Nyadzonia: Lest we forget!

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THIS week, The Patriot joins the rest of the nation in commemorating Heroes’ and Defence Forces’ Days.
This is a good time to take stock and to reflect.
We are what we are and who we are because of the selfless acts of many who are not with us today.
We find ourselves again revisiting the song ‘Mukoma Takanyu’ by Nyadzonia Mbira Unity which narrates the Nyadzonia Genocide where thousands of refugees, mostly women and children, were killed by the Rhodesian Forces.
Its message forever remains relevant and a reminder of the duty we have towards the motherland:
“Kuzotiwo mumwe musi kana uchinge wakagara wombofunga kuti ko mukomana watakaisa mugomba uyo kumusha kwake haana kukusvika vabereki varikuzviziva here kuti ari muGonarenzou?
Vabereki varikuziva here kuti ari mugomba?
Vabereki varikuziva here kuti ari mugomba?
Vabereki varikuziva here kuti akaora?
Unofanira kugara uchizvitondera kana mamwe mazuva aunofara.”
We cannot help but think of our young.
They are important, they are the future.
The heroes we commemorate were boys and girls when they took up arms.
They decided they would not live as slaves and servants of the whiteman.
These were young men and women who were directed and informed by their history – the story of their people.
Nations are built by their narratives, but how are these being told for the benefit of our young, born in a free Zimbabwe which is replete with opportunities?
A people without a narrative are lost.
How much do they understand and know about our heroes and defenders.
We survived in Rhodesia, we fought in the liberation struggle; Zimbabwe is beautiful and full of opportunities, for the black man and woman.
Sadly our children know more about Western heroes and holidays because these have been immortalised in books, films and countless documentaries.
Rhodesians committed endless atrocities both within and outside the country and they are glorified!
Many are still haunted by the brutality at Nyadzonia, Pasichigare, Chimoio, Tembwe and Freedom Camp, among others.
And this week, we carry a story about the Nyadzonia Genocide in particular where Rhodesian forces brutally murdered thousands of Zimbabweans in a refugee camp in Mozambique on August 9 1976.
Rhodesians called it ‘Operation Eland’ and General Peter Walls was the instigator.
To date, they say that killing of innocent children, women and men, was ‘one of their most successful operations’, yet it was in fact, a war crime.
But then there are lessons we must draw from this callous incident.
The Rhodies used ‘one of our own’, a sell-out by the name Morrison Nyathi – a commander the guerillas trusted.
Nyathi turned against fellow comrades and the end result was the annihilation of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees who were ‘dying’ to free their country from colonial bondage.
And today as we remember those sons and daughters of the soil who never came back home; those comrades who still lie in shallow graves around the country; those comrades who lie in unmarked places, we must also remember that there are today’s Nyathis.
Those are Nyathis dining with the enemy in order to return the country to thieves and murderers who colonised us!
These are the same Nyathis, the same traitors and agents pushing for regime change in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans must therefore remain resilient.
So, as we celebrate both our departed and living heroes, I am compelled to share a message we recently came across in one of these whatsapp groups: “Today is Nyadzonia Day.
Let us take just a moment to remember the thousands of sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who were massacred in cold blood, unarmed, by Rhodesians on this sad day.
For some, Heroes’ Day is just another holiday on the calendar.
For us who lived these ordeals, today is a journey back into the reality of our very being as war veterans.
Takachengetwa nekuda kwaMwari nevadzimu veZimbabwe.
Ropa redu takazvipira kuti richazoonekwa pasi pemureza weZimbabwe.
May the souls of our dearly departed comrades rest in peace.”
Zimbabwe, lest we forget!

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