George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
ZIMBABWEANS should stop thinking like Europeans and instead be proud of their identity by drawing inspiration from the country’s rich historical legacy, President Mugabe has said.
In his acceptance speech after being conferred with an Honorary Doctor of African Heritage and Philosophy by the Great Zimbabwe University yesterday, the President said it was unfortunate that in the 1980s the British claimed that he thought like them.
The President said contrary to such posturing, he would remain a Zimbabwean and an African through deeds and words.
“They said publicly in the 1980s that the problem with Mugabe is that he thinks like us (British), goodness me! How can I think like them? I will be a rotten thinker to think like them.
“They even do not want to say that they themselves think like Africans, no! They want to say Africans think like them.
“They think their right is to rob others of their resources and I don’t think like them, I am not British, I am not a colonial product because I am a complete Zimbabwean, an African who does not think like the British.
“I think that Africans are entitled to sovereign control over their resources and have the right to shape their own future.’’
President Mugabe said people should continue fighting to control their God-given resources to stimulate development.
He said Zimbabweans were supposed to have a sense of entitlement when it came to controlling the country’s vast natural resources.
President Mugabe took a swipe at imperialistic Western nations for trying to impose their own culture on Africans during centuries of colonial rule.
He said Zimbabweans were supposed to use their unique identity and skills to engender development.
“Let us use Zimbabwean skills, let us be proud to be Zimbabweans, wherever you are, speak as a Zimbabwean and remain true to yourself as an individual as you, you, you, you, who is different from them (former colonisers),” said President Mugabe.
“Act as an individual who has his or her own skills nurtured by circumstances as a Zimbabwean.
“All of you as Zimbabweans must have that common identity that makes you believe that you are entitled to the environment around you and its contents, those contents of the environment, the resources, the riches, you have got the sovereign right to control them because of that common identity and sense of belonging and you have got the right to fight for that which is God-given.’’
President Mugabe said Zanu-PF adopted a new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) which he described as a careful elaboration of the revolutionary party’s election manifesto whose theme was Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment.
He said the Zanu-PF manifesto had been refined and elaborated in Zim-Asset with four all-encompassing clusters namely Food Security and Nutrition, Social Services and Poverty Reduction, Infrastructure and Utilities and Value Addition and Beneficiation.
President Mugabe said the clusters would be prioritised by the new Government with effect from this month.
He said Zim-Asset could not be fully realised unless Zimbabweans were firmly grounded in their culture and heritage.
“As highlighted earlier, the strong link between culture and development is widely accepted world wide.
“As Government, we are fully aware that the goals we have set for ourselves in Zim-Asset cannot be properly and fully realised unless as a nation we are firmly grounded in our culture and heritage.
“For us, Africanness is founded on Unhu/Ubuntu philosophy to which we must commit ourselves and in everything that we do.’’
President Mugabe said Government would continue to support the Great Zimbabwe University in its quest to become a regional centre of excellence in culture and heritage studies.
He said the university was supposed to provide leadership in research, documentation, publication and practical training in arts, culture and heritage studies as well as main-streaming Zim-Asset into curricula across all levels of Zimbabwe’s education system.
President Mugabe said he was caught by surprise after the Great Zimbabwe University decided to confer an Honorary Doctoral Degree in African Heritage and Philosophy on him.
He said the honorary degree had a very special meaning to him personally and a symbolic meaning to all Zimbabweans because of the country’s rich history, which he regrettably said some of it had been lost because it was not recorded.
In the citation for the award of the honorary degree to President Mugabe, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Dr Olivia Muchena said the GZU council had conferred the honour in recognition of President Mugabe’s colossal contribution to the repossession, consolidation, advancement and safeguarding of African heritage and philosophy in Zimbabwe.
Dr Muchena said President Mugabe initiated the ideological re-enactment and intellectual re-alignment, positive reception of African history and philosophy and liberation of the mind and reclamation of African values in independent Zimbabwe.
She said President Mugabe deserved the award for consistently and vigorously championing the liberation of Zimbabwe and managing to win against all odds in the face of forces of imperialism and colonialism.
Dr Muchena said Great Zimbabwe University, with its niche of being a centre of culture, arts and heritage studies, was the brainchild of President Mugabe who pushed for the creation of such an institution of higher learning to promote culture and arts development in Zimbabwe.
The conferment of the honorary degree was witnessed by top Government and Zanu-PF officials among them Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.