Hero: Staff in our hands
The Sunday Mail
“I don’t offer pay, lodging, or food; I only offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, fighting and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not only with his lips, follow me. These are the words of Italian general and revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, best known for helping to unify Italy in 1860.
Such words and line of thought could have inspired the valiant sons and daughters of this country to go to war in their quest to hand back to us a free Zimbabwe. They were aware of the clear and present dangers of their decision, but they went for it anyway.
It’s not every day that we say hats off to the valiant sons and daughters who fought in the liberation struggle that won us the independence we have enjoyed since 1980.
It’s not every day that we take the time to reflect on who we would be, would have become or if we would be here in the current circumstances without their supreme sacrifices.
We often attribute our successes to our efforts, our intelligence and our wisdom and yet some have lost their lives so that we have what we have today.
We remember heroes buried at National Heroes Acre, provincial and district shrines and many more in the forests and in neighboring countries.
Thousands more are alive today, their bodies and emotions scarred by the experiences of the war of liberation. We salute you all.
Tomorrow, Zimbabwe celebrates the heroes and heroines who took part in the liberation struggle. As a young girl, I didn’t really appreciate the importance of this day. It was just another party to enjoy and play, but as I grew up I started to understand its importance and meaning.
Each week, this newspaper publishes accounts of the war by individuals, illustrating the journeys they endured, the battles they fought, and the misfires and near misses of war, but they never gave up. Their lives were always on the edge as they clashed and in some cases were ambushed by the enemy.
To many, this all sounds like the script of a horror movie script, but that’s the life these men and women endured. It was improvised, but they were all aware of the dangers they had put themselves in, but the desire to bring freedom and all its advantages gave them the impetus to go forward.
At the tender age of 15, when many girls of that age played nhodo, pada and motherhood with handmade dolls strapped to their backs, a young girl, now Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and other boys and girls gave up all this child’s play and decided to join the real war that would bring freedom to the people of Zimbabwe.
They could only be real mothers and fathers, real professionals, business leaders and all in a free Zimbabwe. And their young minds told them that they should participate and make it possible.
It’s a classic example of the kind of sacrifice made by those who joined the war, many straight out of school while others made life or death decisions herding cattle and leaving without warning. .
How would we walk down the first street in Harare, visit the stock exchange and other investment haunts to grow our money, see the reserve bank of funds on deposit in the city banks if these had remained areas off-limits to natives.
How would we even own businesses in the most lucrative regions, farm on fertile lands or export our products if these had remained foreign to us because of the color of our skin.
Such stories of sacrifice are quite humbling and if they don’t come to mind today, what will.
They waged war so we couldn’t sulk or kick our feet when we all have to show up and rebuild our country brick by brick. The valiant heroes taught us a lesson in selflessness and total sacrifice. They gave freedom not only to ourselves, but to future generations.
Today we must fight our own wars against corruption, drugs, disease, inflation, currency volatility, climate change and many more that we must confront in order to become the valiant sons and daughters of our time. We must play our part to consolidate the achievements of independence.
We have enemies looking to undo the achievements so far and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do everything we can to make sure they don’t win. If they survived snakes, lions, and all in the thick forests over which they operated, we are in a better position and cannot be defeated. In fact, it’s a word we should erase from our vocabulary. We have the means to conquer everything.
We cannot give in or resign ourselves to fate and, in the worst case, be the ones to caress about these challenges. We must show the determination and vigor with which our heroes and heroines faced the war.
Their great determination should inspire us to achieve.
The commemoration scheduled for tomorrow should therefore provide an opportunity for introspection. Are we doing enough to defeat the wars we face today.
Are we the vendors who took the lives of thousands of people in Nyadzonya and other places of battle or are we digging in to meet our challenges head on.
Posterity will judge us if we don’t leave them the Zimbabwe they want and the Zimbabwe they yearn for.
The day of commemorations should therefore push us to act where there was none. We cannot laugh, mock or speak ill of our country but we must rebuild it together brick by brick.
There’s so much going on under the Second Republic in terms of restoring the economy, but we can’t be spectators or sit on the terraces just watching the playing field. But we all have to be in the arena to do our part. We owe it to the great men and women who led the struggle for liberation, we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to posterity.
President Mnangagwa said it all last week at the funeral of Brigadier General Benjamin Mabenge (retired).
“While yesterday the war was fought on the front, the Second Republic is well aware of the machinations of our detractors who fight us on the economic front. Today they are waging an asymmetrical war to make our economy howl and make our people suffer.
“Under my leadership, they will never succeed and we will never give up on our economy. Against all odds, we will win the economic battle and secure a prosperous future for our people,” he said.
It’s quite instructive. This is the spirit we must adopt if we are to successfully pass the button-stick to the next generation.
In God I believe!
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