By Mbongeni Ncube
The students are believed to be the vanguards which have the ability to uphold the law and principles that define society, that future generation can live up to. This is a view shared by most ‘revolutional’ student activists who turn to use their student leadership position as a gate way to youth activism. Gift Ostallos Siziva and Rodwell Nyika, who both occupied position of influence in the student council in their tertiary institutions, used this ‘leadership card’ to tackle issue of youths in national development.
A view parallel with that of Richard Runyararo ‘Mkonto’ Mahomva, previously discussed in this blog series as a view based on nationalism, documenting and preserving the indigenous knowledge of our liberators.
The two former Student Representative Council presidents, Ostallos of University of Zimbabwe and Nyia of National University of Science and Technology (Nust), engaged the Nust students at a public lecture themed; “The importance of the academia as youth in development”
The young vibrant former UZ Student Representative Council president, Ostallos, used his past student movement experience, in the University shutdowns and #Tajamuka, to showcase its impact on his different take on politics. However, he warned “Most certainly the struggle we persuade should not be the same struggle that should be pursued by the current student movements because generations differ,”
During his time in leadership, the student movement was marked by a massive student protests that resulted in the University shutdowns. In March 2015, UZ was shut down for few days as the students protest intensified against the state to education.
“This mobilized about fifteen thousand or so students, who came to demand what is rightfully ours,” he added, also posing a question: “What is that?”
“Constitutionally, that is called the right to education, which is section 75 (b) of the constitution of this country, education should be free and funded by the government,” Ostallos added.
In a way, he said that the students become the vanguards that uphold the law and principles that hold society into being. He lamented “that informed our critical thinking in the heydays at the University of Zimbabwe. When the University was shutdown we went to court and it was opened within days after the engaged with the government.
Why because the student is a conscious class that is aware of the legal, social and political principles that found the society that they live in”
With the same sentiment on students participation, Nyika with the populist approach, of being a democrat and his charismatic way of using the bible and Martin Luther King junior quotes said that the students are “the right people to smuggle Zimbabwe from where are to where we want to be”
Nyika said, “In the end will not remember the words of our enemies but will remember the silence of our good friends”