Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Children must be taught signs of sexual abuse and assault and how to report any form of abuse immediately so the perpetrators can be caught and the children become safe, Acting President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
Officiating at the national primary schools Jikinya Dance Festival in Gweru yesterday, he said what was worrying was that sexual abuse of minors was perpetrated by relatives in most cases.
“Grown up men and women seeing wives and husbands in children? This must end. Let’s protect our children,” said Acting President Chiwenga. He said such events as the Jikinya Fesitival should educate children on abuse so that they report any if it happened.
“These events must also put emphasis on educating our children on what abuse mean, they should also learn to be disciplined and abstain from drugs,” said Acting President Chiwenga. “These young children are our future and we must equip them with all these skills.”
Such cultural events should also teach children to learn other languages.
“Let me underscore that the Jikinya Dance Festival should also thrive to teach children basic communication in other indigenous languages,” he said. “This will further cement tolerance of one another and promote interaction between and among our children.”
The festival gave children the chance to explore themselves so that they learn where their strength lie.
“It also contributes to developing children’s phisical, mental and social skills so that they realise their full potential as they grow into adulthood,” said Acting President Chiwenga.
The Acting President said Zimbabwe had a rich culture which should be preserved through engaging in such events.
“Further the festival promotes unity and social cohesion amongst children of diverse backgrounds and upbringing,” he said. “Most importantly, partaking in such festivals underline the fact that culture is indeed an important tool for nation building.
“Through such cultural performances, the nation is able to promote family values, inculcating in children the value of mutual respect.”
The Acting President said Government, through the relevant ministry, will continue to support the initiative.
Schools from the 10 provinces battled for honours, with Lwendulu Primary from Matabeleland North walking away with US$2 000 prize money after claiming first position.
Acting President Chiwenga added US$2 000 to make the total prize US$4 000.
Munyaradzi Primary School from Mashonaland Central won the second prize and won US$1 500 plus US$500 from Acting President Chiwenga and Zamba Primary from Manicaland came third and got US$1 000 and an additional US$500 .
Fadzai Dzapasi (8) of Chipindura Primary School from Mashonaland Central was named the best dancer among girls, while Prosper Nyoni (8) of Lwenduli Primary School was the best dancer in the boys category.