You are your own excuse.
During the time of our fathers, there was no freedom, there was no easy access to education, and every single thing that they did was according to the wishes of the colonialists. If you are to ask any senior citizen who was in his youth before independence, they will share the same story, a story of having the talent but not allowed to express it, a story of having a business idea but not being allowed to be an entrepreneur. The difficult times in which they lived in were unamiable to all of us sitting in this room.
This is the one thing Zimbabwe and India have in common, the life before our independence from the British was very much similar. To our Fathers, if you were to ask why they did not get the good university education, or why they did not start a good business, or anything related to why they did not put their youth to best use, their excuse is very much justified. Today I am very much delighted to stand in a room full of independent Zimbabweans, and independent Indians, a room filled with a youth born in with all the freedom the world has to offer, the freedom our fathers fought to get. I stand to tell you one very simple reminder today and that is:
We have no more excuses!
As long as you are born free, colonisation is not an excuse anymore, shortage of schools is not an excuse anymore, fear of wars is not an excuse anymore, but the only excuse that remains is you and I. In simple words what I am trying to tell you today is that we are our own excuses, we don’t have the colonizers to blame like our fathers did. It amazes me so much that even though they had someone to blame, they still worked hard and got us the freedom we have to today, it could be Nelson Mandela, or Mahatma Gandhi or Robert Mugabe they all did their part to make sure that we do not have excuses.
This century has proven to be far more frightening for the youth than the times of colonization because in this century, failure is now in your left hand, in the same way, success is in your other hand. Every single thing that happens in your life is a matter of choices that you are making and that is the true meaning of independence. This meaning can be brought out in its most pure manner, the moment you stand as a youth of Zimbabwe, and you remove every small excuse life tries to give, and you work hard to secure your future, not just yours but the future of the entire nation.
The entire nation may seem to be very big, but allow me to break it down for you before I conclude, imagine this, if every student sitting in this room, studies hard without any excuse, with his or her mother and father in mind, with a desire to develop the family you left in Africa, in the end, you will end up with a developed country. Because it starts with a small family development that leads to the larger national development, so the growth of your nation depends on you more than your government.
You are one of the best English speaking nations, you have a literacy rate of 90%. With this, I am delighted to remind you that the resources your nation needs are not diamonds or gold, but they need you. You are the best resource as long as long you give no excuses.
To all the Zimbabwean here, Happy Independence Day.
Dr. Devanshu J Patel