THE holding of the main ceremony for the 43rd Independence Day celebrations in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central Province is significant.
There are historical events in the armed struggle for our liberation associated with that province.
To begin with, it is at Altena Farm that the first bullets of the province were fired in the decisive stage of our liberation struggle after the Chinhoyi Battle of 1966.
After our defeat at the hands of white settlers who were using the Maxim gun, this time around we were ready to take them at their own game.
Altena was not going to remain an isolated incident.
The capture of Gerald Hawksworth, the Rhodesian Land Development Officer (LDO) in the Chesa area of Mt Darwin the following year also sent shivers down the spine of the whiteman.
Soon after December 22 1972, the armed struggle became a sustained phase in the battle to get our independence.
Blood was spilled and many lives were lost, for the settler-regime had perfected their killing machines.
Bravery, unity and determination on the part of the indigenes proved to be superior to the selfish colonial interests of the white settlers.
The decisive phase which began at Altena Farm with a few gunshots in December 1972 was finally settled at Lancaster House in December 1979.
The independence that we attained in 1980 and commemorated countrywide on April 18 was never a one-day event.
The choice of Mt Darwin as the main centre should help us trace our footsteps back, well beyond the beginning of the decisive phase of the armed liberation struggle.
While Altena Farm shows us our preparedness to face the imperialists bullet for bullet, Chibondo Farm, also in Mash Central, shows the inhuman brutality of the Ian Smith regime.
The human remains discovered in a shaft at William Monkey Mine at Chibondo are testament of the atrocities committed by the brutal illegal Smith regime.
In this ‘mass grave’ were remains of children, women and the elderly, let alone guerillas, chimbwidos and mujibhas.
Unsightly images of people dangling from helicopters are still fresh not only in Mashonaland Central, but countrywide.
This, the colonialists thought, would discourage the indigenes from supporting the liberation struggle.
They were wrong.
However, the more they tortured and killed us, the more determined we became to get our independence.
The decisive phase of the armed liberation struggle was launched in Mashonaland Central.
But it was not limited to Altena Farm only.
It soon spread to every corner of the country, leaving no area behind, Harare included.
The bombing of the fuel tanks in Salisbury, then the capital city, is a story that has been well-documented.
Many areas in several parts of the country became liberated zones, with settler-soldiers reluctant to venture into secured areas.
The choice of Mt Darwin as the main centre for the celebrations is in line with the spirit of inclusivity we inherited from the liberation struggle.
No longer is the main ceremony always held in Harare only, the host now is expected to change each year.
Last year, the main celebrations were held in Bulawayo.
By decentralising the event, the celebrations assume a more national outlook.
This lives true to the nature of the liberation armed struggle at its peak.
The country will be celebrating its 43rd Independence Anniversary under the theme: ‘Zimbabwe@43; Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo’.
This literally means, it is the owners of the country who are obliged to build their own country.
This is being achieved through devolution, which has witnessed the growth trajectory of different corners of the country, Mashonaland Central included.
And yet this is the same spirit that saw us achieve our independence in 1980.
We were our own liberators.
The harmony that developed between the guerillas, on one hand, and war collaborators on the other, saw us subdue our oppressors on our own.
That same spirit will see us succeed despite conserted effort by our detractors to see our downfall.
So, when we celebrate our independence next week, let’s remember we have come a long way, surviving many trials and tribulations.
Forces that want to see us fall are always on the prowl.
This is because Zimbabwe is one of those countries from Southern Africa which got its independence after an armed struggle.
And the West does not feel comfortable with the nationalistic orientation of the former liberation movements. This is because the West had always been drooling over the lucrative natural resources of the region which it wants to control.
Now, for this region to be ruled by former liberation movements and not their puppets is not acceptable to the capitalist world.
Thus, the West wants them out one by one.
That is the main reason for the unilateral illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
They believe that once the government of a former liberation movement in Zimbabwe falls, others like those in Mozambique, South Africa, Angola and Namibia will follow.
As we celebrate our hard-won independence, it is important to remember that we should always remain vigilant and never drop our guard.