IT is explosive!

On August 8 1963 was born the greatest ever political party in Zimbabwe, the party which pioneered the armed removal of the white supremacist who took our land by force of arms, declaring with impunity that the land and all that is in it belonged to them as a right of conquest.

The formation of ZANU was a declaration of war against the white usurpers of our land and wealth.

Among the founding fathers of ZANU were Cdes Ndabaningi Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi, Hebert Mukudzei Midzi, Edgar Tekere and Leopold Takawira.

In 1963, they decided that all options of restoring our land to ourselves by negotiations, by constitutional means, had failed; it was ‘a dead end road’ as Chairman Chitepo put it.

It was time to use armed confrontation, armed force as in 1896/7 but this time with weapons to match the whiteman’s.

The die was cast.

Thus ZANU picked the mantle of Mbuya Nehanda, and her compatriots who had been correctly ensconced by Musikavanhu that the white menace had to be driven out by armed force.

Sixty-seven years later, ZANU realised that it was still the same whiteman, with the same obduracy, you could not ensconce with him through dialogue, the only language he understood was the force of arms.

The same recognition that one of the young indunas had made at one of Cecil Rhodes’ indabas in August 1897, when he underlined: “I have found that the whiteman listens when I am with my rifle. Once I put it down, I am kicked like a dog.”

Did ZANU have the courage, the commitment, the mettle to successfully carry out such an arduous mission? 

Would ZANU triumph?

It was a Party with vision and resolve.

That same year, 1963, saw the first group of recruits led by Dambudzo Emmerson Mnangagwa being dispatched abroad for military training.

This was followed by another group led by Josiah Magama Tongogara within the same year and only three years later, the first armed confrontation between trained ZANU cadres, seven ZANLA combatants, stood their ground as they were assaulted from the air and the ground and only fell when they ran out of ammunition. 

They fought the enemy heroically for several hours, penning a trail that is a source of pride to all Zimbabweans.

Happy Birthday ZANU PF indeed!

From then on, the white supremacist Rhodesians knew the die had been cast. Nehanda’s bones had risen — her prophecy was being fulfilled!

Chairman Herbert Chitepo had successfully carried out the mandate from ZANU’s jailed leaders to organise the armed struggle, the mission for which ZANU had been created. But he also knew that he had attacked a hornet’s nest. However, he was of the mettle of Nehanda, and of true revolutionaries all over the world who declare: ‘We have nothing to lose but our chains!’ 

He never looked back.

Under Chitepo’s tutelage as the Chairman of Dare reChimurenga, closely working with Tongogara and others, ZANLA was born. With the opening of the north-eastern frontier in 1972, Chimurenga fire blazed across the country ever more fiercely, taking the whiteman by surprise. He was not prepared for such an onslaught and unsuccessfully scrambled to put out the fire.

He was no match for the likes of Cde Rex Nhongo who had opened the north-eastern frontier with shots on Alterna Farm on December 21 1972, nor for Cde Chinodakufa’s group which, on Janurary 1973, fought a belligerent unit of three land development officers (LDOs) who had attacked civilians at the Gwerevende homestead in Chesa as punishment for housing guerillas, killing two of the LDOs and capturing a third, Gerald Hawksworth; thus blazed the fire lit in the north-eastern frontier.

Cde Nhongo and his compatriots were in control and the masses were solidly behind them — they were one.

The whiteman often makes mistakes because he never learns from his past and some of the mistakes are catastrophic.

The first and most fundamental mistake was to kill Mbuya Nehanda Nyakasikana; he could not stem the tide of the First Chimurenga warriors.

Nehanda’s martyrdom was the insurance that the Chimurenga war would end in victory for the black majority, the owners of the land.

Sixty-five years later, only one generation later, thousands of youths began to flock to Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Algeria, Egypt and beyond to train — an endless sea of revolutionaries fulfilling and honouring her dying wish that ‘her bones would rise’ and drive out the white menace!

But the whiteman refused to learn from this catastrophic mistake. 

Once again the force of Chimurenga fire frightened them out of their wits; they knew they were fighting a war they had already lost. 

