Reburials not an afterthought


THERE is an organisation that is working silently doing very important work.
Its work largely remains in the fringes of the media for the organisation has not received much coverage.
The Fallen Heroes Trust of Zimbabwe (FHT) has been followed here and there by one or two reporters, it is as if many are not interested in the work they are doing.
The genesis of an independent Zimbabwe was painful and many carry the scars of that war deep in the mind.
Wars are always traumatic and evoke painful memories, but we always need to heal these traumas and one of the ways to deal with this trauma is to fulfill the promises survivors of the war made to fallen comrades.
War is ugly, it is not tidy and thus we never had time to accord decent burial to our fallen comrades.
And thousands more were buried in places that are being discovered now.
We promised those we left behind that we would return for them that we would accord them decent burial when the war was over.
And the comrades that make up the FHT are fulfilling those promises.
When we discovered the atrocities hidden in Chibondo, Mount Darwin, we said it was only the tip of an iceberg.
We said in time mother earth would expose other mines and mass graves where Zimbabweans lie, last rites unsaid.
These reburials are important for a number of reasons.
They remind us of an unpleasant past.
These bones that are being buried are not mere bones, but were flesh and blood that gave birth to this free nation.
They are the cradle of the present and inspire us to keep forging ahead.
We must make as much noise as we can about the reburials; they must not happen in silence or be an item presented to the populace as an afterthought.
There are constituencies that would rather we remain quiet that would want us to forget insisting our past does not matter much compared to the future.
To forget the comrades, the chimbwidos and mujibhas in shallow and mass graves is to forget colonial injustices and the evil nature of the systems which propped up the Rhodesian regime?
They screamed ‘murder’ when we took back our land for they feared that we would discover their atrocities.
And it is the resettlement areas, in lands formerly owned by whites that hundreds of our people are being discovered.
Instead of engaging those who held the gun, Rhodesians collectively punished the population which supported the guerrillas.
The violence and atrocities that they perpetrated in a bid to continue exploiting us remain unwritten, but through the work of the FHT we can start documenting and writing this important story.
Rhodesians committed endless atrocities both within and outside the country.
Some of us are still haunted by Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Victory Camp, Freedom Camp and many other places where Zimbabweans lost their lives fighting to remove an unjust regime.
And these reburials will be a balm to many survivors whose spirits have remained troubled.
We need to support the work of the trust.
We will never forget the service proffered by these sons and daughters of the soil.


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