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Celebrating the birth of ZANU Part Eight …and Chitepo took the mantle

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WHAT is the import of celebrating the day Herbert Wiltshire Pfumaindini Chitepo died for his country, a founding member of ZANU, in the year ZANU turns 60 and which is also the year he would have been 100?
It is a confluence of great forces, a fusion of the greatest stars in the universe.
“Chitepo shone like the brightest star, lighting a trail which left Rhodesia fatally wounded. When they murdered you on March 18 1975, Chairman, you had dealt them a blow from which they could never recover. We hail you comrade! You served ZANU like a true son of the soil.”
When on August 8 1963 ZANU took upon itself the titanic task of uprooting Britain’s imperialist project, Rhodesia; when ZANU declared war on Britain’s robbery of our land; when ZANU declared it would take up arms to end the enslavement of the people of Zimbabwe by the British, Chitepo was part of the team that made this declaration.
When ZANU leaders were jailed in 1964, Chitepo became the embodiment of ZANU when the jailed leaders bestowed their mantle on his shoulders, charging him to implement the mission of ZANU — to launch the armed struggle, train forces and equip them for the fight to free the fatherland.
In declaring to fight the white menace, to uproot it by force of arms, ZANU lit an unquenchable fire which is still blazing today: Only a force of the greatest brilliance could have carried this blazing mantle while his compatriots were in jail. Only a Chitepo could have done this and he was equal to the task. He shone brilliantly; they thought they could quench the fire, the same mistake the white menace made when it thought it could secure the armed robbery of the land by murdering Mbuya Nehanda, sending a telegram to Britain that the war was over because they had captured Nehanda; a most fallacious self-deception, they knew they were treading on sacred land, the land of Murenga; nothing would end until the white menace was routed; they never quenched any fire, killing Chitepo was acknowledgement of their defeat and desperation. It only got worse. Chitepo had fatally wounded Rhodesia and it was only a matter of time. Rhodesia was bleeding to death, the work Chitepo had started, the fire he had lit, blazed even more harshly. At Mgagau, they made a declaration that no-one could stop Chimurenga, it continued to scorch Rhodesia and its surrogates relentlessly.
Chitepo would have been 100 this June.
The ZANU he started with his compatriots is 60 this year.
It is the greatest of celebrations, a confluence of great forces.
Whenever someone sacrifices everything for something, that fire, that force generated is unquenchable. Chitepo lit a fire that is unquenchable. He chose to leave everything behind, to abandon everything for the sake of this great gracious land.
It is what it takes to build a great nation, nothing less — sacrificing everything, denying yourself everything, fighting relentlessly, unflinchingly, unto death.
The sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who answered ZANU’s call to fight and free the nation knew this was the cost; they willingly laid down their lives at Chinhoyi, at Nyadzonia, at Chimoio, at Mboroma, at Kamungoma and elsewhere in the land and beyond its borders.
They lie there in state to remind the world, particularly the imperialists, that nothing can change. The land between the two great rivers belongs to the children of Murenga, everything in it, in perpetuity, and that they sealed this pact with their own blood.
That which was achieved by mass deaths in the camps at the rear from hunger and disease, from massacres by the enemy, can never be overcome or defeated. They suffered so much but they never changed their minds about fighting for this country.
Waking up and finding that the comrade next to you died in the night, knowing your own hunger and sickness will lead to the same and never looking back, still shouting: ‘Pamberi neZimbabwe!’, is why the freedom of this land is irrevocable.
Fighting everyday, knowing each moment could be your last, burying comrades who fell by your side, month after month, year-in year-out and yet you woke every single day to fight, and fight, and fight until final victory!
Who can quench the force generated by such dedication!
There was never any mutiny in the camps despite untold suffering and excruciating pain.
Nothing can match this.
Ropa rangu muchazoriona pasi peMureza weZimbabwe!
This is Zimbabwe’s fortress, they are Zimbabwe’s armour.
After the Nyadzonia massacre, the survivors at the gathering point still sang: ‘Zimbabwe ndeye ropa baba’, still affirming that the 3 000 lives just lost so harshly had been sacrificed to their oath to die for their fatherland, and though so hurt and in pain from spiritual and physical wounds inflicted only hours before, they  still renewed their pledge.
So, honestly, who killed Nehanda, who killed Chitepo!
It is not possible to kill the spirit force that has such total dedication and commitment unto death.
Chitepo lives, Nehanda lives!
When we kneel at Chimoio, when we kneel at the foot of Heroes’ Acre, the force of the land ensconces to thank each dedicated fighter who loved Zimbabwe unto death, to bless the land, and to rally each Zimbabwe-loving son and daughter of the land to take the mantle and look after the land.
It is the great triangle, a confluence of great forces. ZANU lit a great fire, Chitepo took the mantle and built the greatest army that struck fear in the hearts of imperialists and the army he built walked in his footsteps, until they achieved the task ZANU set for them on August 8 1963.
Congratulations Zimbabwe as we remember, commemorate and celebrate the day Chitepo died for his land, a true son of Murenga!
Congratulations Zimbabwe as we celebrate that ZANU, 60 years later!
Congratulations Zimbabwe as we celebrate on Chitepo Day that Chitepo’s forces still protect his mission!
The great confluence of forces still underline one thing in our history as a revolutionary country: It has always been about sacrifice and love which drove thousands to abandon everything, following in the footsteps of Chitepo, for the sake of others, for the sake of their land and not for themselves!

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