Zimbabweans commemorated the National Heroes Day of the country’s independence Monday during which the Southern African nation’s heroes and heroines of both first and second uprisings/Umvukela against colonial rule were remembered.
However, due to Covid-19 regulations the commemorations were held virtually just like the Independence Day celebrated on April 18.
“Comrades and friends, today’s 40th National Heroes Day anniversary celebrations are regrettably being held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence, our event today will not have the usual fanfare as we have to be in compliance with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines,” said President Emmerson Mnangagwa while addressing Zimbabweans on national television.
“Be that as it may, our commemorations are uniquely significant in that we are combining the recognition of heroes and heroines of both the First and Second Chimurenga/ Umvukela. In this regard, the mounting of the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare, our capital city, will immortalise the supreme sacrifice that was paid by our forebears. The location of this statue carries added historical meaning because the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way is the spot where Mbuya Nehanda used to rest and drink water from a river that flowed at the site.”
President Mnangagwa said other heroes and heroines from the early wars of resistance would also be honoured in a similar manner.
“Among them, General Mtshane Khumalo, who commanded the Imbizo Regiment, under King Lobengula, that defeated the Allan Wilson Patrol at the Battle of Pupu on 10 December, 1893,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Other distinguished heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga/ Umvukela such as Sekuru Kaguvi, Chaminuka, Mkwati, Queen Lozikeyi Khumalo, Chinengundu, Mashayamombe, Mgandani Dlodlo, Chiwashira, Muchecheterwa, Chingaira Makoni, and Mapondera, among others, will be accorded appropriate recognition.”
He said from the Second Chimurenga/ Umvukela, the late General Josiah Magama Tongogara and General Alfred Nikita Mangena, late former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, late vice president Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo and late vice president Simon Vengesai Muzenda, among others, would also be honoured.
“We must as a people appropriate our liberation war heritage and shape the narratives by telling our own journey to freedom and independence,” underscored President Mnangagwa.
“As such, my administration shall expedite the documentation of the story of our liberation struggle and the associated historical heritage. The programme of renaming roads, buildings and prominent public infrastructure with names reflective of the country’s history is ongoing and a key feature of our liberation war heritage.”
He added that the list of the country’s national monuments was being reviewed to include liberation war shrines such as the 1893 Pupu Shrine, the 1966 Chinhoyi battle site and the Kamugoma massacre site of 1978, in Masvingo.
“Other sites such as the National and Provincial Heroes’ Acres, Assembly Points as well as former detention and restriction centres have also been made national monuments,” he explained.
“Meanwhile, liberation war shrines in neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia will continue to be rehabilitated.”