‘Catch Them Young' Cadet Schools as Modern Initiation Lodges: A Case Study of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) 1900-1968.
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This article examines the cadet system paying special attention to its curriculum, aims and objectives in the context of the discourse of masculinity and martial orientation of young lads as it afforded the young boys with a frontier of experiences. The term cadet system refers to the physical training and practical;..: teaching of young boys in the use and handling of military< weapons as was done in almost all White dominated schools in Southern Rhodesia. The idea was mainly to instil a high sense of civil defense and obedience among the youth in a society suffering from a strong siege mentality’. Furthermore, the British spirit of volunteering was not popular among some of the White male settlers especially in a situation where every sector was facing manpower shortages. Lack of involvement among settlers could have been caused by a strong belief in British naval ability as well as the use of local natives as examples from India had proved successful. With regards to youth, it had been noted that very few were taking active roles in the military hence the need to give them military instruction at an early age. These are some of the challenges that contributed to the introduction of cadet schools as well as the use of the term ‘Catch Them Young’ referring to early training, enlistment and recruitment of young boys. However, the nature of the curriculum should be viewed as education for patriotism tailor-made to shape consciousness among pupils and educate them to accept the national priorities of an increasing militarized state.