Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba benefits varsity, college and vocational training students Some of the traditional dishes prepared by students from universities, colleges and vocational training centres yesterday during the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba programme at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College which was organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa at the invitation of tertiary students from Harare Province.

. . . invite First Lady again

Tendai Rupapa
Senior Reporter
IN response to the growing demand for her teachings, students at universities, colleges and vocational training centres in Harare Province yesterday invited First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to bring her Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programme to them for the second time.

The students first met the mother of the nation in November last year.

Young people are at the mercy of social media, which has brought with it efficiency in communication and social challenges as well.

Social media and Westernisation were pointed as major reasons why children have lost morals.

Students who attended yesterday’s teachings, which were held in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols, were from the University of Zimbabwe, Catholic University, Women’s University in Africa, Msasa Industrial Training Centre, St Peter’s Kubatana, Danhiko, Belvedere Technical Teachers College and the Zimbabwe Open University.

Also in attendance were those from the Harare Institute of Technology, Seke Teachers’ College, Harare Polytechnic and Morgan Zintec.

The interactive and lively Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba lessons during which learners were allowed to ask questions, were delivered with help from experts in various fields brought by the First Lady.

Students staged a play showing uncles teaching nephews on courtship in the traditional way.

They also performed another play that demonstrated how today’s youths were abusing alcohol, engaging in prostitution and “blessers”, then another side showing well-mannered children who went through the First Lady’s Nhanga/Gota/ Ixhiba programme and how it had been helpful.

The play featured another couple which was always fighting because the wife refused to bath, while she was also a bad cook, showing the importance of the First Lady’s Nharirire Yemusha Programme, which targeted parents.

The students prepared a variety of mouth watering traditional dishes.

The male and female students were taken through lessons separately before they later regrouped for a main address by Amai Mnangagwa, who is leaving no stone unturned in the search of answers to challenges bedevilling today’s youths.

While the First Lady and other elderly women were in the Nhanga with the girls, boys were having their discussions and teachings with male experts in different fields.

Talking to the girls, the First Lady said: “Today we want to leave you knowing all the factors that mould a human being. We want to share ideas on how to build you, our children in tertiary education.

“Life is what you choose to do, so we want you to follow the path you want. In your life, what kind of person are you in terms of morals?

“Is the boy you have chosen as your future husband morally upright? My children, I want you to know that the education and profession you will choose is your first husband who builds your foundation before you look for a life partner. Today, there is nothing to be ashamed of, feel free to say and ask anything. Kuna Amai hakunyarwe.

“Children are being ruined by drugs. Choose the correct path and shun peer pressure. You know what you came here for when you left home therefore leave out friends who teach you bad things.”

Amai Mnangagwa had in her entourage, experts on issues such as courtship, social media, dressing, identity, rights, health and drugs abuse.

Elderly women, who represented aunts and mothers-in-law, were also there.

One of the panelists, Mrs Birgitta Matengenzara, spoke on identity and the need for people to strive to always do good to earn a good name.

“Your identity in society, is it a positive or negative identity? When people write about you, what will they write? Will they write good or bad things? We want to build your identity today.

“Our mother, the First Lady, cares for you because she wants you to do dignified things. In the homes when given fees by parents, some children will shut themselves in the bedroom and not even show gratitude.

“Some universities have gained notoriety for children who are mischievous. This is caused by behaviour and your identity as boys and girls. If you were a mineral, how would rate yourself?” she asked.

Audrey Mujuru said she rated herself as a black diamond because “it’s the most expensive”.

“I value myself because my ways and behaviour are clean,” she said.

Amanda Chipeperekwa, who likened herself to unpurified gold said: “I rate myself as unpurified gold because I notice that there are one or two things that need to be corrected in terms of my character.

“I am happy that Amai has come to talk to us and mould our characters which will fix where I was coming short.”

Mrs Matengenzara said she was proud of the girls because they knew their identity and were truthful.

She encouraged students to choose friends wisely, and not to put themselves in bad situations.

“If you make mistakes, correct them. If you are married and still in college, appreciate that you have a husband and do not be fooled by peer pressure,” she said.

The second panelist, Mrs Valeria Pinjisi, a counsellor and pastor, started by quoting Proverbs 22:6 which stresses the need to train children.

“Your greatest value as a girl is to have a good track record because in future you shall be a daughter-in-law, will you be accepted if you are known for loose morals,” said Mrs Pinjisi.

“To those who are still to be married, focus on your studies and enter the marriage institution as empowered girls. Some men will not allow you to go to school once you are married.

“Some girls refuse to perform household chores and say their mothers are abusive and bad, but what you do not know is that they are training you to be good wives where you go. Don’t be taken so cheap by men who demand sex before buying you a sweet. This is degrading. Let us appreciate our parents and what they are doing for us. Some mothers wake up in the dead of the night daily to raise your fees but you scold them because they would have failed to give you a nice hairdo like your friend.”

She said society has many expectations, adding that bad friends erode one’s manners.

“Take Amai’s programme seriously and embrace the teachings she has brought,” said Mrs Pinjisi.

The Sunday Mail editor Mrs Victoria Ruzvidzo spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of social media and praised the First Lady for making efforts to mould youths.

“Almost half the world are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Tiktok, among other social media platforms,” she said.

“We do not want social media to be destructive but to build us. It has its effects and the choice is yours to choose the good and the bad.

