By Hopewell Chin’ono
The idiomatic expression “…throwing the baby out with the bathwater” is something that we must avoid today.
On this day, the 18th of April, let us remember those that genuinely crossed the treacherous Rhodesian borders to fight for the true racial and economic emancipation of their people and yet did not make it back home.
They lie in many unmarked graves in the valleys and mountains of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and many other uncelebrated and unfashionable places.
The fact that their efforts have been continuously betrayed by their struggle colleagues that made it back home doesn’t and shouldn’t diminish their supreme sacrifice to free their country from colonial subjugation with their blood.
They could have stayed at home in Rhodesia and found jobs or continued with their education, but they selflessly chose to take up arms and free their people from almost a century of colonial barbarism.
There are also many freedom fighters that made it back home after the war of independence and stayed noble to the liberation values to this very day.
They had and still have good intentions for their country but they were simply pushed aside by their predatory comrades, we should remember that they live in our communities and we should salute them on this important day.
We should resolutely continue to defend their ideas and also continue to remind them that their efforts will one day bear fruit, their efforts can’t continuously remain rooted in today’s rot defined by corrupt politicians and criminal gangs that they sponsor!
Let us also remember the thousands of mothers and grandmothers who cooked for the real freedom fighters during the brutal war of racial emancipation, but never got to enjoy the economic and social fruits of REAL independence.
Many of them died paupers, they fought for future generations and us too and yet their grandchildren remain rooted in abject poverty in rural Zimbabwe, and are beholden to crooked politicians who appear with a bag of maize during election time.
We should salute on this day these elderly and also young women who coordinated these heroic efforts of feeding the freedom fighter during the war dodging bullets and bombs!
We should NEVER surrender this day to the corrupt and predatory political elites who have betrayed the liberation struggle values, it is our day and we should take full ownership of it.
Celebrating independence is not defined by being in a stadium or feasting at a State House, you can celebrate the feats of the freedom fighter and reflect with your family in your own home or with your friends down at the pub or in church as you pray for real independence to happen in our life time.
Independence should not be an event, it is a state of mind that is achieved through how one lives and how we relate with each other.
We are celebrating a principle that was achieved, the fact that it continues to be violated doesn’t kill the fact that we removed ourselves from colonial shackles.
The fact that we are being terribly ruled instead of being led and the fact that we have a corrupt administration presiding over us doesn’t make colonialism better or right.
It simply means that the struggle continues and that we should all focus on removing ourselves from the current political entrapment, which is underpinned by a brutal regime that refuses to let go of its repressive accessories such as POSA and AIPPA.
We will emerge victorious from the bonds of corruption, incompetence, and clan-based nepotism and from the charlatans of taxpayer embezzlement.
Freedom is a MUST for all Zimbabweans and we will achieve that goal regardless of the current setbacks.
True independence and economic emancipation will eventually emerge and be enjoyed by all of us, the millions of Zimbabweans, when that time comes, we will realize that the struggle was worth it.
The man who led the armed struggle for the emancipation of Zimbabwe Josiah Magama Tongogara said:
“What some of us are fighting for is to see that this oppressive system is crushed.
I don’t even care whether I will be part of the top echelons. I’m not worried. I’m dying to see a change in the system, that’s all … that’s all! I would like to see the young people enjoying together – black, white – enjoying together in a new Zimbabwe – that’s all!”
That desired objective of seeing the young enjoying themselves became a dream deferred, the young are dying in hospitals without medicines, the young are sleeping in streets without shelter, the young are toiling without jobs, the young are generally desperate due to the actions of the predatory political elites.
I want to predict something on this today, this distressful time will come to pass inside 15 years, dictatorships are not sustainable and history has taught us that they are futile corrupt enterprises that are meant to save the crooked elites for the day and not until eternity, ZVICHAPERA.
As Bob Marley sang in his classic struggle song Zimbabwe that he dedicated to our liberation struggle, “…soon we will find out who is the real revolutionary,” that question is now settled.
We know who are not the real revolutionaries, but does that take away the courageous efforts of the fallen heroes?
NO it doesn’t, and it should never take away anything from their heroic efforts, The Struggle Continues and victory is certain in our lifetime.
As Joshua Nkomo said, “…there are those who are presently attempting to rewrite a distorted history of Zimbabwe.
They do this, we believe, precisely because they do not want the People to learn the lessons of this history. They want the people to repeat the mistakes of the past, because they can only survive and flourish in the chaos and division of these mistakes.”
Until the people of Zimbabwe are genuinely and economically emancipated, until the pharaohs of corruption, incompetence, clan based nepotism and state taxpayer embezzlement have fallen, REAL independence will remain a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never to be attained.
Until that day of real independence appears before us through a manifestation of a better life, The Struggle Continues.
Today we remember the heroic efforts of the real freedom fighters, efforts that should not be allowed to continue being in vain!
Until Zimbabweans are free from poverty, political repression and intolerance, corruption, clan based nepotism, political mismanagement of the country’s resources, state sponsored hatred campaigns and many evils that afflict us today, the struggle led by the likes of Herbert Chitepo and Jason Moyo will continue.
Aluta Continua and Victory is Certain in our life time!
Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker. He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and a CNN African Journalist of the year.
He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa Leadership Institute.
Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind, which was launched to critical acclaim.
The recently departed music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi wrote the sound track for State of Mind.
It was recently nominated for a big award at the Festival International du Film Pan-Africain de Cannes in France and in the UK at the Heart of England International Film Festival.
You can watch the documentary trailer below.