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Students Solidarity Trust

Press Release: Expelled students complete degree programmes

November 24, 2006

Seven students who were either expelled or suspended during their tertiary education in Zimbabwe were honoured by the Students Solidarity Trust last week after completing their university degrees elsewhere during the course of this year’s “against all odds” consultative meeting and ceremony held in Bulawayo on the 18th of November 2006.

The seven received their awards of honour at a ceremony, dubbed “The against all odds” ceremony, attended by over 130 former & current student leaders and activists. The function coincided with the International Students Day, which is commemorated on the 17th of November and was witnessed by SST board members, ZINASU national council members, and various students organizations including the Zimbabwe Students Christian Movement, the National Movement of Catholic Students, Female Students Network, the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (YIDEZ) and SAYWHAT, a students organization that deals with reproductive health issues.

The majority of the students completed their studies through distance education with the University of South Africa, and various local colleges of their choice.

The seven are Tamuka Chirimambowa, John Bomba, Evernice Munando – the only female fellow in the trust, Eddington Shayanewako, Phillani Zamchiya, Hillary Kundishora and Showers Mawowa. These students were direct beneficiaries of the SST’s Students Social Safety Net Programme. The programme avails funds for study grants, largely, with UNISA and any other local college to politically victimised human rights defender from the students’ movement.

“It was a fitting recognition of the tremendous valour and courage displayed by the fellows who managed to complete their degree programmes, after having endured sustained persecution and victimization from the incumbent Mugabe regime,” says McDonald Lewanika, the Coordinator of the SST.

At the same event, honorary convocations were also awarded to students who continued to fall victim to the University administration, going through bouts of torture, harassment, arrests and systematic de-registrations and suspensions. These are Phillip Pasirai, Benjamin Nyandoro, Washington Katema, Masimba Kuchera Lawrence Mashungu, Gladys Hlatshwayo, Isaac Chimutashu, and Otto Saki, who is nowan award winning human rights lawyer and a board member of the Students Solidarity Trust.

“They managed to attain their degrees, defying all odds,often, seeking sanctuary under the SST’s Social Safety Net Programme,”said Lewanika.

Activism by students in Zimbabwe has been marred by the Zanu PF regime’s ruthlessness which has seen students shot to death, brutalized and arrested for demonstrating against increasing costs of education, privatization and corruption as well as hardships caused by the deteriorating economic conditions caused by the Government’s inept policies and bad governance.

Ends

Contacts:

McDonald Lewanika, Coordinator, SST

Tel. 04-309199/300210, 091 974 435/091 913 418

End

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