Teachers are crucial nation building tools

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WE are celebrating our 35th year anniversary of independence.
We are celebrating our triumph, the restoration of our dignity as a people among the nations of the world.
We are celebrating the defeat of an evil force which said we were a blighted people, there to eternally serve a foreign people that had used the gun to rob us of our land and wealth.
Our liberation means that kodzero dzomunhu oga-oga, dzakashingiswa kusvika pokupedzisira.
Therefore when I enter the classroom that is my message, I want each young Zimbabwean, each little one to feel that they are very special persons of worth because that is the truth.
I am there to teach them that they are of intrinsic worth and nothing can diminish or rob them of that.
So when I teach I look for each special gift in each child because there are plenty of them and I nurture these gifts so that they bloom and I let each one of them shine and then their light shines on all of us and we all are the richer.
This means that I teach with passion, I am enthusiastic about my work, I am in love with my work, and my pupils, and I aim to make my students fall in love with themselves as special persons of worth, with their work and with me as their teacher.
As independent Zimbabweans, we are very busy on something, there is something that we are building that is very special, we are building a very great nation.
To build something very special, you need very special building materials and the teacher is privileged to be the architect of these very special building materials.
So the moulding of these very special stone bricks to build a very special nation is in the hands of the teacher.
That is why the teacher must be very much in love with his work.
Each child that is loved by its teacher blooms as a person, each child whose special competencies are unearthed and perfected with the help of the teacher feels very proud and very confident and so these bricks are nicely shaped and are ready to build us a great nation.
The consciousness to build a great nation, a very special nation, must be very deep within the teacher.
It is not something that the teacher can just stumble on, it is something that must be cultured within him so that by the time he gets to the classroom he is a special tool for nation building.
During the colonial days, those days when we were under the yoke of the British armed robbers, our teachers inspired us in a very clear and focused manner.
They made us realise that we were learning under the nose of a very cruel regime that aimed to crush each African beneath its heel so we had to beat it at its own game and make it, and excel no matter what.
These were humble teachers who taught us as we sat on mud mounds covered with reed mats, these were our benches.
They taught us bravely in the back of the beyond with minimal comforts and measly payment, but they never forgot that we had to make it, we could not afford to have the armed robbers define us and condemn us.
Thus they fought Chimurenga chavo, they refused that sons and daughters of Zimbabwe should be relegated to the periphery by the usurpers, the armed robbers.
They succeeded, we felt their zeal, their fire, the love in them, that we should never unmake it.
They had a very clear vision, and we ensconced, their vision was that; “we have been driven into a corner by them who have stolen our land and we should fight,” and we fought together with our teachers and with our parents.
Many of us fell by the wayside, the parents sometimes never had the money, the curriculum was so inimical to us some could never ensconce, and the system itself was designed to eliminate more than 80 percent of us from the education system.
But still some survived, beat the system and when the system could not offer them further education, they thronged universities in the neighbouring countries and overseas.
Thus we beat the enemy at his game and we figured out what was going on.
So our teachers helped us because they had a vision and they taught us passionately so we could attain the goals of this vision.
Still today, as we celebrate 35 years of our freedom, the teacher needs a vision that says, ‘in each child is what we need to build a great nation’ and if the teacher can arouse this and make each child fall in love with themselves and their abilities, we will not fail in this very special project.
Aluta!
Dr Mahamba is a war veteran and holds a PhD from Havard University. She is currently doing consultancy work.

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