Today, the nation celebrates the Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, a holiday that coincides with the late founding President’s birthday.
Various activities have been lined up nationwide to celebrate the day.
Prior to November 2017, the day was widely celebrated as the 21st February Movement, albeit not as a State holiday.
The 21st February Movement was formed in 1986, by the Zanu-PF Youth League under the leadership of then Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Webster Shamu.
Like or hate him, former President Mugabe remains an astute politician, nation builder, father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and grandfather.
The holiday is to thank him and a clear statement that our history should grant him a proper place and acknowledge his stature as one of the founders and leaders of our nation.
Born in Kutama Village, Zvimba, on February 21, 1924, former President Mugabe was to become the founding father of the nation of Zimbabwe in 1980, first as Prime Minister and a few years later as President.
He died on September 6, 2019 at the age of 95, leaving behind a legacy of African humanism, liberation, patriotism, vision and black empowerment, among other things we should cherish today.
As we celebrate this holiday, we should remember that the day bids on youths to be respectful, responsible, patriotic, hardworking, honest, God-fearing and visionary as they morph into the future leadership of the country.
It calls for youths to shun violence, drug abuse, laziness and many other vices and instead focus on nation building, innovations and protection of the legacy of the liberation struggle and its founding principles.
And, indeed focus on feeding into the gains of independence such as land reform and empowerment projects.
It calls for youth to grow and develop a sense of belonging and ownership of the country’s future and help build the Zimbabwe they want.
It calls for the youths to interpret Government policies and projects and feed into the process leading to the attainment of Vision 2030.
The youth are the future.
Either they become part of the process leading into future prosperity of the country or they are left behind to rot and sink into crime and drugs.
But the youths are not alone.
Parents in particular and adults in general should guide the youths into unity of purpose, into nation building and indeed into defending the values, the ethos and the vision of the country.
Outside this, former President Mugabe and all the national heroes and heroines who sacrificed for this country, some paying the ultimate price, might turn and twist in their graves with anger and disgust that the country has gone off the rails.
Those who lie unburied in valleys and mountains, those who lie is shallow unmarked graves, deserve respect from the youths and that respect should manifest through hard work and good behaviour.
As we celebrate National Youth Day, we should bear in mind that Zimbabwe was borne out of a protracted struggle where many lost life and limb.
We must never forget that we have one country and that the onus is on us to work for the prosperity of our country.
Going forward, the youth should spend their energy in feeding into Government projects, helping the country go forward in terms of catching up with the rest of the world.
They should use technological changes to help the nation grow and not spend their time drinking beer, smoking banned substances, thieving and mischief making.
This is their day and indeed they should prove to the nation that they are worth a whole day declared a holiday for them.
The best they can do to pay back the founding fathers of the nation as represented by former President Mugabe is to promote his legacy; the legacy of selfless leadership, of commitment and dedication to the nation.
That way former President Mugabe’s legacy can be preserved.