WYA members in Zimbabwe on FIRE!

World Youth Alliance First visit to Zimbabwe

June 5th to 9th July 2007

The Dignity in Leadership Seminar was facilitated by Winnie Kivenyo Beauttah in Harare, Zimbabwe on 7th July, 2007. The seminar was well received. All the members were happy with the issues that were discussed at the seminar.

The position that members in Zimbabwe hold about the seminar is that we should continue to have such seminars because we are no longer the same. We have been made anew; we are new beings with a different way of looking at human dignity. We learnt and we shall forever remember that human dignity is intrinsic, inviolable, inalienable, and as such it cannot be given or rescinded by any individual or community. We now understand more than ever that human dignity is the foundation of every human right and not vice-versa. You were unequivocally clear that it is human dignity that grant human rights and that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and should as a result act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. 

It is equally important at this point in time to say that the example of the clenched fist remains indelibly written on our memories. Why? This is largely a result of the fact that most of our members thought that violence was a positive way of defending human dignity but after the seminar we came to the realization that Dr Martin Luther King Jr was not lost when he said that "Returning violence for violence breeds more violence". According to him, violence breeds more violence thereby begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. We now understand that non-violent means are the ones open to us so that we won’t be violators of human dignity in the process of defending this fundamental possession.

We especially liked the example of a poor man stealing from the rich to help the poor. In the eyes of man it sounds to be good to steal to help the poor but you clearly pointed out that as individuals living for and within the truth we differ from animals in that we have a mind, intellect, will, capacity to know what is good and what is bad, to make but a quick, short list which could be extended many times over. Animals base their actions on instincts. As a result we cannot justify the unjustifiable-stealing because it is a bad and evil way of doing the right thing. In other words, you emphasized honesty and truthfulness. This makes sense especially when taking into account the very fact that the world we live in is replete with selfish individuals who are concerned with piling riches for self aggrandisement as opposed to being concerned with the welfare of the people.

When addressing young people in South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela once said that: The road stretches before us, we can be sure of obstacles small and large on that road. An eighty-five year old can do much to help us advance but in the end, it is you-the youth- who hold the future of this country in your hands. You repeatedly reminded us that we are today’s leaders and ever since that time we now know that we have a pivotal role to play with regards the issue of creating free and just societies. You also provided us with a number of individuals who inspire the work of the World Youth Alliance – I believe I have already mentioned two in this report. The other one is Mahatma Gandhi.

These are important people who wanted to see change in their societies. We learnt the fundamental lesson that we ought to be the change we wish to see in society and that change begins with the individual. You rightly pointed out that change does not come when we expect other people to act whilst we become mere spectators. To this end, I am proud to say that we, no longer are the mere observers of change, but we are makers of it. In other words, we want to further the work of the alliance in Zimbabwe by being role models-champions of all the ideals we believe in. We want to live the ideas we have about the human person. Not a distorted view of the human person. We understand that the human person is free and that there is need to have meaning and purpose in life for us to live longer.

The reference to Viktor Frankl empowered us and this is a clear indication in itself that the seminar was a worthy cause. We are hoping to continue working with you in future engagements. You trained us to engage with the social world and to change it for the better.

May the Good Lord bless you all in the work you are doing.

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Report by,
Mutsa Murenje
World Youth Alliance Representative in Harare – Zimbabwe