Pamela Shumba Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda has urged Zimbabweans to preserve their culture, saying social media is posing a serious threat to the identity of most Africans.
Lt-Gen Sibanda said social media had become a dominant phenomenon that seriously affected the promotion of different cultures in the developing world.
He was speaking yesterday at the inaugural Culture Day hosted by more than 1 000 ZNA recruits at Imbizo Barracks in Bulawayo under the theme, “Instilling patriotism through culture”.
The recruits are graduating today after completing their training.
“A people without a culture are indeed a people without a soul,” said Lt-Gen Sibanda. “The contemporary trends in which social media has become a dominant phenomenon is posing a threat of loss of identity for people in the developing world.
“Cultures of powerful nations have been marketed through Western-owned media platforms while the people from Third World countries become inevitable consumers of these marketed products. Consequently, Africans have to some extent become carbon copies of our erstwhile former colonisers.”
Lt-Gen Sibanda said it was sad that some dehumanising practices such as homosexuality, which were once a taboo in most African communities, had gained a foothold in African countries, including Zimbabwe.
“Such practices are brought into our communities in the name of civilisation, which is a shame to our people,” he said. “We should all guard against foreign domination of our minds so as to effectively defend our norms and values.
“Our culture is an embodiment of people’s lives. It’s through organising culture days like this one that people, especially the younger generation get educated on the importance of upholding cultural values.”
Lt-Gen Sibanda said the ZNA has decided that each and every course will have culture packaged in it.
“The inclusion of culture will help underscore the importance we attach to culture studies. This also goes to complement the introduction of culture studies in primary and secondary schools as per the new curriculum.
“The culture day also affords the military the opportunity to interact with the civil community.
“As soldiers we come from the people and it’s through programmes like these that we show respect and reconnect with the custodians of our culture,” said Lt-Gen Sibanda. He emphasised the need for soldiers to be conversant and knowledgeable about the country’s different cultures to enhance appreciation of other people’s culture as there is culture in diversity.
Lt-Gen Sibanda said he was impressed by the way the recruits exhibited the lifestyles and cultures of Zimbabwean people from different tribes through song and dance, as well as artefacts they use in their daily lives.
Chief Sigola and other traditional leaders, Government officials, businesspeople and ordinary people attended the event.