Pi Sigma Alpha hosts speech on Zimbabwe

On Wednesday, Fulbright Scholar and Hubert H. Humphrey International Fellow Mfundo Mlilo spoke at Macalester about the present and future state of Zimbabwe and its international role. The presentation, titled “Zimbabwe, a Failed Post-Colonial African State: from Breadbasket of Africa to Basketcase,” engaged the students gathered in Davis Court with the politics and economy shaping modern Zimbabwe. It was followed by a question and answer session.

Paul Lee ’14 introduced Mlilo, who was brought to campus by the Political Science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.

“I am particularly excited about our speaker tonight because he, in addition to his academic research, is a practitioner in the field. He works for a non-profit organization,” Lee said.

Mlilo’s presentation urged students to be aware of their power in a global community. “I always cherish the opportunity to talk to students, especially from Macalester, because it is an international community,” Mlilo said as he discussed action points students could take away from his presentation. “ Young people are the drivers of change. They are the most powerful tool we have.”

Besides advocating student action, Mlilo focused on four other points: the history of the crisis in Zimbabwe, the Government of National Unity, the failed roles of the South African Development Community and African Union, and the claim to rights in a regime. He used these to make a compelling argument that the current efforts to re-develop Zimbabwe and South Africa won’t be effective without reforming the existing political and economic structures. “There’s a crisis, so there is an opportunity for change,” Mlilo said. “But the growth is unsustainable.”

As a solution, Mlilo proposed having state powers work with the people on reforms. “I believe the answer lies in government organizations that mobilize people to come up and engage with the state,” he said.

Mlilo’s presentation struck a chord with many international students in the room who debated with him and shared their experiences during the question and answer session that followed. Puleng Moshele ‘16, who is South African but has lived in Zimbabwe, shared her thoughts on Mlilo’s comment on strikes. “Those kind of things show that there is a movement. It’s a form of saying that I am not content with these things and I want change,” Moshele said. “I am just trying to say a lot about my country.”