Exploring multiple dimensions of our legacy and African heritage

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AS the so-called Presidential Youth Interface Rallies organised by the G40 leadership intensified, it became obvious that both ZANU PF and Government had been hijacked.
The deliberate persistent and vocal attacks on those with liberation war credentials intensified.
Genuine war veterans were run to the ground and even jailed! It was unbelievable.
How could the war veterans who brought us independence suddenly turn into villains?
The youths were mobilised to spearhead the campaign, rub out and deny our liberation war ethos.
War veterans were made to literally hide in the nooks and crannies of our society, almost forced to apologise for having fought the whiteman to liberate Zimbabwe.
That there were thousands walking wounded, maimed as they fought to liberate Zimbabwe, did not matter to the G40 cabal.
They abused the authority and standing of the then president, using their closeness to his family to further their diabolical agenda to destroy the liberation legacy of Zimbabwe.
Emerging allegations of looting state resources and even cash clearly indicate the G40 were about enriching themselves.
The Presidency had been effectively captured.
The claim made by the now infamous professor, to destroy ZANU PF from within became a frighteningly close reality.
Long-serving gallant liberation fighters in Government and various Party structures were mercilessly targeted, tainted, vilified and dragged to court.
We should be grateful that the war veterans’ leadership of comrades Chris Mutsvangwa, Victor Matemadanda and others stuck to their guns and denounced the G40 hijacking of the presidency.
They refused to accept daylight robbery of Zimbabwe’s legacy.
In Shona there is a saying: “Chingoma chiririse ndicho chiparuki.”
Literally, that means, ‘a drum that beats louder and louder is just about to crack up’.
Awe-struck Zimbabweans thought the drum was at its loudest at the Bulawayo White City Stadium interface rally.
That marked the final push to hound the then Vice-President, now President Emmerson Mnangagwa, out of office.
Nobody had guessed that the following morning, a ‘Sunday chingoma’ would beat even more loudly.
Vapostori, dressed in their colourful white and red garments were subjected to a most horrifying foul-mouthed ‘sermon’, targeting war veterans, the defence forces and President Mugabe’s then second in command among others.
Call it hate speech or hate sermon, it was the last thing any decent dignitary would preach to a religious gathering.
But the drum was reaching its crescendo.
The fury of the attack on war veterans, the Generals and their defence forces and the withering fire on the then Vice-President was chilling to say the least.
It left the poor vapostori who had humbly gathered to hear the ‘mother’ of the nation address them, mortified.
As it turned out, that interface rally with vapositori was the last straw.
The camel’s back broke.
Even children could see that we had lost our bearings.
These actions and the tone of the rantings were completely out of tune with our African norms and values.
Our legacy was being vandalised under the guise of mobilising the youths.
We the children of Murenga, Nehanda, Chaminuka and Mzilawegazi had fought for our independence.
We had laid thousands of bodies to build a bridge across the deep gorge of colonialism that separated us from freedom; from Zimbabwe.
We whose wounds of war were still hurting; we who still limped around with aching bodies from the wounds of the Second Chimurenga; we who still fought tears as we remembered those who fell at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Tembwe, Victory Camp and the thousands of unmarked graves littered within and outside Zimbabwe!
Yes we who are still fighting to assert our authority over our recovered farmland and our mineral resources; yes we the survivors of the bitter liberation war; we watched as vultures threatened to tear our legacy to pieces.
Our heroic legacy of struggle and triumph over our colonisers; our gallantry in the face of the whiteman’s military power of tanks and war planes!
That is the legacy the G40 wanted to rub off the memories of Zimbabweans; to deny the nation knowledge of our heroic legacy of struggle.
See how they hijacked the youths, corrupting them and pumping them full of alcohol and a false gospel that rubbishes our rich traditions; our great respect for our elders, our Chimurenga heroes, our culture and our African religion!
Yes, misleading our youths!
Denying our youths pride of knowing their forebears, other youths who fought the whiteman to a stand-still.
It was the youth who carried all the arms and war equipment on foot from Zambia and Mozambique into Zimbabwe.
It was the youth who endured days of hunger and thirst, mosquito bites, malaria and other ailments.
But now they were being turned into villains by G40!
The history of our young generations throughout the Chimurenga wars is a rich legacy of proud sacrifice for the liberation of our motherland.
I often ask my university students to guess the ages of some of our well-known war veterans like Air Marshal Perrance Shiri. Their estimates range from 55-to-60 years of age.
I then ask them how old these freedom fighters were at independence in 1980.
You subtract 37 years from the estimated age.
An ‘old’ comrade of 55 was only 18 years at independence; a 60-year-old was only 23 years old.
These are the ages of my university students.
So I tell the students: Those now ‘old’ comrades that you sometimes laugh at or consider un-educated, were mostly teenagers and 20+ year olds at independence in 1980.
They had spent all their teen years fighting to liberate Zimbabwe from the clutches of British colonialism.
In their early 20s, they had already fought the whiteman to a stand-still, forcing him to a ceasefire and independence negotiations at Lancaster House.
That is the legacy of the youths of Zimbabwe.
The youths of today must jealously guard the gains of our independence, preserve and defend the legacy of our liberation struggle.
Their challenge: What legacy will they bequeath to those who will come after them?
The G40 cabal worked hard to rub out the legacy of struggle and sacrifice.
It wanted the youths to believe that wealth comes from doing deals.
Such a culture turns our youths into criminals and corrupt operatives serving the interests of power-hungry criminals.
It negates the dignity of honest hard work.
God said ‘you will eat of your sweat’ underlining the dignity of labour.
This is the gospel being preached by President Mnangagwa. The legacy of honest hard work is what we must restore.
That is the legacy that the enemy wanted us to forget; to deny; to belittle, yes even vilify.
Did you not hear them laugh at the war veterans; that they have little education; that they have no money, no houses! And for many not even a piece of land to grow food!
And they even set up alternative ‘leaders’ of war veterans with no war credentials or even history of fighting the enemy.
But the war veterans have a legacy of national sacrifice, of selfless service to Zimbabwe.
Yes, I always remind my students there was no pay, no allowance, no breakfast, lunch or dinner during the liberation struggle.
You ate what you were lucky to find.
That legacy of sacrifice for common good: that is the legacy that we must restore.
The military pulled Zimbabwe from the brink, just before the G40 cabal plunged the country into eternal suffering and economic doom.
That legacy of defending the people’s interest is what must be restored and nurtured.
That is the legacy that President Mnangagwa wants all of us to restore and promote!

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