There but for the Grace [of] Mugabe, go we all

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I don't know about you, but I always find Arjen Wals' Transformative Learning blog both entertaining and informative.  It is, for example, one of the few places you can go to keep up to date with the growing amount of plastics in the oceans.  Sometimes this infor-tainment (or is it enter-mation?) can be a heady mix, and the most recent post was a good example.

It tell how AW was invited to give a keynote at an Education Expo in Zimbabwe, and, on arriving at Harare airport, discovers he's sharing a platform with the local dictator, Uncle Bob himself; not only that, but there are 5–6000 people plus dignitories (and some Zanu PF bully-boys, no doubt) waiting to hear what he has to say.  AW is supposed to be talking about 'Growing Socio-economic Opportunity through Quality Education in the 21st Century' which is a topic that Zanu PF zealots probably don't like very much on the grounds of its inherent neo-liberal, revisionist, and neo-colonial tendencies – quality education, indeed!

Happily, however, by the time AW got to the venue, Uncle Bob had hoofed it to parliament, and most of the 6000 had vanished as well.  You will find more details of the Expo and AW's address in the blog.

But there's a twist to the story that AW seems not to know about.  It transpires that Uncle Bob went on to give the wrong speech to parliament (which he was supposed to be opening) – he repeated his state of the union address he'd given a month ago.  The state of politics in the country is such that no one dared tell him, and the faithful clapped anyway.  But it does reveal the possibility that the Great Dictator was so discombobulated by the prospect of meeting AW that he got all confused.

Such is the power of academics who would dare speak truth to power.


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • Indeed newspaper were full of that 'unfortunate switching of the speeches' stating that 'heads would role' (not literally of course). To Mugabe's defense: when speaking at the Education Summit the first thing he did was to dismiss the prepared text. He went on with a coherent and passionate speech that lasted almost two hours...