Let’s tell our story

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IT is turning out to be a very sad winter. In recent days, we have laid to rest gallant sons of the soil. We have buried them at the sacred shrine, the National Heroes Acre, at Provincial Heroes Acres and in the villages dotted around the country. Heroes and heroines, it has been said, do not die. However, what worries me, what alarms me, what scares me and what depresses me is that our heroes and heroines may die.

Some of us were participants in the bush, in the villages, in the camps, so we know these heroes who have departed to join the finest of our sons and daughters. I have said it before, written about it and will do so again.

What about those who were not there; what about those being born today, will they know.

Do we want them to know?

Where will they get inspiration from?

Will children born and bred today, both in the country and the Diaspora, know the heroes of their land?

I will repeat:

Do we value the stories carried by the men and women who fought and contributed in the country’s liberation struggle?

The likes of George Washington, Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte and Otto von Bismarck have not died.

They remain very much alive because their stories are not just constantly repeated by word of mouth.

Volumes of literature about them have been produced and even movies and documentaries about them have been made.

Books chronicling not just their exploits, but even their childhood, just their childhood, have been produced.

No information has been mundane; their lives have been recorded down to favourite pastimes.

I will state again: Eulogies move us, but they do not delight.

Eulogies do not leave us awestruck, but wondering how and why such information was never made public. It is sad, very sad to hear tales of heroics during burials.

We want to know of the exploits of our heroes and heroines while they live.

The story is much better coming from the horse’s mouth. I make another appeal.

I challenge those who participated in the liberation struggle — the mujibhas, the chimbwidos, the guerillas, the commanders, the trainers, the refugees, the exiles, everyone who existed during this crucial phase of our history — to record their 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.

But there will come a day when we will all not be around, all of us who participated in the struggle. Then what will our children do, rely on hearsay and distorted information.

People who know nothing about the struggle, people who have personal agendas which are not good for the country, will provide information about the struggle.

Already Rhodies are producing volumes of literature on the liberation struggle, rubbishing victories made by cadres who are still alive.

Nothing is as sad as the story of the struggle being told by people who do not even know which end of the gun fires.

Our heroes and heroines were consistent about one thing right up to death, deep love for Zimbabwe.

I am sad for future generations.

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