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Kick out violence: Gokwe residents celebrate the International Day of Peace commemorations
Heal Zimbabwe Trust
October 03, 2012

Hundreds of people gathered at Nyaradza business centre for belated commemorations of the International Day of Peace organized by Heal Zimbabwe on Friday, 28 September 2012. The celebrations were held under the theme; "Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future." The day was commemorated through sports, arts and drama. Eight soccer teams battled out for the Heal Zimbabwe Peace Cup. The soccer teams were drawn from diverse political parties, churches, and local clubs in the targeted district who competed for the trophy. Young women also competed for the netball Peace Cup and six teams took part in the competition. The ongoing commemorations target constituencies where political violence and intimidation are ripe. Sport has a unifying effect in most communities the world over and the Gokwe commemorations helped depolarize the community embedded in long time political conflicts as some people started interacting together for the first time through organizing this event.

The International Day of Peace commemorations managed to raise awareness on the universality of the quest for peace and the important role of genuine citizen participation in maintaining a peaceful society. The most popular sports in Zimbabwe's rural communities are soccer for men and netball for women. The commemorations were well received by the community who actively took part in the planning of the day's activity thus increasing their sense of ownership. Entertainment was provided by three local groups who came up with a combined peace song that encouraged communities to live in peace and harmony. From the soccer teams, Morning Stars football club took the first prize followed by Waru Waru football club. In netball, Nyaradza netball club came first followed by Bridge netball club.

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