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Chimoio genocide: How many remember?

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I AM a bit disturbed as I pen this note. 

I keep thinking of how we, as Zimbabweans, are gradually forgetting about the most significant events in our history. 

We have been consumed by the ways and goings on of the world. 

We have been swallowed by this creature called social media and current events. 

How many among us still remember that horrific November 23 in Mozambique during the liberation struggle?

That was in 1977. 

As we mark the 46th anniversary of the Chimoio genocide, how many of us have reminded the young generation? 

How many of us pause and bow to those Zimbabweans who were callously murdered, by Rhodesians, in their quest for independence – the independence we enjoy to date. 

Shouldn’t we be having a bira there at Chimoio, together with our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children who lie in those mass graves? 

Are we not supposed to be having entourages to Chimoio at this time of the year? 

There are so many questions we should be asking ourselves as Zimbabweans because November 23 is a sad but significant day in our history. 

In an operation codenamed ‘Operation Dingo’, Rhodesians decimated Chimoio Refugee Camp that housed thousands of Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle. 

It is estimated the cowardly attack left over 3 000 dead, although some argue the numbers were more. 

They included freedom fighters, mothers and children and when the Rhodesians write about it, they celebrate the massacre that also left over 5 000 wounded.

To date, Rhodesians gloat over this so-called ‘victory’.

They have written numerous books about Operation Dingo — glorifying themselves!

As alluded to earlier, this week marks the 46th anniversary of the Chimoio genocide. 

Some of us who carry the burden of history, especially the significance of Chimoio, want to know if that legacy is dying with us or the next generation will carry on, on our behalf.

Do we appreciate the significance of that loss?

Do our youth know the story of Chimoio?

To date, we have survivors of the Chimoio genocide who have lived to tell horrible stories about that fateful day, exposing how heartless the Rhodesians were.

But are we capturing their narratives: of how the Rhodesians mercilessly bombed the camp determined to destroy every living person and fighter in a bid to demoralise the freedom fighters?

Nothing was spared by the Rhodesians — banned weapons and poison were employed.

It was murder most foul. 

It was a crime against humanity.

We must, therefore, take time, as a nation, to pay tribute to our fallen heroes and not forget our relatives at Chimoio – our very own who lie in those mass graves.

We must remember that there are sons and daughters of the soil who never made it back home.

That is why I insist we have a bira, especially at Chimoio. 

This I have said over and over again – that fellow comrades and Zimbabweans at large must take time to sing and dance the night away at the shrine in commemoration of our dearly departed. 

It must be an annual event.

That way, we will never forget Chimoio!

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