AUGUST is Heroes Month, a time when the country honours those who sacrificed their all for the liberation of our country.
The crucible of war and battle is a challenge that those born after 1980 can only imagine.
Those born in an independent Zimbabwe are fortunate to live in a country where war is a distant event, only made real by the fallen and survivors in our midst.
So in August, people join hands in showing their appreciation for those who fought for the liberation of the country.
Irked by the unfair treatment they were getting from the colonial regime, thousands of sons and daughters of the soil took it upon themselves to break the yoke of bondage.
They risked their lives and took up arms against the ruthless Ian Smith led regime.
They left their homes to battle it out in the trenches with the Rhodesian soldiers.
It was through their sacrifice, determination and hard work that Zimbabweans today enjoy living in a free and independent country.
Many lost their lives, others were injured and most carry the emotional scars of the war to today. It is those gallant soldiers that are celebrated in the month of August.
As the saying goes, ‘It does not take a hero to order men into battle but it takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.’
The liberation war heroes did not only end by complaining about the injustices perpetuated by the colonial regime, they took the bold step of wielding the gun against the colonisers.
In the poem titled I Know a Country by Roy Machamira, he speaks of the sacrifices made in the quest to free Zimbabwe.
“I know a country,” he writes.
“That policed themselves and marched in solidarity with the simple wish that was rooted and justified from many years of suffering.”
Locals under the Smith led regime were treated as second class citizens.
They were denied access to service delivery, proper and better educational and health facilities.
Locals were pushed out of prime lands which were given to white settler farmers.
All these aspects disadvantaged the locals, who then saw it fit to revolt against the colonial rule.
Machamira writes, “I know a country that went through severe poverty, social and economic injustice.”
“I know of a country that had every reason to pick up guns and redefine their future.”
As the poet writes, indeed Zimbabweans realised the colonial masters were not willing to hand back the country so one thing was left which was to use the gun to reclaim their birthright.
The efforts of these sons and daughters of the soil were not fruitless as in April, Zimbabwe was declared a free and independent country.
Today, its people still enjoy the benefits of the liberation struggle.
“I know of a country,” Machamira writes.
“That shines above the tallest buildings and the highest mountains.
“I know of a country with the people I will forever admire, the people of Zimbabwe.”
Indeed, as the nation celebrates the contributions of the liberation war heroes, their efforts will always be cherished and remembered.