Rights group launches peace essay-writing competition

File pic: The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG)

The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has launched a peace essay-writing competition aimed at stimulating students to take an active interest and role in peace-building initiatives.

Winners will walk away with a tablet, book hamper gift and certificate at a prize-giving ceremony to be held on June 26, coinciding with the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Students aged 13 to 18 will be eligible to enter the competition which runs until June 4, 2023

The students will be required to write an essay, between 800 and 1 000 words, under the title How can young people contribute towards building a peaceful Zimbabwe?

The essay should identify the root causes of conflict and describe activities that can promote peaceful co-existence in the country.

NTJWG national co-ordinator Fortune Kuhudzehwe said the competition aims to motivate young people to take an active role in peace-building initiatives.

“Historically, young people have played a significant role in driving social, political, and institutional change,” Kuhudzehwe said.

“However, despite the many instances in which young people were actively involved in advocating for peace, young people are often excluded from debates on how to deal with the past.”

He added: “Whereas many of the young people in Zimbabwe may not have directly experienced the results of human rights violations, past crimes have a ripple effect on how families deal with conflict and how the larger society comes to terms with its history.”

Zimbabwe has experienced several episodes of violence such as Gukurahundi, that remain unresolved and have left psychological and socio-economic scars on victims and their families.

Some victims have failed to access national documents such as birth and death certificates, a development that has impacted on their chances of getting jobs.

This is the second year the competition has been running.

Last year, Makanaka Mvundura (17) from Sanyati Baptist High School scooped the first prize; Thandiwe Chakamanga (16) from Dominican Convent High School in Bulawayo came second and Stacey Mketiwa (16) from Waterfalls in Harare scooped the third prize.

The NTJWG received over 70 essays from different parts of the country. Adjudicators then reduced the best essays to 13 before coming up with the top three.

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