A student recites a poem praising Amai Mnangagwa’s initiative of restoring national dignity and values through the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba, Nharirire Yemusha and other programmes.

“On advantages, social media puts the world in our hands meaning it has its own right side. We are up to date with news because of social media, online learning is made possible by social media, especially in this Covid-19 era, it also connects us with friends but the question is, the person you are connecting with, are you aware of their character?”

Mrs Ruzvidzo asked the girls to add other advantages of social media, and many said it helps them to market their businesses, job searches and learning other cultures.

On the bad side of social media, Mrs Ruzvidzo emphasised: “It can be a serious negative influence, human trafficking is high due to social media, it may lead you to following bad habits, cyber bullying which is traumatising and causes depression.

“Some people commit suicide because of social media. It dilutes our culture, influences bad dressing, forces you to commit crimes to suit what others are posting wearing on social media, but what you don’t know is, they will just be keeping up appearances with clothes which are not theirs.”

The girls were asked to add more disadvantages of social media, and they spoke about cultural decay, saying what is good for other countries is not always good for others.

They added that social media was destroying marriages too.

Amai Mnangagwa then took the children through a hilarious session on courtship.

“We want to prepare you so that when you go to your homes, you are not sent back by your husbands. When you see a guy you intend to marry, what qualities do you look for,” she said.

One girl drew laughter when she said she would want someone who was just like her father.

“I want someone who is like my father, on the way he handled our mother and his family. Our father barely beat up our mother. He actually was like an aunt who taught us morals,” she said.

Another girl said she was orphaned at a tender age and she found someone who showered her with love.

“When I got married, I looked for someone who was loving because I was orphaned at a tender age and I was looked after by relatives who sometimes ill-treated me. I neither experienced a father nor a mother’s love so I wanted someone to bridge the gap,” she said.

The other said she was blinded by love and ignored red flags which are haunting her now.

“I later learnt that we do not eat love, yet I could see that my boyfriend was lazy, but I ignored this until we got married,” she said.

In jest, the First Lady said the girl’s response showed that “one should not fall in love, but stand in love”.

The girls were also taught on the advantages of shunning “blessers” and focus on their education.

On the boys side, which was taken through teachings by Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, Deputy Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Raymore Machingura, Professors, Deans of students and other men, a lot was leant.

Representing the boys, Hillary Mutyiri thanked the First Lady for rolling out the programme which contained a lot of laudable life lessons.

“We were taught to respect the family tree, courtship that is the process of courtship and what is expected, the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Mutyiri.

“We were taught that we are young adults who are at a confused and dangerous stage hence should make our choices wisely.

“We were taught to be dignified people as this determines our future. We were taught to be principled and follow the proper marriage channels and the household chores expected of a son-in-law at his in-laws’ home among other teachings.”

Deputy Minister Machakaire described the First Lady’s intervention as beneficial to the nation.

“The First Lady’s programme was embraced countrywide. The students asked her to bring it back to them as they felt they still needed to learn more from her. Amai is teaching children dignity and good manners.

“We want our children to learn so that they can be leaders of tomorrow. Children must not run into early marriages and sexual activities which sometimes leave them healthy compromised.

“We implore her to continue going around to ensure our children stay off drugs and concentrate on things that build their lives,” he said.

Deputy Minister Machingura said the Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programme dovetailed with the thrust of the heritage-based Education 5.0 curriculum.

Evans Kagurabadza from Msasa Industrial Training College said the First Lady had struck the right chord by engaging youths.

“The First Lady’s programme is good and I am happy that it has come in handy because we were getting lost. As boys we no longer follow the values of old and when we leave home we come at our own time but in the olden days, people were given time and we would be beaten for coming home late.

“Some fathers also have girlfriends and send children with groceries to their girlfriends. As his children, what is that father teaching us? Girls too were doing bad things in the knowledge of their mothers and this caused problems in families. Amai has brought her programme so that she moulds us in the right path. We are grateful that she accepted our second invitation,” he said.

The First Lady later addressed all the students and those who had gathered at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College and said though she understood that the times had changed due to technological advancement, there was need to hold on to cultural values that make the country uniquely Zimbabwean and African.

“Moral values and principles are universal regardless of ethnicity and religious orientation. It is important to impart wisdom in our youth to instil a sense of self-awareness so that they do not stray from the right path. These days, moral decadence is at its climax and we are losing a lot of our youths to drugs, teenage pregnancies, alcohol abuse and delinquency,” she said.

Technological advancement, the First Lady observed, had made the world a singular global village where information about other cultures was at the tip of one’s fingers and children had fallen prey to this.

“I am also privy that education has exposed you to different philosophies and theories such as radical feminism, individualism and modernism.

“Most of you have absorbed these values and made them your own. This has found our youth lacking in terms of self-identity and originality because we are deviating from the foundations which are definitive to us, that of our traditions and cultural ethos of Unhu/Hunhu/Ubuntu.

“We are now a hybrid of cultures due to contact with other foreign cultures. However, we can curb this hybridity by applying our ancient values to tally with the current globally advanced environment we find ourselves in. let us return to source that our ancestors used to obtain their wisdom from,” she said.

The First Lady told the youths that they could still learn the right path of through Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba lessons because moral values were not limited to a certain period but could transcend all eras which have passed and those to come.

“I look forward to more invitations from the tertiary sphere, not only from Harare Province but from all other nine provinces in the country.

“This programme is ongoing nationwide even at district level in a bid to whisk our children away from the path of delinquency,” she said.

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