Preserving a legacy: Acacia Tree Planting Project Launched
On the 4th of February 2022, staff and students from the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Science (CHANS) participated in the launch of the Acacia Tree Panting Project that is being spearheaded by the leadership of the university in an effort to preserve the indigenous tree. The Acacia tree is the official tree of the university and features prominently in the university logo, Academic Mace and other ceremonial garb and medals that reflect the pride of place and regard with which the tree is held as a symbol of the fortitude and resilience of the university itself.
The Acacia tree formally known as the Acacia Abyssinica is the official symbol of Africa University. This large and conspicuously flat- topped tree also sometimes referred to as the “Inyanga flat top”, grows abundantly in the savannah regions of Africa. The Acacia symbolizes knowledge, with its roots firmly planted in the African soil. The tree also brings to mind the Africa tradition of fellowship and gathering of the community beneath the tree.
Acting Vice Chancellor Rev. Professor Peter Mageto welcomed participants and thanked them for turning out in their numbers to support the cause. Prof. Mageto explained the rationale of the initiative saying the conservation of nature is an important aspect of community building ensuring that this ethos is taught and passed on to successive generations. Alluding to the opportunity that the bountiful rains Zimbabwe is currently receiving brings, the Acting Vice Chancellor went on to say,
“In my home country of Kenya, it is a tradition to plant trees with each and every rain season. This is an important culture that we should all adopt and take advantage of the season to allow nature to reclaim the environment and thrive. It is so heartening to see so many of you, especially students, taking a keen interest in being a part of this project. We shall engage in this exercise throughout the month of February, each Friday, to encourage a return to nature and make all those in our community conscious of how we treat it. The Acacia tree represents strength, resilience and durability which is the embodiment of Africa University. As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary this year, this is one of the ways in which we plan on commemorating and appreciating this milestone as a community.”
All present were afforded the opportunity to plant their own Acacia tree with the Agriculture Department on hand to give instruction on how to properly and successfully plant a tree seedling.
Nelia Munyonga, a first year Medical Laboratory Sciences student said,
“I didn’t think there was so much to learn in planting a tree. That has been a real eye opener and very fun to learn hands on. As youth, we really appreciate initiatives like this because Climate Change is such a big concern that will determine much of how the world will look like in the years to come. We need to start preserving our heritage now and with a sense of urgency.”
Interim Bursar Mr. Richard Chihowa added,
“This is such a good project and we need to preserve these trees as it is our identity as Africa University and our children need to see these still standing when they come here. I love the resilience of this tree and it’s will to survive teaches us so much. Despite the harsh conditions we go through and endure, we should be like this tree and remain standing.”