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‘Scrap Shakespearean literature’

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FORMER liberation war fighter and author Retired Brigadier General Agrippa Mutambara yesterday called for the scrapping of Shakespearean literature in the Zimbabwean school system saying children needed to study works connecting them to the fight for independence.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Mutambara said this during the launch of his book The Rebel in Me at Parliament building.

The book is about his experiences during the liberation struggle. Mutambara said it was one of the few editions that described the struggle for independence through the eyes of fighters as most of the books published about the struggle were written by whites who never participated in the struggle.

“This history is a record of the past and must be passed through generations, and through you MPs I am making a plea that let us flush out Shakespeare from the school curriculum now and not later,” Mutambara said.

He said literature of the liberation struggle was the “umbilical cord that connects us to the colonial past.”

“We have literature of our glorious struggle, but we have had writers like Chinua Achebe’s fictional literature studied in our schools,” Mutambara said.

“However, we can do better than that by embracing our literature which is of real-life experiences and true history. If use of language is what attracts us to Shakespeare and Achebe, then we should use that rich language to write our true life experiences. China Achebe is a very good writer, but of what value is it to our culture and systems?”

During the launch attended by MPs, Mutambara gave snippets of the chapters and accounts of some terrible experiences that led him to join the guerilla war.

He also hailed self-exiled former Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haille Mariam saying he played a key role in the independence of Zimbabwe.
Mutambara also hailed President Robert Mugabe whom he said after his participation in the struggle was the only person worthy to say pamberi (forward with) to.

“The truth is that we never said pamberi naTongogara, but we would only say pamberi naVaMugabe. I am proud to be labelled today as one of Mugabe’s cronies,” he said.

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said Zimbabweans should continue writing books giving accounts of the liberation struggle to ensure history does not die.

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