It was just a matter of time. So they decided to kill Chairman Chitepo, convinced this would end the force of Chimurenga, and grant the whiteman peace in a land he had siezed with terror and bloodshed.

He would not acknowledge shedding blood does not destroy the spirit force of the person, so nothing truly changes.

The murder of Chitepo was another cataclysmic mistake. March 18 1975 was not the death of ZANU — ZANU and ZANLA did not disband.

The youngsters swelled and broke banks; they swelled from all corners of Zimbabwe to take up Chitepo’s mantle.

The rear camps overflowed with youngsters, including children of primary school going age, who presented themselves to ZANU to be trained as fighters to redeem their land. 

It was unprecedented.

The whiteman, as usual blind as a bat, chose to do his worst; he chose to massacre thousands of untrained refugees, mothers, fathers, babies, grandmothers and fathers, boys and girls, young men and women at Nyadzonia Camp on August 9.

At least 3 000 of them were murdered in cold blood.

This was accomplished with the assistance of a former ZANLA commander who had defected.

The whiteman believed this heinous crime would end the reverberations from the force of the land, from the sobbing shadows of thousands massacred with dynamite and starved to death by the enemy’s ‘scorched earth’ policy during the First Chimurenga. He thought he could silence the shadows which were haunting him, telling him; this is not your land, it will never be.

It was a crime against humanity perpetrated against a people who had done no wrong except to demand what was rightfully theirs, a God-given sacred land from Musikavanhu Himself.

The spirit of Murenga was unsettled, disturbed, he could not rest. Nehanda wept for her children but remained resolute while Chaminuka sharpened his spears — it was aluta continua! 

ZANU and ZANLA continued to regroup, and restrategise to learn from their experiences — it was forward ever, backward never! 

Chimurenga fire continued to blaze and scorch across the land!

The callous brutality at Nyadzonia, on August 9 1976, did not assuage the whiteman’s fears of the sage of force of the sobbing shadows of those murdered for their land which continued to haunt them despite the bloodshed which was meant to silence the land.

Part of the story of the Gweru Congress in 1964 at Mtapa Hall.

Still, the only response the white menace saw fit was to commit atrocity after atrocity,

Meanwhile, pungwe after pungwe was held in the hills and hinterland of the land, and Chimurenga fire continued to flare across the country.

‘Mwoyo wangu watsidza kufira Zimbabwe

Mumakomo nemunzizi ndichararamo

Dakara pfumo rangu ramutsa Zimbabwe!’ 

They would sing every night, they continued to sing every night; more and more infused with the fire of the love for their country.

‘Zimbabwe iyoyi 

Yanga yanditora moyo….’

Chimbetu would later summarise the feelings of the ZANLA guerillas.

They could not be at peace that the whiteman could continue to desecrate the land with their presence, with impunity, brazenly claiming all the land, all its wealth and with such callousness and brutality.

With each passing day, the whiteman could not be at peace — everywhere he went, he was losing the war. There were liberated zones all over the land, the morale of ZANLA and the masses, its compatriots, was very high.

Blind as a bat still, the whiteman made his last mistake.

He decided to unleash his utmost cruelty on ZANU; he would skirt the Chimoio ZANLA Operations Base near the Vanduzi mountains where the most formidable 2000 strong ZANLA commandos were ensconced and, instead, attack the Chimoio HQ Base which was composed mostly of civilians; women, children, the sick,  amputees and the elderly.

He would attack the defenseless, the unarmed, with weapons of mass destruction, most of which were internationally banned, with cluster bombs and with napalm bombs. 

This was to wipe them all off the face of the earth; it was to shock and paralyse ZANU and ZANLA into submission.

No-one who truly loves his/her country throws in the towel because the enemy has been very cruel. In fact, true fighters get fired up, become even more resolute to wipe out such vileness. 

Chimoio was the writing on the wall: ‘Here ends Project Rhodesia!’

This was the last foray into the rear which enemy Rhodesia would ever win. ZANU and ZANLA had completed their mapping of this revolutionary struggle and the reprisals were even more fierce — and they triumphed!


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