by the imposition of the pledge.

Let us use every opportunity with our children – from a very young age – to open their eyes to the gross injustices and oppression that the people of Zimbabwe are being subjected to by the ZANU PF government.

Let every family time, meal time, TV time, pleasure time, be an opportunity to reach our children on these issues.

These should not be moments of whining and whinging about how life is so difficult in Zimbabwe, but truly instructive moments where we teach our children so that they fully comprehend what is happening in Zimbabwe, and what action we can take to change the status quo – no matter the consequences.

Let them read and study the Zimbabwe Constitution, so as appreciate the avenues available to them in order to make their demands be heard, and also to effect peaceful and democratic regime change.

They can also be encouraged to research – via the Internet (Google) or the local library – the various SADC, AU, and UN human rights conventions.

This country needs the young ones to be part of the struggle for positive change in Zimbabwe.

We should not make the mistake of keeping them out of the struggle, as they are very much part of it.

Remember, even during the liberation struggle, children as young as 14 years crossed the country’s borders to join the combatants.

Our children need to also have the same attitude.

We can not afford to just let them exist in oblivion as the struggle the people of Zimbabwe are engaged in.

It is their country as well, and it is their future that we want to ensure is bright and full of opportunities and hope – and they have to be part of that struggle.

This is their true patriotic duty.

They have to understand that patriotism is not about supporting ZANU PF, but doing everything in ones power to bring positive change to Zimbabwe.

In fact, ZANU PF’s destruction of the country and the suffering it has inflicted on the people is the gravest act of unpatriotism.

As such, their refusal to recite the schools pledge would be part of that struggle.

Let us not just command them not to recite the schools pledge, as that is counter productive, but we need to sit down with them and clearly explain the malicious intent of the ZANU PF government in forcing pupils to recite this schools pledge.

Let us fully open the channels of communication with our children so that at the end of the day, they will be part and parcel of the struggle – and prepared to stand up for their beliefs.

At all times, parents should remember that the ZANU PF government had already started brain-washing our children in schools through a very skewed and distorted Zimbabwean history syllabus.

Our children are slowly, but surely being ‘Zanunised’ in our schools, and the schools pledge should be the last straw.

We, as parents, can, therefore, not afford to just sit back and relax, as if everything is normal.

Everything is not normal!

It is now up to us to teach our children the true history of our nation.

It is also up to us to teach them exactly what is going on in our once vibrant and great nation – the jewel of Africa.

We can not allow ZANU PF to steal our children whilst we watch with folded arms.

We have a responsibility towards our children – a God-given responsibility, and we have to carry it out diligently, so as to ensure that they have a brighter future which they can fight for and defend.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcome any feedback. Please feel free to call/WhatsApp; +263782283975, or email: [email protected]com

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