Zimbabwe National Students Union wishes to take this opportunity to belatedly commemorate the International Day of the Students.
It is indeed critical and noble that once a year, the world comes up together in solidarity with the Students and their role in the advancement of humanity.
Over the years students have been known world over as initiators and executors of revolutions.
It is a time to reflect on the indelible marks student life leaves in one’s life. A time to look at the contribution of the ordinary student in nation building and the shaping up of the global village.
It is also a time to look into the challenges that the student is facing in their quest for knowledge acquiring.
It is critical that this day comes at a time when ZINASU has been making giant strides towards the restoration of relevance and vibrancy in Student Governance at different campuses in and around Zimbabwe as evidenced by the massive victories in the just held Students Representative Councils at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) and Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE). It is indeed with confidence that ZINASU can declare that we are back at the top of the mountain with nothing more than the mandate and zeal to serve and lead the students’ struggle. We can affirm with confidence that Victory is Certain at the Midlands State University (MSU) whose elections were postponed while we led and at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU). We cannot mention SRC Elections without mentioning the records shattering performance of one of our very vibrant female cadres Nyaradzo Hanyani at BUSE who became the first and only Zimbabwean student to garner 2000 votes in an SRC election.
We commemorate this day at a time where the need for a Consolidated Higher and Tertiary Education Act is becoming more and more evident. An HTE Act will among other things repeal the draconian and repressive pieces of laws that infringe and subjugate the rights of students, reducing them to servants, if not slaves in institutions they should be seen as the chief stake and stockholders. Academic freedom will remain a pipe dream without a Consolidated Higher and Tertiary Education Act.
The commemoration of the International Day of the Student comes at a time where students are the biggest victims in this comatose economy and abysmal financial environment. The life of a student is becoming harder each day and less and less affordable. In the midst of all this, we are hammered and left to dry by the continued commercialisation and commodification of education in our institutions of Higher Learning. Fees is becoming exorbitant, while students are increasingly being punished for being poor.
As we commemorate this auspicious day, we need to pause and reflect on a very worrying statistic in Zimbabwean students lives. Of the 10 recorded students deaths this year, 4 were a result of suicide. This goes a sad long way in showing the need to pull up our socks in fighting depression among students. As Zinasu, it will be a great thing if we encouraged each member to be everyone’s friend and constantly check on each student in a bid to avert the loss of life to depression.
As the world turns digital, it is incumbent on all of us as students to seize the moment and take the leading role in the fourth industrial revolution, holding fast to the ideals of the Social Democratic Revolution lest we let neoliberals and capitalists take charge and dictate the pace and direction for us and lead us to eternal condemnation. Every student needs to take charge and be an avid reader and researcher as we seek to take control of the social, political and ideological trajectory of Zimbabwe, the region and ultimately the world. In line with Fanon, ours is a generational mandate to define and protect the Zimbabwe and the Africa we want, nobody will do it for us.
As we conclude we would like to call all students, conscious of their revolutionary mandate to remain the voice of the voiceless, that the struggle for academic freedom and indeed the struggle to liberate black people and africans in particular is NOW!
The struggle is our Birthright
Victory is Certain
Archbold Elias Madida.
ZINASU National President.