For most students and universities in South Africa, the political situation in Zimbabwe could serve many lessons on how to achieve decolonised education and deal with the issue, among others, land redistribution. These were some of the views that were recently addressed at a public dialogue entitled “The Political Situation in Zimbabwe” at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Kingsway Campus on 15 February 2018.
Ms Elinor Sisulu (Director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Board) chaired the discussion, while Dr Jabusile Shumba (a Political Economic Analyst in Harare) delivered the address, and Professor David Moore (from UJ – who wrote an obituary on Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai: heroic herald of an epoch foretold), serving as the discussant.
This discussion was inspired by the recent introduction of a new political dispensation in South Africa’s neighbouring country Zimbabwe, and the recent passing of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Ms Sisulu argued that South African universities would not achieve the full potential of implementing a decolonised education if the country lacks the involvement of intellectualism from other African nations. She pointed out, however, that the same can be said about Zimbabweans. “They need to become more conscious about human rights issues in Zimbabwe, especially regarding the reports on Gukurahundi, Dumbutshena, Tibaijuka and others, like South Africans are vocal about Marikana,” she said.
Political Science students at UJ, posed a number of poignant questions from the floor. Some asked why African countries continue to elect old Presidents and whether this has resulted in slow development in African nations. Other questions posed were whether South Africa can learn from Zimbabwe particularly on the issues relating to land redistribution, and whether Tsvangirai’s death would have influence in the opposition party’s leadership and the politics of Zimbabwe, and whether the two new Presidents of South Africa and Zimbabwe could establish a relationship privy to economic growth.
Speaking on the new era in Zimbabwe, Dr Shumba said, “The future of Zimbabwe might be destined to be in ZANU-PF hands not just for the foreseeable future, but beyond the foreseeable future (unless the opposition gets its act together). The dominance of the military and its war veteran allies in Zimbabwe politics is destined to continue for the next generation or as long as the liberation war generation is alive and politically active.”