Heroes and heroines live in us


ONCE again, a dark cloud has engulfed our nation.
Regardless of political affiliation, as a nation, we have lost gallant sons and daughters of the soil in succession.
Recently we were at the National Shrine to bid farewell to Cde Shuvai Ben Mahofa and before we had come to terms with the loss, Cde Martin Mwale-Kamtande, Cde George Rutanhire and Amai Maud Muzenda, among others, also passed on.
We have been robbed of these illustrious figures at a time we needed them the most, but then some have always said heroes and heroines don’t die, they just fade away.
And we at The Patriot say heroes and heroines daon’t die, but they continue to live in us as Zimbabweans.
This Saturday, Cde Rutanhire joins at the Heroes Acre, the likes of Cdes Josiah Tongogara, Felix Muchemwa, Vitalis Zvinavashe, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Victoria Chitepo, Solomon Mujuru and George Silundika, among others.
Indeed there was something unique about Cde Rutanhire, a man described by many as humble and committed.
We personally knew him at The Patriot because he would occasionally pass by ‘just to say hallo!’
Cde Rutanhire, as others knew, made a promise to other fallen comrades during the liberation struggle – a promise he kept till he passed on last Saturday – that of giving decent burials to those freedom fighters who never made it back home.
It is not a secret that there are still thousands of freedom fighters who lie in unmarked and shallow graves countrywide.
These comrades never got decent burials during the war because at that time, there was no time to bury them.
It was always, “Pamberi nehondo!”
And having survived the ugly war and served in different capacities in Government, Cde Rutanhire, as leader of the Fallen Heroes Trust of Zimbabwe, made it his mission to go back to the trenches and bring home ‘lost souls’ or ‘tormented souls’ as others would like to put it.
From the infamous Butcher in Rusape to Chibondo in Mt Darwin, Cde Rutanhire was at the forefront of exhumations and reburials of fallen comrades.
So far at Butcher, they had exhumed 183, Matumba 70, in Mutare, six and at Chibondo 848.
Cde Rutanhire spearheaded this programme because he chose not to forget but keep his promise.
Such unmatched commitment must inspire Zimbabweans because it reflects who we are as a people.
We are a people who know where we came from.
We are a people who understand that thousands of people perished for this precious land, Zimbabwe.
And because of that, we have become a resilient people who understand the need to safeguard our country.
The likes of Cde Rutanhire and company will forever remain heroes and heroines in the struggle against colonial bondage.
Their unwavering commitment, during and after the liberation war, must be cherished for there are some who were led astray by our colonisers.
Even today, there are many among us who continue to be abused by our former colonisers in serving white interests.
There are some among us who have chosen to forget that it is the likes of Cde Rutanhire and crew who ensured that land is restored to its rightful owners – the black majority – through the historic Land Reform Programme.
There are some who take for granted the independence we enjoy today, brought about by the likes of Cde Rutanhire and crew.
These are the same people who must enroll at the Chitepo Ideological College where Cde Rutanhire was the director in order to be exorcised (kuti varutsiswe)!
Go well Cde Rutanhire!
Your legacy must, and will, live on!


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