Remembering Our Heroes and Heroines
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost….Arthur Ashe (2007)
All Gave Some, Some Gave ALL: Remembering Our Heroes and Heroines
April 18 1980 marked the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe’s political history with the ushering in of a black majority government. The day was significantly the culmination of years of fighting for a just country where universal adult suffrage is respected and the rights of Zimbabweans are upheld regardless of race, gender, tribe, creed and language.
The government of Zimbabwe earmarked August as the month to remember and celebrate the sacrifices made by the thousands of people who played a part in bringing independence to this country. The month is not only dedicated to freedom fighters who bore arms, but also to the many people who provided food, medication and shelter to the freedom fighters, and did many other largely unknown brave and caring deeds that contributed to our freedom, regardless of the implications of such actions at the height of the liberation struggle.
Many gallant daughters and sons of Zimbabwe sacrificed their lives to free the people of Zimbabwe from colonial bondage yet, 30 years after independence, the majority of Zimbabweans are yet to taste the fruits of our liberations. The country is yet to be free from want, the citizens yet to be free of state sanctioned violence and intimidation, and yet to live in a society that is as democratic as that envisaged by our heroes and heroines.
Instead of advancing the causes and needs of Zimbabweans and fulfilling the mission of independence, the country’s governors, who purport to have unilaterally brought freedom to the doorsteps of every Zimbabwean, seem to have waged a war against the masses, thwarting whoever stands in their way and continued hold on power.
Over the past decade, some Zimbabweans have been turned into refugees, escaping a country tormented by economic and political turmoil while those who remained continue being hounded by repressive laws, political intolerance and state repression.
Additionally, ZANU PF has hijacked heroism, making it a preserve of the political party rather than a national affair. The political party’s politburo decides who is worthy to be considered a hero and has often times re-written history by denying key players in Zimbabwe’s history such as the first President of the country, the late Canaan Banana, Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Lookout Masuku hero status.
As we mark this heroes’ day, we pay tribute to advocates for democracy that were slain because of their political beliefs. As Zimbabweans let us not forget what these comrades who lost their lives pre and post independence fought for;
1. Universal suffrage and free and fair democratic elections, in which winners are measured in victory and losers humble in defeat.
2. Political tolerance, respect of divergence, and – not the continued murder of innocent Zimbabweans under the guise of ‘protecting the gains of independence’
3. Land to all, not just to those politically connected and their political and economic cohorts.
4. International engagement and co-existence with other countries.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reiterates that real heroes do not belittle the contributions made by other people but rather celebrate them without any discrimination. Our late heroes died for freedom, peace and tolerance and their contributions to the struggle should be honoured through affording the people of Zimbabwe their fundamental rights, providing basic social amenities and tolerating divergent views. Only then will Zimbabwe boast of being a truly independent country.
Aluta continua! Let’s finish, the unfinished business of Independence
Statement issued by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition