We must never apologise for  learning new ways, says President President Mnangagwa

Address by President Mnangagwa at the 61st Africa Day commemorations

Fellow Zimbabweans,

Today marks 61 years since our visionary Founding Fathers took a collective and defining decision to unite the peoples of Africa, deliver our beloved continent from the shackles of imperialism and racist colonial subjugation.

On this important day, we also commemorate and celebrate our African heritage thanking Almighty God for a beautiful continent that has plenty of resources which are more than sufficient for our well-being and prosperity.

Africa Day, therefore, gives us another opportunity to reflect on our past and plan for a more prosperous future for all. As we do so, we honour the fact that the freedom, independence and democracy we enjoy today, in our country, and across the African continent, is a result of the selfless sacrifices of the gallant sons and daughters of Africa.

We pay tribute to living and departed heroes and heroines, some whose remains still lie in shallow graves across the African continent.

The contribution of the many revolutionary African icons, remains indelible. These include Kwame Nkrumah, Edwardo Modhlane, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Seretse Khama, Leopold Senghor, Ben Bella, Abdel Nasser, Patrice Lumumba, Dedan Kimathi, Nelson Mandela, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, among others.

Their vision and sacrifice liberated Africa and created a solid ground upon which, today, we deepen our unity and build, development, modernise and industrialise our countries, for a higher quality of life for our people.

Zimbabwe is forever grateful for the military, financial, material and humanitarian assistance as well as the political and diplomatic support that we received from across the continent and beyond.

Today, we, thus, join them in celebrating this sacred day as a united people of a great Continent.

Our country is emboldened to continue entrenching our flourishing constitutional democracy.

We remain a free and independent people who are masters of our own destiny. Zimbabwe also stands ready to defend the unity, freedom, independence, peace and the sovereign rights of our country and that of Africa as a whole.

Looking into the future, we applaud the adoption of the 2024 African Union theme and I quote “Educate an African Fit for the Twenty-First Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa.”

Education must steer Africa towards the achievement of Agenda 2063. This timely call to action, therefore, presents an opportunity for us, the Member States of the African Union to combine efforts for the accelerated implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 4.

This is more critical as our Continent is home to the youngest and most vibrant population in the world. The youth dividend should be harnessed to realise sustainable development, industrialisation of the continent.

To achieve this, the deliberate deployment of science, technology and innovation to empower the youth and our communities has become urgent and important.

It is in this respect that Zimbabwe, under the Second Republic, has transformed our education system anchored by the Heritage based Education 5.0 philosophy which is driven by a robust innovation ecosystem.

As the African continent and a nation, we must never apologise for learning new ways and unlearning the old ways of doing things.

Our education must be relevant and speak to the needs of our societies and economies. It is through a science, technology and innovation-biased education that we will realise our National Vision 2030 and the Africa we all want.

Gone are the days where we approach the world with begging bowls for aid, with its attendant conditionalities. Africa’s collective experience in politics and economic development is testimony that it is none but ourselves who have the burden to move Africa forward.

We must innovate and implement solutions that will see us becoming a nation and an African Continent able to feed itself. Let us endeavour to produce all the products and goods we use. Equally, today’s contemporary challenges and opportunities must be met with boldness, determination and the same resolve that saw our forebears victoriously fight for our liberation and independence.

Similarly, the negative impacts and challenges of climate change, energy deficits, and infrastructure gaps should be adequately addressed by ourselves, the peoples of this great continent.

The burden to build our respective countries and the “Africa we all want”, rests solemnly with us. Partners and investors are welcome to assist us; but we must define our course; we must chart our own destiny.

Fellow Countrymen and Women;

Africa has come of Age and we celebrate the numerous positive achievements realised to date.

The emerging continental and regional architecture under Agenda 2063 such as the Africa Free Trade Area, the Peace and Security Council, together with our African Financial Institutions, and trade bodies, among many others, are reflective of what can be achieved when we work with unity of purpose.

These have also set a solid foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Zimbabwe will continue to support the strengthening of these institutions for greater unity, peace, integration as well as accelerated modernisation, industrialisation and the realisation of our full continental potential.

As we work steadfastly for the attainment of the continent’s developmental goals set in our Agenda 2063, I call upon Africa to be guided by the philosophy that ‘Africa is built, governed and prayed for by its people’.

Fellow Zimbabweans;

The history of our struggles for independence across Africa needs to be fully recorded and preserved for posterity as a permanent reminder of the difficult journey that we have travelled. In this regard, Zimbabwe is proud to host the Museum of African Liberation, located in Harare.

The Museum will serve to capture, document and memorialise the seamlessness of the African struggle for independence.

We all have a duty to take ownership of our rich liberation history and the narrative of our past through the correct and afro-centric lenses.

I once again extend an invitation to all African countries and those who assisted in the liberation of Africa, to support and participate in this noble project on the Museum of African liberation.

In the spirit of African solidarity and unity, may I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the people of our great continent, for standing resolute with Zimbabwe, in calling for the complete and unconditional lifting of the illegal, unjustified and unwarranted sanctions imposed on us by some western countries. I wish to reiterate that “Zimbabwe is a Friend to all and an Enemy to None” and shall always seek mutual and cordial relations with all countries in the comity of nations.

We, however, remain aware of the ever-looming threat of neo-colonialist tendencies bent on reversing the socio-economic and political gains made by our country, Zimbabwe, and the continent at large.

This year’s Africa Day commemoration should see us recommitting to ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa” under our Agenda 2063 flagship initiative and pursuing more concertedly, the end of all wars, conflict, terrorism and violent extremism, on our Mother Continent of Africa.

In peace, unity and harmony, Agenda 2063: The Africa we want, is achievable.

Long Live African Unity, Freedom, Independence and Solidarity.

God bless Zimbabwe.

God bless Africa.

I thank you.

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