Fare thee well Cde Shiri

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ONCE more a dark cloud hovers over us.

The nation has lost another illustrious citizen, a talented and hardworking son of the soil, Cde Perence Shiri.

He has departed to the yonder world to join the constellation of Zimbabwe’s finest.

We do not mourn him.

We celebrate him; celebrate a well lived life, a life of service.

Throughout his life, Cde Shiri was consistent about one thing; his love for the motherland.

He was a liberator and a patriot who devoted his life to the service of his fellowman.

His passing on is not a dark period, but a moment of glory.

We all must celebrate the life of this patriot. Our brief in this moment of grief is to celebrate the life of this patriot.

His national stature and heroic status are undisputable.  

His history is our pride and our heritage. 

He was a typical war veteran, true to himself and to the world

By joining the liberation struggle, he displayed the spirit of sacrifice found in the men and women of his generation.

What worries me, what alarms me, what scares me and what depresses me is that our heroes and heroines are dying, departing with their stories of the liberation struggle untold.

I am sad for future generations. Some of us were participants in the bush, in the villages, in the camps, so we know. But what about those that were not there, what about those being born today, will they know.

Do we want them to know?

Where will they get inspiration from? Will children born and bred today, both in the country and the Diaspora know the heroes of their land?

Do we value the stories carried by the men and women who fought and contributed to the country’s liberation struggle?

The likes of George Washington, Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte and Otto von Bismarck have not died.

They remain very much alive because their stories are not just constantly repeated by word of mouth.

Volumes of literature about them have been produced even films about them have been made. Books chronicling, not just their exploits, but even their childhood, just their childhood, have been produced.

These figures that will not die, left behind detailed diaries. It is sad, very sad to hear tales of heroics during burials.

We want to know of the exploits of our heroes and heroines while they live.

The story is much better coming from the horse’s mouth.

I challenge those that participated in the liberation struggle the mujibhas, the chimbwidos, the guerillas, the commanders, the trainers, the refugees, the exiles, everyone who existed during this crucial phase of our history to record their experiences.

The passing on of Cde Shiri reminds us of the enormous task we have before us.

We need to narrate and write, profusely, the histories, escapades and achievements of our heroes.

Should we wait for the death of our heroes and heroines to get snippets of their lives and contribution to nation building?

Indeed, not writing our own history amounts to treason, for we are leaving ourselves at the mercy of foreign historians, who have no qualms about distorting and misrepresenting our past.

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 Josiah Magama Tongogara, Jaison Z. Moyo, and others.

The most important thing is what Cde Shiri symbolised and stood for; valour, honour and love for the motherland.

I will repeat that the act of being silent about ourselves is an act of giving space to non-Zimbabweans to narrate the Zimbabwean story.

It creates empty spaces that have allowed political mischief-makers to plot with foreigners to bring down our nation, to derail our efforts at every turn.

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