Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak to Solomon Madzore, the President of the Youth Assembly of MDC-T.
Over a year ago, Mr Madzore was arrested and jailed, alongside many others, for allegedly killing a policeman. He was in prison for over a year until his release this year on bail.
It was therefore not surprising that he spoke about his 405 days behind bars, days which he said changed his life in inexplicable ways. He also expressed his profound sadness and disappointment with the University of Zimbabwe authorities who stopped him from continuing his studies because of his pending trial even though the law clearly states that until one is convicted he remains innocent. He further pointed out that during the liberation struggle, jailed nationalist leaders such as President Mugabe acquired several degrees whilst they were in prison but now in a free Zimbabwe, a free man could be barred from pursuing his studies because of political reasons.
Solo, as he’s popularly known, also spoke of his belief that a better Zimbabwe is possible. He urged us the youths to shun violence during elections because it was obvious that most incidents of political violence involved young people.
He also told us of the struggles of young people worldwide, their fight to be heard and to be involved in the crafting of policies that affect them.
Most importantly, Madzore warned of the trappings of power, and said that young people have to constantly remind their leaders of their obligations to the people they lead.
I was moved by the great humility and respect he showed, enlightened by his wisdom, humbled by his experiences and entertained by his humour.
When we parted I found myself thinking how much our country needs youth leaders like Solomon Madzore, youth leaders who urge the youth to participate in national issues, question authority and say what they want without fear or favour.
Hope for our country is not lost yet, all we need are youths who take a proactive role in society, youths who encourage peace and unity.
Youths like Solomon Madzore.