Mugabe, Robert Gabriel
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To ask what the role of the University is in Zimbabwe or, for that matter, in any other country at a comparable stage of development, is at once to ask what the role of the University has been down the centuries. What the University reflects today in respect of its organization and mission is. to a large extent, the image of its origins and history. And while it is true that institutions and practices change, change is not synonymous with obliteration. Typically, change is a dialectical process. It is dialectical in the particular sense in which the new incorporates the old or, putting it slightly differently, in which the old gives way to the new but without itself thereby suffering complete liquidation or displacement. In this sense, the past is also the present. Not infrequently, in fact, the baggage of the past weighs so heavily upon the present that the elements of change appear at best imperceptible, at worst conjectural. It is then that, in given circumstances and in respect of social institutions, radical or revolutionary change presents itself as the only strategy for overcoming the oppressive weight of the past. The Modern African University is a creature of colonialism and in varying degrees bears the stamp of that genesis. I would like to revert to this aspect a little later in my speech if I may.