EVERY August, we take our memories back to the past for a reason.
We relive events of the past.
We bow our heads in honour of our gallant sons and daughters of the soil.
We celebrate their achievements and their efforts in restoring our dignity and honour as the true and real owners of our country.
We cherish their bravery.
As we do so, we should be siezed with the compelling fact that we owe our freedom to their gallantry.
That we have a duty to preserve their memories.
That we are custodians of the legacy they left us.
The legacy of independence and freedom.
The legacy of ownership of land and the means of production.
We are a country that was under the bondage of colonialism for many years.
We are a country that fought our way to the freedom that we now enjoy.
The legacy of that heroic and historic struggle can never be washed or wished away.
It should, and will, remain with us till eternity.
That legacy of that struggle is what binds us.
No amount of denigrating that struggle can erase that overwhelming part of our history.
Time and again, we should be bound by that history to do what is right for our country.
Time and again, we should be bound by that past to defend our history.
We should stand in the present and walk into the future armed by the values and virtues of that struggle.
Our gallant sons and daughters of the soil were not blind, however, to the dispossession of their people, an issue that they took head on through confrontation with the enemy; physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
Let us never forget the dispossession of our land.
The Tribal Trust Lands for instance.
This was a colonial creation of the Tribal Trust Land Act of 1961, and stemming from the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, creating fixed boundaries for white-owned land and reserves.
These reserves were marked by infertile and rocky soil, largely unsuitable for any form of agriculture.
Now we have our land back.
Now we use it, knowing fully that it came through bloodshed.
We should never forget that.
This is where Charles Mungoshi’s Waiting for the Rain comes in handy.
As the Old Man intimates: “The land is the Earth’s; there is enough for everyone.
We couldn’t understand this desire of theirs to call everything mine mine mine.
What they didn’t know which we knew, which made us survive, was that we owned nothing and it wasn’t our own cunning which made us live.
Everything was the Earth’s.
What else could we do but fight them?
We fought them and here we are today.
For those of us who saw those battles our granaries and homes are still burning. (p.116)”
We should be productive on our land.
We should never give our detractors room to attack us.
We should forever jealously guard our land.
And, as we do so, we should forever be armed by the knowledge that it did not come on a silver platter.
It was fought for and blood was shed.
It is that very blood that waters our freedom.