THE liberation struggle left an unparalleled legacy in so many areas, the education sector is no less endowed.
There is a dream which the founding fathers of Zimbabwe held close to their hearts, a dream which they knew was the anti-thesis of capitalism.
It was a dream to liberate the young of the nation, one which would usher in a new era, an era in which the young would be imbued with the spirit of Zimbabwe and carry the mantle of Nehanda.
This dream was born in the hearts of all the young who left the country to fight and free Zimbabwe.
Alas thousands of them were too young to be trained to be fielded in the front.
Still they were ZANLA, ZIPRA, in their hearts.
They were taught who they were, Madzimbahwe.
They understood that they were the eternal owners of Zimbabwe, its custodians and its ultimate defenders.
They were taught that labour was the source of all human livelihood, they would know and practise to be self-reliant, to cook their own food, build their own barracks, make their own furniture, make their own uniforms, grow their own vegetables and look after themselves , thus own their destiny.
These youngsters would be the anti-thesis of colonial capitalist mentality, rejecting that anyone should claim ownership of their land by force of arms.
They understood that their destiny was in their hands and would not leave anything to do with their lives in anyone’s hands and thus dethroned the imperialists.
This education was born in schools in both Mozambique and Zambia and indeed brewed the best instruments for building a new land, free of white oppression, materially and mentally.
In these youngsters, in these schools, in their teachers, their researchers, their teacher trainers, the founding fathers of Zimbabwe knew they held an ace, one which the erstwhile colonisers could not defeat.
For this reason, at the attainment of independence, both ZANU and ZAPU decided to settle these youngsters in schools that were from the former colonial schools.
In these schools they continued with this liberated, liberating education, where their minds would continue to be free of the morass of colonial capitalism, of its decadent attitudes, values and feelings, of its elitism, separating theory and practice.
They set up eight schools, four for the schools from Mozambique and four with students from Zambia.
The Foundation for Education with Production (ZIMFEP) was instituted to protect the legacy from the struggle in these schools and oversea the spread of these ideas to the rest of the nation’s schools.
Each school was endowed with a farm by the state and the students and teachers ensconced, participating in building their own destiny, a mirror image of what the founding fathers of Zimbabwe desired, that they should build their Zimbabwe with their own hands.
Indeed, where there were no buildings they built their own schools just as they had built their own barracks, they grew their own food such as maize and wheat, baked their own bread just as they had grown vegetables and other food in the struggle.
They made window frames in metal work classes, they made stoves and hoes for use and also sold some of their productions to local communities.
They said goodbye to learning divorced from practice and production, they formed production units in which they pursued productive activities of their interest.
And when they left school they formed their own productive enterprises as co-operatives or individuals. The dream of the founding fathers was being realised
This was good and beautiful but before long the schools were beset with problems, they struggled on and it was very harsh, eventually the state stepped in and took over the schools.
The eight schools had been meant to the anti-thesis of capitalism in education which would then spread to the rest of the nation, but this did not succeed, the dream of the founding fathers stalled … but the ZANU PF, the merger of the two liberation movements did not forget.
In 2020, 40 years after the liberation of the country the party took over the schools.
The party immediately set to work to awaken the slumbering dream, to ignite the fire of the dream which would see our youths taking over their destiny instead of loitering everywhere with a useless elitist education mocking them wherever they go, sentencing to them to the colonial dream of hewers of wood and carriers of water.
Our children will no longer gaze, with longing, the riches of the nation which they can never access.
This must end, the party declared.
All learners were to be once more trained in both their minds, hearts and hands.
To be ideologically sound Zimbabweans, who know that they are the owners of this great country and should control their resources and produce their means of livelihood instead of being labourers working for others.
They must control the products of their labour, have a say in the distribution of the products of their labour, milk the cows and taste the milk.
On October 8 2021 this declaration came into effect, into realisation.
For two days over 300 teachers from ZIMFEP schools and from other schools which identified with this dream from the provinces of Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and the Midlands provinces, provincial directors of education and school inspectors from these provinces, converged at Dayadaya Institute, Zvishavane, for classes from the Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (ZIMFEP), and the Chitepo School of Ideology, to learn of the ideological foundation of this liberating education, and to be safely ensconced in the ideology of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe, which gave birth to this revolutionary education system.
Comrade Jorum Gumbo, the ZANU PF secretary for education officially opened the workshop, Comrade Munyaradzi Machacha, the principal of the Chitepo School of Ideology, as well as Comrade E, K, Chitofu, the director of ZIMFEP were in attendance.
The Chitepo School of Ideology classes corrected the fallacies in our history and politics, our concept of national security and sharpened the concept and vision of Vudzimbahwe.
The narration of the invincibility of Zimbabwe; the sacred land of Murenga which is ensconced between two rivers, the promised land from Musikavanhu left the participants riveted, ecstatic and demanding more to bolster their sense of self which has been starved for almost a century.
The workshop was a winner.
From October 15-17, about 500 teachers as well as headmasters, provincial directors as well schools inspectors from the provinces of Harare, Mashonaland East, Central and West and Manicaland also gathered at Dayadaya Institute in Zvishavane and were treated to the same historic moment. Cde Jorum Gumbo, was also in attendance and so was the newly appointed Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Comrade Evelyn Ndlovu who was the guest of honour.
The Zimbabwe Heritage Trust (ZHT)treated the participants to their epic productions ZANLA Comes To Town, Battle of Mavhonde, and Legends of the Second Chimurenga. Chimurenga flames were fanned to reach the skies, there were memories from the struggle, heart rending, uplifting heroic exploits of sons and daughters of the soil.
All wanted to take the films home to share with others, to continually hold these precious memories in their hearts.
The confluence of the ZIMFEP, the Chitepo School of Ideology and the (ZHT) crystallised into a historic moment that is still reverberating across the nation.
The dream of the founding fathers, of the nation, struck the deepest chord in the participants and they are looking forward to more, but there still are hundreds demanding to come for the very first round.
The people of Zimbabwe rose as one to fight to free their land in the first and second Chimurenga. The teachers of this day are cut from the same cloth. They are embracing and celebrating the rebirth of the Zimbabwe dream in education.