‘Grundnorm’ for youth essential

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WHEN launching The Patriot last month in Harare, the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Heritage Trust, Mr Simplisius Chihambakwe, dwelt at length on the Grundnorm. The Grundnorm is the spirit that binds a nation together. It is the aggregate of values and norms that give the nation an identity. It is a spiritual beacon which can be partly defined by Hunhu/ Ubuntu. For Zimbabwe the Grundnorm is enshrined in our national flag and all it symbolises. Our Grundnorm lies in our ancestors and in our heroes who laid down their lives in defence of this nation. Mr Chihambakwe further described the Grundnorm in the German nation, in the American nation, and many other nations. Yes, the Grundnorm encapsulates everything that The Patriot stands for. This is no praise singing, but these words reflect exactly what we believe in and what we seek to achieve at The Patriot. In these few words he summarised everything we stand for. We seek to rekindle this Zimbabwean spirit, to restore confidence in ourselves, build Zimbabwean ethos and we want to be ourselves in the family of nations and not to apologise for what we are. And it is this spirit that The Patriot seeks to engender in our people especially our youth. After losing spiritual bearings over the last years, we must restore a sense of purpose and patriotism in our nation, especially among the young people. Patriotism is a national trait that is cultivated by every nation the world over. How it should be cultivated is another question, but what is imperative for Zimbabweans in particular is to realise that somewhere in our language, our proverbs, our customs, our folklore and our history lies our ‘Grundnorm’, our identity. This is a message that should be elucidated to and embraced by youths as the future generation of this country. It is said we are custodians of our own identities and as Zimbabweans, building a Grundnorm for our youths is a critical aspect of our evolution as a nation. All young people need guidance, direction and support from the older generations and it is through explaining our values and ideologies to them that they may be nurtured into real patriots who believe in their own country. The Rhodesians ushered the Boy Scout movement as a measure to inculcate British values among youths and the movement still exists in Zimbabwe. The cornerstone of Scout Law was ‘God save the Queen’ and every young person was loyal to the British Crown. It is this same spirit that we must infuse in our youths. Is it not logical for Zimbabwean youths to celebrate and cherish their country’s heritage, glory and achievements in the way we see fit? Should they be blamed by those with malicious hidden agendas for ‘serving with loyalty’ Zimbabwe? Should they forget about their pasts and throw away national ideals out of the window because of the infiltration of Western cultures and norms? We learn from our pasts which the likes of United States of America Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray wants us to forget. Our tradition and heritage as Zimbabweans should never be compromised. Any values that promote and instill Hunhu/Ubuntu should be entrenched in the hearts of Zimbabweans. Taking pride in being Zimbabwean and prioritising national ideals while fully serving the country should be encouraged among youths. Serving the country is an obligation for everyone who takes pride in being Zimbabwean. It is in this spirit that we must clearly spell out our values, national ethos and vision for the future to build a Grundnorm for our youths. So it is in this spirit that we must constantly reflect and pride ourselves as a nation. Critics of The Patriot will always exist, but should we apologise for telling the truth about what happened in this country before and after independence? We have a Grundnorm and we are proudly Zimbabwean!

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