Midlands State University’s Faculty of Arts hosted its first ever Regional Arts Conference from 29-30 September 2017 at the University’s Zvishavane Campus, where the Faculty is housed.
Running under the theme “Beyond” the Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Struggles, Prospects, Projections and Myths, the historic conference brought together academics from 11 local and regional institutions, namely; the University of South Africa, University of Pretoria, University of Venda, University of Zimbabwe, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Great Zimbabwe University, Solusi University, Lupane University, Nyadire Teachers’ College and Marymount Teachers’ College.
Addressing delegates during the conference’s official opening ceremony, Midlands State University Acting Vice-Chancellor, Profesor V. N. Muzvidziwa described the land reform as being integral to Zimbabwe’s success as a nation for many generations to come.
‘The issues of land will last for a long time and if as a nation we invest in this area we will succeed. All that is needed is evidence-based research’, he said.
The objective of the two-day conference, which was attended by over 90 seasoned academics was to promote intellectual dialogue and research on land reform.
Speaking during the conference, MSU Executive Dean of Arts, Dr T. Mashingaidze, said ‘the rationale for the conference was to focus on the challenges, successes, predictions and discourses that have ensued from the land reform program in light of the multifaceted changes obtaining in Southern Africa and Beyond. These include shifts to the right in the global political terrain, the emerging politics of resource nationalism, and increased migration’.
In a speech delivered by the Deputy Director in the Resident Minister’s Office, Mr C. Mutimbairi on behalf of the Resident Minister for the Midlands Province, Hon. J. Machaya, the Minister said, the Third Chimurenga was a radical movement aimed at resolving and addressing the land dispute emanating from the colonial era.
Keynote presentations during the conference were delivered by Prof. M. Vambe from the University of South Africa, Dr Patience Mutopo from the Chinhoyi University of Technology and Prof. G. Mazarire from MSU. These three distinguished academics presented papers titled; ‘Consolidating the Zimbabwe Land Reform, Increasing Productivity, Monitoring Our Performance and Sharing Our Anxieties’; ‘Projections of the Fast Track Land Reform: The Role of Different Knowledge Systems’; and ‘On Restitution: History and the Land in Zimbabwe’ respectively.
Among those who attended the conference were members of the University Community who included the MSU Zvishavane Campus Director, Prof. A. Viriri, the Executive Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof. L. Chikoko, Research Board Chairperson, Dr A. Munodawafa, the Executive Dean of Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering, Dr A. Mamuse, Zvishavane Campus Deputy Registrar, Mr N. Shava, Faculty of Arts Deputy Dean, Prof. H T Ngoshi.