THE presence of the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in the centre of the country’s capital city will serve as a constant silent reminder of the role played by this iconic heroine in inspiring the nation to rid the country of colonial rule.
The spirit of Mbuya Nehanda, through her medium Mbuya Charwe, helped us resist colonial rule through armed struggle despite the ‘inferiority’ of our weaponry.
It is the bravery of Mbuya Nehanda in the face of a foe who did not hesitate to kill, which became the core of the ethos of the victorious cadres of the Second Chimurenga.
A defiant Mbuya Nehanda refused to give in to the demands of the settlers to ‘repent’ so that she might be saved from the gallows.
“Mapfupa angu achamuka,” was her ominous prophecy on being hanged.
She had no regrets.
It is 40 years ago since we achieved our final victory against stubborn colonial rulers.
And it was the influence of the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda which played a crucial role in making sure this was achieved.
But because of the influence of colonial rule, there is a tendency among some Zimbabweans to disregard the sacrifices by those who shed their blood to achieve our independence.
The statue of Mbuya Nehanda, though long overdue, should go a long way in provoking curiosity into finding out her significance in our history.
That is why it is appropriate that information about Mbuya Nehanda and the First Chimurenga should be packaged for display together with the statue of this great heroine.
This is an essential history, especially for the the ‘born frees’ who might not have heard much about the sacrifices that were endured during the armed struggle.
This includes MDC faction leader Nelson Chamisa, who was two years old at independence.
He is not yet convinced that a statue in honour of the role played by Mbuya Nehanda in bringing independence to our country deserves a statue.
There are of course other victims of colonial mentality, who are like minded.
However, the virtue of identifying ourselves with such an iconic heroine should be a given.
Our colonisers were very good at this.
Imposing statues of the colonialists’ pathfinder, David Livingstone, and their leader Cecil John Rhodes were erected as acknowledgment of their roles in ‘discovering’ a British colony.
Though people might be silent but the significance of statues is well known.
No wonder during the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests, statues associated with the promotion of slavery were brought down.
In our case, we should be proud of Mbuya Nehanda’s statue just as we are of our independence.
And there is nowhere better than where this historic statue was placed.
The intersection of Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere Way links our heroine with two regional leaders who played a big part in ensuring that Mbuya Nehanda’s vision was fulfilled.
Perhaps, we should also have statues of First Chimurenga stalwarts, whose decapitated heads were taken as trophies to the British monarch.
These include Chief Mashaymombe Chinengundu, Chief Chingaira Makoni and Chief Kadungure Mapondera, among others.
With time, we should be relieved to see all colonial relics, especially in the form of place names, disappear.
But for now let’s have pride in the statue of Mbuya Nehanda being erected right in the centre of Harare.