Sunday Mail Reporter
GOVERNMENT has declared tomorrow a public holiday in lieu of today’s National Youth Day that is commemorated to honour the country’s founding leader, the late former president Cde Robert Mugabe.
February 21 was proclaimed a holiday in 2017 in recognition of Cde Mugabe’s works in championing the 21st February Movement that celebrates the contribution of young people to local political and socio-economic development.
The late national hero was born on February 21, 1924.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage advised the public that the holiday will be rolled over to tomorrow.
“In terms of the Extraordinary Government Gazette of 2 October 2020, on the Public Holidays in 2021, Sunday 21st February is the National Youth Day,” read the statement.
“Section 1 (i) of the Public Holidays and Prohibitions of the Business Act [Chapter 10:21] provides that: when a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following shall be a public holiday; since the National Youth Day falls on a Sunday. It therefore follows that the public holiday will roll over to Monday 22 February 2021. Please be guided accordingly.”
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry said National Youth Day is a window of opportunity for young people to create dialogue with Government aimed at bridging intergenerational gaps.
“The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is proud of our youths and will take full advantage of every opportunity to provide young people with opportunities for growth and participation in the broader national economy.
‘‘This year’s National Youth Day will provide young innovators from all walks of life an opportunity to showcase their work to Government and stand a chance to secure technical and financial support for their innovations,” she said in a statement.
Minister Coventry indicated that celebrations will be held virtually, with a number of events lined up for February 25 and February 26.
“My ministry, through the Zimbabwe Youth Council, National Arts Council, Sports and Recreation Commission, and the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe, has lined up an online, two-day, fun-filled and enlightening programme to celebrate National Youth Day from 25-26 February 2021. As Zimbabwe embarks on transforming into an upper middle-class economy by 2030, this year’s celebrations will seek to capture the voices, actions and initiatives of young people to combat the pandemic and its effects to retard socioeconomic development.
‘‘Zimbabwean youth have over the years showed an insatiable thirst to make this country the great place it is; they are innovative, valiant and brilliant,” she said.
Zanu PF Acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau said the ruling party appreciates the gains made in empowering the youths.
“We thank the President for appointing youths to Ministerial positions. The Minister responsible for youths, Honourable Kirsty Coventry is a youth herself and so is her deputy Cde Tino Machakaire. The Cabinet also has a number of youthful ministers. “So generally, we appreciate these gains but we also need some issues that affect youths to be addressed. For example, the Zimbabwe Youth Council board needs to be immediately constituted while the Empowerment Bank, which is the bank for the youths, should be allocated more funds. We are also advocating for 60 percent of land that remains for distribution to be allocated to the youths.”