Heroes worth emulating

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THE passing on last week of three liberation war heroes and a university professor, has served to remind us of the calibre expected of people with the welfare of their mother country at heart.

Though Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo, Cde Michael Chakabva, Cde Abraham Nkiwane and Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki are gone, Zimbabweans must take heed of the liberation ethos they bequeathed to us. 

All four took the interest of their country above everything else.

All four, despite having done enough to be handsomely rewarded for their endeavours, never rested on their laurels.

Let’s look at the four to see how they were more concerned about the welfare of the nation than their personal aggrandisement.

This then is the prerequisite of patriotism, these gallant sons of the soil will always be remembered for.

The late Cde Nkiwane is an example of a person whose devotion to the country is worth emulating.

His bravery, lacking in some among us today, reminds us of qualities needed to safeguard our sovereignty.

For as early as 1962, he initiated the entry of the first set of arms into the country.

This was despite the danger of certain death if discovered by the ruthless colonial regime.

The gallant son of the soil was in the ZIPRA High Command, rubbing shoulders with supremos like comrades Dumiso Dabengwa and Akim Ndlovu.

But this never got into his head.

From the time we got our independence up to his death, he never sought favours for his outstanding contribution to the struggle.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa aptly described him as a man whose life was, “a depiction of selfless sacrifices and unflinching patriotism.”   

Cde Michael Vhuu Chakabva is another brave son whose patriotism was exemplary. 

He left a good job to join the liberation struggle in the 1960s.

He was driven by his desire to see Zimbabwe free despite the danger posed to his life by the brutal settler-regime.

He was brave.

There are some among us today who shiver at the slightest threat by whites to the extent of betraying their motherland.

Not so with Cde Vhuu.

After the war, he settled at his farm in Centenary – that was enough to satisfy him.

Although he had rubbed shoulders with the top brass like President Mnangagwa and General Josiah Tongogara, he was never seen around high offices canvassing for monetary gains and other favours as reward for his sacrifices.

President Mnangagwa described Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo as, “a loyal and dedicated soldier of Zimbabwe.”

This he carried over from the liberation war days.

And he was somebody determined to liberate his country from as early as his days as a schoolboy, when he joined the struggle.

Because of his bravery and patriotism, he was able to carry out dangerous tasks during the struggle which saw the defeat of the stubborn settler-regime.

Loyalty to one’s country saw him go up through the ranks until he was appointed Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army in 2017. 

This patriotism legacy is the very legacy identified with late university lecturer Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki.

Armed with imposing academic qualifications, he chose to share his knowledge through practical application.

The certificates he got remained what they were – mere pieces of paper.

He was especially outstanding in the field of agriculture.

Those who kept cuttings of his articles from The Patriot on soya bean must by now be experts in the production of this leguminous crop.

He put national interest above personal gratification, a quality a number of the spoiled youth of today are lacking. 

For Zimbabwe, having natured such exemplary patriots, it is disheartening that today we still have some among us, parked in the corner of our detractors, who have ill wishes for their country .

They must think again as they go through the lives of these four patriots.

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