NO one was at peace with the arrival of the whiteman in our land.
It spelt doom, untold suffering and enslavement.
Our people had never accepted enslavement.
In the war of 1893, an assault on the Ndebele, orchestrated by Leander Starr Jameson, became known as the First Chimurenga.
Our people fought valiantly but in the face of annihilation they had to let it be.
There was no point in being wiped out; it was better to live to fight another day.
The Catholic clergy, through one Father Beihler at Chishawasha Mission, advocated genocide as the late Brigadier General Felix Muchemwa notes in his book The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010): “Our mode of fighting is not the proper one for the Mashona.
It seems to me the only way of dealing with these Mashona is to starve them, destroy all their lands and kill all that can be killed.”
Cecil John Rhodes and Father Beihler were of the same mind – the Africans were vermin to be exterminated!
The formation of ZANU was the beginning of another day, the day to fight and end the armed robbery of the land by the British.
The late ZANU Chairman Herbert Chitepo summarised the thinking of the people of Zimbabwe which made them decide to form ZANU.
Said Chairman Chitepo: “We looked upon the situation we were facing.
It was clear we were facing a situation of assault, a situation of violence. We were, to all intends and purposes, being made under compulsion, under force, under duress of a very vicious type, to serve in the mines, to be minions, to have no place, no education, to live like serfs in the country of our birth.
“So back in 1963, the Zimbabwe African National Union was created on the very slogan of confrontation.
It was direct confrontation.” (Chitepo:1974).
The grievances were the same from 1890 to August 8 1963 when the people of Zimbabwe birthed ZANU, launching another day, the day to end this travesty, using modern weapons.
The formation of ZANU was a culmination of years of refusal and rejection of bondage to the whiteman.
We celebrate this 56th birthday of ZANU with pride because ZANU never relented on its commitment to confront the white menace and uproot it.
And 17 years later, after prosecuting a bitter, relentless war against the white robbers, ZANU and fellow fighters of ZAPU celebrated victory at Rufaro Stadium and throughout the land. The Queen of England’s son, Prince Charles, came to collect their flag as we hoisted ours representing a land restored to its owners.
It’s poignant that every year we celebrate the birth of ZANU, at the same time that we celebrate the martyrs for our country because, like ZAPU, ZANU rallied the heroism of our people to achieve the greatest feat — the liberation of our land, Zimbabwe.
The birth of ZANU on the slogan of confronting the whiteman underlines a historical truth that we can all be proud of; that between the end of the First Chimurenga in 1898 and 1963 there was an unbroken chain of the liberation ethos.
As we celebrate ZANU’s birthday this week and Heroes and Defence Forces Days next week, it is time to renew our pledge to ensure that the young of today and the future are imbued with this heroic spirit so that the liberation ethos remains burning in them.