WE were recently at the National Heroes Acre, laying to rest Brigadier General (Rtd) Benjamin Mabenge, aka Cde Freddie Matanga.
May his soul rest in peace.
He was a gentle soul indeed and he got a befitting send-off.
However, in recent weeks, we have interred gallant sons of the soil at the national shrine and other places around the country.
We laid to rest Cde Oliver Chidhawu, Major General (Rtd) Sikhulile Simpson Nyathi, Major General (Rtd) Godfrey Chanakira and Major General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebhe, among others.
We have always said heroes and heroines do not die, but what depresses me now is that our heroes and heroines may actually die because our children seem to know so little about them.
Some of us participated in the liberation struggle so we know about these brave cadres but what about those who were not there?
What about those being born today, will they know ‘where the rains began to beat us’?
Will children born and bred today, both in the country and abroad, know the heroes and heroines of their land?
We have to value and document the stories carried by the men and women who fought and contributed in the country’s liberation struggle?
That way, our children will draw inspiration from their heroes and heroines.
In Western countries, the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill have not died.
The likes of Alexander have not died. They are alive because volumes of films and all sorts of literature about them are being produced to date.
There are books that chronicle their childhood and exploits till the time of their demise. We must learn something from all this.
Our heroes and heroines must also write their own stories.
They must have detailed diaries narrating their challenges, victories, losses and even sources of inspiration and strength.
We at The Patriot will continue to record the heroic stories of our freedom fighters but it doesn’t have to be The Patriot alone.
The truth is, not enough effort is being made to record the stories of our heroes and heroines.
We cannot continue to hear tales of heroics during burials only. We have to know of the exploits of our cadres while they live.
After all, they say the story is much better coming from the horse’s mouth.
My challenge is to those who participated in the liberation struggle.
Let us all document our experiences.
We have a unique opportunity in that a majority of the participants are still with us and thus this important story will not be distorted.
However, there will come a day when we will all not be around; all of us who participated in the liberation struggle.
Then what will our children do, rely on hearsay and distorted information?
People who know nothing about the struggle, those with personal agendas not good for the country, will provide information about the struggle.
That would be so tragic.
We must tell the story of the liberation struggle our way because we were there in the bush, we were there in the villages with vanamukoma.
None but ourselves must document our liberation war narratives.
Our children must not ask us who Mabenge was and why he was interred at the National Heroes Acre.
That is wrong. It is time we do the right thing – glorifying and immortalising our heroes and heroines.