Zimbabwean students celebrate a 'bright and beautiful day' as Mugabe resigns
'It's the news we've been waiting for for a long, long time,' says Zviko Barikano
The Zimbabwean flag waved proudly through the halls of Memorial University on Tuesday to celebrate Robert Mugabe's resignation as president after 37 years in power.
Students sang and danced at MUN's University Centre, many draped in green, gold, red and black, the colours of Zimbabwe's flag.
"We're singing songs, we're singing war cries, we're playing songs from back home, we have our flags," said Zviko Barikano.
"We're pretty happy, and we're going to throw a nice big party."
Barikano said she didn't believe the news at first, but was thrilled when she realized it was true.
Zivanayi (Zee) Musuna said he was at home and screamed when he heard the news that Mugabe had stepped down.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster for the past few weeks," said Musuna.
"We're very hopeful that change is coming, it's just so exciting for us."
My mom can't really walk well, but right now, she's jumping up and down.- Zee Musuna
He said everyone he has spoken to back in Zimbabwe has taken to the streets, kicking off a nationwide party.
"My parents are back home, they're celebrating right now. My mom can't really walk well, but right now, she's jumping up and down."
'We've never had this feeling before'
Mugabe's resignation brings a significant change for young Zimbabweans, who have never known life without his autocratic rule.
"People that were born after 1980, we've never had this feeling before. It's just been one president for the past 37 years," said Musuna.
Today has been a bright and beautiful day for all of us.- Zviko Barikano
"There's so many people with bright ideas out there that were never given the platform to come out and showcase their talents."
Barikano said the change has been a long time coming.
"Today has been a bright and beautiful day for all of us, because it's the news we've been waiting for for a long, long time," she said.
Tafadzwa (Taf) Mwamuka said Mugabe's resignation holds the same importance for his generation as Zimbabwe's independence from Britain did for the generation before.
"It's like 1980 all over again," said Mwamuka.
"Growing up, you see these videos of people that fought during the liberation struggle, and now you get to sing those songs as if you were them, but in 2017."
I felt happy, I felt free.- Taf Mwamuka
He said the news gave him a sense of relief.
"I was just happy. I felt happy, I felt free."
There's optimism for the future, Musuna said, and perhaps even some new opportunities in politics.
"Maybe I should consider running for some [political] position, since they're open now," he joked.
"But we're just hopeful, and we know everything's going to work out."