Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day is celebrated every year on February 21 to commemorate the country’s first prime minister, recognize youth’s contributions to the country’s development, and encourage young people to adopt good leadership values. Did you know that Robert Gabriel Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 30 years, from 1980 to 2017? R.G.M. National Youth Day is part of the February 21 Movement, which began in 1986. It became a national holiday after Mugabe was forced to step down as president. Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day is a public holiday in Zimbabwe, where businesses and schools are closed to commemorate the day.
History of Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama Mission hamlet, Southern Rhodesia, to a carpenter father and a Christian catechist mother. His revolutionary mindset was cultivated in the local Jesuit mission, where he received his early education under the direction of the mission’s head, Father Jerome O’Hea. In 1941, Mugabe received an acceptance letter for teacher training at Kutama College. Mugabe left Kutama in 1945 after completing his teacher training and began teaching in schools throughout Southern Rhodesia. He was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa in 1949. He was exposed to nationalist politics and Marxism during his stay at university. Mugabe earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Zimbabwe in 1952.
Between 1953 and 1960, Mugabe taught in schools in Northern Rhodesia and Ghana while also taking correspondence courses for Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science in economics. After returning to Northern Rhodesia in 1960, Mugabe fully launched into politics. He was a member of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) before breaking away with other supporters to form Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) due to the leader’s (Joshua Nkomo) lack of willpower. In 1964, Mugabe was arrested and spent the next 10 years in prison. After he was freed in late 1974, he worked with Nkomo, the leader of the Patriotic Front (P.F.) of Zimbabwe, to launch a guerrilla war against the Rhodesian government. The civil war lasted until 1979 when the British agreed to a change over to Black majority rule. The British-supervised parliamentary election was held in February of the following year and ZANU, led by Robert Mugabe, won with a resounding victory.
Mugabe served as Zimbabwe’s first prime minister from 1980 to 1987. He amended Zimbabwe’s constitution in 1987, establishing a one-party political system. He became Zimbabwe’s first executive president and remained in power until 2017, winning subsequent elections through violence and intimidation. On November 15, 2017, Mugabe was ousted from power in a coup d’etat and replaced by his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. On November 27, 2017, during his inauguration, Mnangagwa announced February 21, Mugabe’s birthday, as Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day timeline
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is born to Gabriel Matibiri and Bona at the Kutama Mission village, Southern Rhodesia.
Mugabe’s party, ZANU, wins the parliamentary election by a landslide, making Mugabe the country’s first prime minister.
The military ousts Robert Mugabe from power, ending his rule.
The new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, proclaims February 21 as Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day FAQs
Was Robert Mugabe a good man?
Before starting his political career, Robert Mugabe taught in different schools across Northern Rhodesia. But after he became a politician, he used any means possible to help Zimbabwe gain independence and stay in power as prime minister and then president.
Where is Mugabe originally from?
Mugabe was born in Kutama Mission village in Southern Rhodesia. His parents were from the Zezuru clan, a branch of the Shona tribe.
What are the achievements of Robert Mugabe?
Mugabe is mainly known for his efforts in helping Zimbabwe gain its independence from the British, putting an end to colonialism and white majority rule.
How to Observe Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day
Learn about the rise and fall of Robert Gabriel Mugabe
The name “Robert Mugabe” is synonymous with Zimbabwe, and the country’s history is not complete without mentioning him. Learn about Robert Gabriel Mugabe's rise to power and the events that led to his decline in popularity and final downfall on this Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day. The Wikipedia entry on Robert Mugabe is a great place to start. After that, you can check out Britannica and biography.com.
Campaign against injustice in the system
Like Robert Mugabe, you can become a revolutionary — albeit a peaceful one — and campaign against issues of injustice in the Zimbabwean system. That can include illegal detention, poor prison conditions, and unlawful or arbitrary killings. You can join efforts with organizations like Amnesty International or start up your local organization dedicated to these issues.
Volunteer as a tutor
Before venturing into politics, Robert Mugabe was a career teacher and lecturer. If you want to emulate his early life, you can sign up as a volunteer tutor to help educate underprivileged children in rural Zimbabwe. If you’re a Zimbabwean, you can research local communities with low teacher-to-student ratios. Check which organizations operate in these communities and apply as a volunteer tutor. If you’re a foreigner, you can sign up to volunteer abroad with one of the many international not-for-profits focused on Zimbabwe.
5 Amazing Facts About Zimbabwe
It has the most official languages
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, holding the Guinness World Record for the country with the most official languages.
It has the world’s largest waterfall
Victoria Falls, shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia, is the largest waterfall in the world, stretching over 5,600 feet.
It has the world’s largest artificial lake
Lake Kabira is the largest artificial lake and reservoir in the world.
It was a multi-currency country
During the height of the country’s inflation, Zimbabweans abandoned their local currency and started using foreign currencies, including the South African Rand, Botswana Pula, and U.S. Dollar.
It has five UNESCO World Heritage sites
These UNESCO World Heritage sites include Khami Ruins, Great Zimbabwe National Monument, Matobo Hills, Victoria Falls, and Mana Pools.
Why Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day is Important
It recognizes Robert Mugabe as one of the founders of Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe was one of the major contributors to Zimbabwe’s independence. Together with figures like Nkomo, Mugabe brought the economy of Southern Rhodesia to a standstill, forcing the British to the negotiation table. He also led the diplomatic efforts to end British rule and a changeover to black majority rule.
It encourages youth to participate in socio-economic development
One of the main goals of National Youth Day is to create awareness about the importance of youth participation in issues of socio-economic development. Zimbabwe's youth account for over 67 % of the country's population. As a result, all young must participate in economic development activities and introduce growth-promoting innovation.
It encourages the government and stakeholders to engage with youth
R.G.M. National Youth Day promotes youth inclusion in issues of national growth, including politics and the economy. It also urges governments and stakeholders to discuss and develop solutions to youth development problems.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day dates