21st February Movement
President Mugabe Celebrating His Birthday
|Also known as||21st February Celebrations|
|Cause||Robert Mugabe's birthday|
|Organised by||ZANU PF Youth League|
The 21st February Movement is an annual event set aside to celebrate the birthday of the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe and leader of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front party Robert Mugabe. The movement sets aside a day every year to celebrate the life and achievements of the revolutionary icon who was born on the 21st of February in 1924.
The 21st February Movement was established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabweans, the youths in particular, to emulate Robert Mugabe's revolutionary ideas, charismatic leadership and selfless policies. Since its establishment in 1986, Robert Mugabe has been the patron of the movement and annual celebrations were done in the country's ten province on rotating basis. The respective leaders of the ZANU PF Youth League were tasked to organise the celebrations in the respective provinces. In its celebrations, Robert Mugabe would address the audience which includes the first family, leaders of the ZANU PF party, the corporate world as well as youth representatives.
21st February Movement and Politics
With the political character of Mugabe at the centre of the celebrations, the movement has accumulated a somewhat political outlook. This is so because the 21st February Movement has been incorporated into the ZANU PF annual calendar. Thus it has been part of the nationalist's party to engage in its epic and continuous campaign against the west and opposition especially the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
- 2017 the event was held at Rhodes Estate Preparatory School,Matobo in Matebeleland under the theme,"Honoring our icon,unlocking the value in youth" 
- 2016-The celebrations were at Great Zimbabwe Monuments in Masvingo under the theme, "Youth Celebrating An African Icon Through Enhanced Productivity.The Zanu-PF Youth League secretary Cde Pupurai Togarepi indicated that the theme was motivated by President Mugabe’s continued fight for freedom and economic emancipation for Africans.Togarepi also said,
“This year’s theme theme was also informed by the President’s highly saluted completion of his tenure as AU chairman. We are proud as Zimbabwean youths to be led by him. At the same time, we learn leadership skills from a living legend.
The event took place on the 28th of February 2015 at Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls. A Gala to pen off the event was held at Chinotimba Stadium in the resort town, with live performance by musicians from different parts of the country. The theme was ; "Celebrating the Birth of Gushungo, The Icon of Zimbabwe's Revolution and Champion of Youth Empowerment".
- 2014- Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera "Zim Asset, Growing the Economy for Youths Empowerment and Employment" The celebrations were organised by the Mashonaland East ZANU PF province led by the then Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Chairman Simbaneuta Mudarikwa together with the then ZANU PF secretary for youth affairs Absolom Sikhosana. Thousands of locals an foreign delegates attended the commemorations to celebrate Robert Mugabe's 90th birthday.
- 2013- The celebrations were held at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura in Mashonaland Central Province. The celebrations were held under the theme "Youth Indigenisation, Empowerment, Development and Employment Creation."
- 2011- Held in Harare Metropolitan Province under the theme "Youth for indigenisation and empowerment,”.
21st February Galas
The 21st February Movement has also been accompanied by galas and musical concerts as part of celebrating the life and achievements of Robert Mugabe. Various notable musicians such as Alick Macheso, Winky D, Jah Prayzah and Sulumani Chimbetu have performed in the previous celebrations. The gala take place annually in the respective hosting provinces. In most instances, the galas are politicised with presence of ZANU PF leaders who often take the opportunity to praise their leader while simultaneously denouncing opposition movements.
Humanists and non-governmental organisations have criticised the 21st February movement due to its luxurious spending in the face of abject poverty in most of the country's households. During the 2011 celebrations, businessman such as Phillip Chiyangwa are said to have channeled thousands of dollars towards the preparations for the celebrations whilst ordinary citizens were affected by cholera and there was urgent need for finances to fight the disease. In one case, a Bulawayo man was in 2012 threatened with death by an unidentified ZANU PF supporter for failing to donate towards the movement. It has thus been viewed by critics have thus criticised the movement for thriving on donations and hand outs from the community instead of it benefiting the less privileged citizens.
- , 21st Feb Movement inspires youths:,ZBC News Online, published:13 Feb 2011,retrieved:26 Dec 2014"
- "21st February Movement theme unveiled". Zimpapers. February 5 , 2017. Retrieved October 10, 2017. Check date values in:
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- , Death threats for failing to donate towards 21st February Movement,Harare 24, published:1 April 2012,retrieved:26 Dec 2014"