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Zimbabwe Launches National Dress Initiatives To Promote Unity




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(African Examiner) – Zimbabwe has launched a National Dress which government says will help promote unity among the “not so friendly to each other” ethnic groups in the country.

While there is no war in Zimbabwe, the country is divided along tribal lines with the majority Shona and Ndebele groups in no real peace following the 1980s civil war in which thousands of Ndebeles were killed by former president Robert Mugabe’s South Korea trained 5th brigade army.

The incumbent president Mnangagwa was in charge of the operations that spearheaded the civil war in Matabeleland between 1982 and 1987 when Mugabe and former vice president Joshua Nkomo, leaders of Zanu and PF Zapu signed a Unity Accord to end the civil war.

Ndebeles still blame Nkomo for the Unity Accord saying it subdued them under the rule of the Shonas.

The country celebrates Unity Day on December 22 every year.

The National Dress initiative started in 2005 and was abandoned because of lack of political will until recently when First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa spearheaded it.

The process started with consultations with different stakeholders including, government, historians, artists, traditional leaders, researchers, academics and leaders of different ethnic groups.

Designers were tasked to come up with designs whose features include national symbols such as the Zimbabwe bird, chiffons and chevron patterns and the flag.

President Mnangagwa launched the National Dress Fabric on Saturday at State House and said it seeks to give identity to Zimbabwe through a national attire.

“The National Dress promotes unity among citizens. The fabric plays an important role in the reservation of national values and cultural heritage and helps create unity among our people. This National Dress will contribute to convey Zimbabwe’s culture, way of life, values and belief system. Let’s promote our sovereignty and national identity,” said Mnangagwa.

This will be the first time Zimbabweans have agreed on a national dress since the country attained independence in 1980.

The National Dress will be worn at national events such as Independence Day, Heroes Day and Unity Day.

Mnangagwa said government will designate days when people will be asked to wear the attire with National Dress Fabric. There is a likelihood that the national dress will be forced in schools for teachers to wear it. 

The president implored Zimbabweans not to take the National Dress as a mere fabric but as a unifier.


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