The Sunday News
Vincent Gono, Features Editor
COMMEMMORATIONS for the National Youth Day are going to be held virtually this year with a number of programmes lined up for the two days that the celebrations have been spread under where youths stand a chance of securing technical and financial support from Government for their showcased innovations.
The celebrations are going to be held virtually in line with the Covid-19 pandemic regulations that do not permit big congregations. The theme for this year’s celebrations is, recognising and appreciating young people’s contribution to the national efforts to combat Covid-19.
In a statement the Minister of Youths, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Kirsty Coventry said the country was going ahead with tomorrow’s celebrations that would be capped by an opportunity for young innovators to showcase their work to Government and stand a chance to secure technical and financial support. The showcase that will be livestreamed is spread over two days from 25-26 February.
“This year’s National Youth Day will provide young innovators from all walks of life an opportunity to showcase their work to Government and stand a chance to secure technical and financial support for their innovations,” she said.
The ministry through the Zimbabwe Youth Council, National Arts Council, Sports and Recreation Commission, and the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe said it has lined up an online, two-day, fun-filled and enlightening programme to celebrate National Youth Day. The ministry said as the country celebrates the National Youth Day it was aware of the changing global trends that were also shaping the needs and experiences of young people.
“As we celebrate our youths, the Government of Zimbabwe is cognisant of the ever-changing global trends and with it the needs and experiences of young people. The National Youth Day is a window of opportunity for engaging young people, to hear their views and opinions, to create dialogue with Government aimed at bridging intergenerational gaps, and most importantly to act on the needs of every young person,” said the Minister in a statement.
She added that the country had not been spared from the devastations of the coronavirus disease of 2019 that impacted on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Zimbabweans particularly the youths.
“Young people who lead active and adventurous lives have been impacted the worst by the global pandemic.
Ironically, as the world adjusts to a new normal where ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) have become the answer to the demands of daily activities, it is the resilience, easy adaptation and innovativeness of young people that is called upon,” added Dr Coventry.
She said it was encouraging that despite Covid-19 and all other challenges, the youths have been showing an appetite to grow the country and drive it towards the vision of an upper middle-class economy by 2030.
“This year’s celebrations will seek to capture the voices, actions and initiatives of young people to combat the pandemic and its effects to retard socio-economic development. Zimbabwean youth have over the years showed an insatiable thirst to make this country a great place it is; they are innovative, valiant and brilliant.”
She said Government was proud of the youths and would take full advantage of every opportunity to provide young people with opportunities for growth and participation in the broader national economy.
The 21st of February is National Youth Day. The day started as 21st February Movement in 1986, by the Zanu-PF Youth League, to commemorate the principles and ideals that former President Mugabe stood for.
It was proclaimed and instituted by President Mnangagwa in 2017 in order for the nation to recognise and celebrate the contributions made by the youths throughout the history of the country as well as for the young people to recognise and emulate the leadership values which include patriotism, self-sacrifice, hard work, respect, dignity, compassion, among others which former President Mugabe stood for.
On announcing the holiday, President Mnangagwa said the former President needed to be given the respect and recognition he deserved as one of the founders and leaders of Zimbabwe. Since then, the day has been commemorated annually and the youth in Zimbabwe have embraced this day as an opportune moment to celebrate the fruits of a long and hard-won independence and to reflect on their commitment to national development.