The University of Johannesburg Zimbabwean students’ society (Zimsoc) elected a new leadership team on Friday the 19th of May with a mission to strengthen and unify the society.
This occurred after an outline of the various achievements of the past year and several failures as illuminated by the outgoing administration.
Some of the achievements included the founding of a UJ Zim-centric magazine, UJ Zim, and the various partnerships created with other Zimbabwean societies from several universities around Johannesburg such as the University of Witwatersrand and Monash University.
The society, however, clarified that one of its major failures was not winning the International Festival of 2016 as a sense of collective approach in seeing and acting upon opportunities.
“Our aim last year was to be the best but the circumstances did not allow us to get what we want,” said Knowledge Chindoko, an outgoing President.
Another failure highlighted was the lack of support from some of the members as some were not able to pay their membership fees.
On the other hand, the newly elected members of the leadership team included President Anoziva Gumbie, Chairperson Floyd Mudzvova and Secretary Tatenda Jimere.
President Gumbie emphatically pointed out the lack of unity amongst some Zimbabweans within the University of Johannesburg (UJ) community.
“I feel as if we need to integrate the Zimbabweans students not only at UJ but all over South Africa,” he said.
Furthermore, it was also noted that unity within the Zim society can develop an opportunity for networking. This can assist some students in getting opportunities and a “know how” in relevant significant areas such as studies and the workplace, prior to or after completing their studies, Gumbie added.
He also suggested that he will do everything in his power to establish a network that will assist Zim students in utilizing some of the opportunities that may be available.
“I would like to approach all the other committees around South Africa and encourage interaction,” said Gumbie.
A doubtful reaction emanated from some of the members in Zimsoc.
“I guess it’s going to be hard for them because the past presidents have failed in some way to put Zimsoc on a higher level,” said a member of the society who does not wish to be identified.
While the unequivocal voice for unity and interaction generated a sonic presence, Gumbie also urged fellow Zimbabwean students to be patriotic. “It is fine to be proud, it is fine to boast about where you are from,” he said.
With unity and patriotism being the ethos of the Zimsoc conversation, new chairperson Floyd Mudzvova shared some of his thoughts. “One element that defines us all as one family is the zimbo in us,” he said.
Chairperson Mudzvova challenged all Zimbabwean students across South Africa to join the patriotic student body. “The vision is to, in the long run, improve the engagement of Zimbabwean students across South Africa in societal events that affect us,” he added.
However, the leadership team faces a tremendous task in executing their envisioned goals.
“Most definitely it will be hard but once we are able to acknowledge that we have something to be proud of we will need to support each other,” Gumbie said.
In addition to unity and patriotism, the notion of rediscovering identity was one of the major concerns. “We have lost [the] essence of who we are and remembering where we come from,” Gumbie said.
As such, this sent a message to fellow Zimbabwean students to be proud of their identity and to add value to the rich multi-ethnic community of the University of Johannesburg and South Africa as a whole.