Untold stories of liberation war

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By Knowledge Teya

SO many stories have been told about the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe, but there are numerous untold stories that Rhodesians swept under the carpet in order to conceal their callous nature.
The story of Headman Nyikadzino from Hurungwe is such an example.
It is documented at the Chinhoyi Provincial Heroes Acre Museum, a place worth visiting.
It is said in 1978 in Hurugwe, Rhodesians ambushed Headman Nyikadzino at his homestead because he supported guerillas during the war.
They burnt the entire homestead leaving Headman Nyikadzino and his family dead.
Despite the gruesome attack there were two survivors who lived to tell the story. “Masoja akauya akapisa musha wose,” said Mrs Nyikadzino in a statement.
“Mai vakuru namai vadoko pamwe navatezvara vangu vose vakabva vafa.
“Baba vakafa vachitsva musoro wose nevhudzi.
“Ini ndakangotora dish irori ndokupinda nemwana ndokuti zii takadero, zvokuti havana kumboziva kuti mune vanhu.
“Musha wese ndokuparara kwawo zvokuti takatombonotsvaga kwokugara.
“Zvanga zvakaoma.”
According to the custodian of the museum, Cde Kays Matuke, it is said the Rhodesian forces for some reason ignored the dish Mrs Nyikadzino hid with her daughter.
“Vanotaura vachiti umwe musoja (Rhodesian) akatombotsika dish iri asi haana kurikudubura,” said Cde Kays.
“Nanhasi zvinoshamisa zvekare kuti mwana haana kana kumbochema paiitika zvose izvi.”
In another horrific incident shown through pictures at the museum, combatants were forced to dip their heads into drums of boiling water by the Rhodesian forces.
According to information at the museum this incident happened in Chimoio.
Combatants forced to dip their heads into drums of boiling water by the Rhodesian forces
And in Chitomborwizi, there are various families who were tortured while some were left for dead because they associated with freedom fighters.
It is worthwhile to note that the Rhodesian forces also targeted schools in their quest to win the war because in Guruve in 1978, the Rhodesian forces bombed St Phillips Secondary School.
According to a former student, Emmanuel Black, the Rhodesians bombed the school in order to deny Africans the right to education.
He said the atrocities committed by Rhodesians must be exposed in order for people to understand why the war was necessary.
“Varungu vakauya muno sevanhu vaida kutibetsera isu tisingazive kuti vanga vari mhondi chaidzo,” said Black.
“Vakawanda vakafa vachirwira rusununguko rwenyika ino, vamwe vakasiiwa vakaremara zvekuti nanhasi mavanga ehondo vanawo.
“Zvanga zvisingaite kuti tiuraiwe takatarisa ndosaka takazobatana kuti tirwise mhandu idzi.
“We just had to retaliate.”
True to Black’s words, guerrillas got their fare share of the Rhodesian forces through numerous attacks that even made headlines in the press that time.
There were a number of success stories for the freedom fighters.
For example, the same year 1978 on September 3, one ‘Cde Soup’ gunned down a Boeing 707 plane that fell down in the Nyamhungu area of Hurungwe.
The target was the Rhodesian government intelligence supremo, General Peter Walls, but he was not in that plane.
Some of the remains of this Boeing 707 are well kept at the Chinhoyi Provincial Heroes Acre museum.
The museum is also in possession of other remains of the Viscount plane that was gunned down by the liberation forces in the Chitikitira area of Hurungwe on February 12 1979.
It is said all the passengers on board perished and this riled the Rhodesian forces. Again in 1978 the Norton railway line was blown up by the guerillas and in 1979 the guerillas blew the Kariba power line, leading to a massive blackout in Salisbury (Harare).
So successful was this mission such that the incident is said to have been reported on BBC because it had effectively disturbed the communication network for the Smith regime.
Another success story for the guerrillas was the battle at Corner Masanga in Hurungwe in 1979 also known as the ‘battle that affected even the weather’.
It is said the guerrillas first attacked and killed a group of white soldiers and spared one whom they would ask to use a radio to call for more reinforcements, pretending that the Rhodesian soldiers were winning the battle.
The guerrillas would ambush them.
Several Rhodesian soldiers were killed as the guerrillas continued using the same tactic throughout the day.
It is important to note that there were influential comrades in Mashonaland West who inspired guerrillas during the liberation struggle.
These include, Cde Mudhumeni Chivende who received seven guerrillas in Chinhoyi in 1966, Cde Chop, who was among the first five guerrillas to be trained in China between 1962-64, Cde Joseph Mbedzi, the ZIPRA zone commander who coordinated the war in Mash West and Cde Admire ‘Concrete Ideas’ who always had solid ideas on how to conquer Rhodesians.
Cde Kays Matuke said the invaluable history at the Chinhoyi Provincial Heroes Acre museum must be passed down from generation to generation.
He said it is imperative for all Zimbabweans, particularly children as the future generation to understand the ideals of the liberation struggle in order for them to safeguard the gains of the revolution.

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