Honour revolutionary leaders


AS we congratulate President Robert Mugabe on his assumption of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairmanship, we must as a region and continent, heed his call to honour our yesteryear leaders and heroes.
These leaders were the force behind the liberation of Africa from colonial rule.
However, they are much more than that for they were an embodiment of principles that remain forever important and integral in the transformation and development agenda.
The principles they advocated for we still need if the continent is to experience the so much desired sustainable development, where none is left behind to wallow in poverty.
Nations the world over talk of founding fathers and their heroes, seriously talk about them, with the exception of African countries.
Not only do these nations talk about their heroes, they give them the honour and recognition they deserve.
Discourses of development elsewhere take into account the heroes of the lands.
We have many unsung heroes on the continent.
Our children grow acquiring knowledge about everything else in the world, but their heroes.
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are more familiar to them compared to Julius ‘Mwalimu’ Nyerere, Sir Seretse Khama, Samora Machel and Kwame Nkrumah.
The call by President Mugabe must be taken seriously for the simple reason that all the success we desire is hinged in the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the principles espoused by the heroes of the continent.
The fundamental principles of the founding fathers were to liberate the peoples of Africa and to ensure they attained freedom in all spheres of life.
By honouring men like Nyerere, it means we will be reminded of his teachings that stated Africans must be in total control of their affairs, political, social and economic.
And guided by these principles our development will be wholesome and sustainable.
These leaders had a strong sense of identity which is critical when we deal with outsiders who are bent on robbing us and acquiring our resources for a song.
By honouring our heroes we will not be pigeonholed, but soar to greater heights, a proud people.
It is time that monumental structures of our heroes not only exist in physical spaces but in our hearts too, always we must carry them and continue to hear and value their teachings.
Time and again, regularly we must reflect, introspect and meditate on the principles that our leaders stood for and died preaching.
Mwalimu, the first President of Tanzania, was a towering giant in African politics who played a very important role in enabling us to make the successes so far achieved.
He must be celebrated because he did more than provide moral support to fellow Africans that were under the yoke of colonialism.
He fed, clothed and offered military training to fellow brothers and sisters so that they liberated themselves, at no cost but a huge one to him and his country.
If we do not sing Mwalimu’s song, which is our song, no one else will.
If we do not erect statues of our giant in cities across Africa no one will.
Nyerere deserves greater space not only in our liberation narrative but also in our development discourse.
We are where we are today because of Nyerere just like Americans are because of the likes of Franklin and Washington.
Mwalimu was more than a theorist and idealist but was in the trenches with us.
We must not spit on our heroes.
They are as relevant today as they were when they were alive.
We must not make apologies in celebrating our own.
Let us become assertive, call the shots, refuse to be belittled and patronised.


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