WE celebrate our Heroes’ Day on Monday, August 9, this time without the usual pomp and fanfare because of the restrictions brought about by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
But this should not mean the significance of this great day is lost in any way.
It is the spirit behind the recognition of this occasion which remains paramount irrespective of circumstances surrounding the day of the celebrations.
After all, it is bravery and unity of our gallant sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for us to get our Independence that will always remain constant silent reminders of where we came from.
That is why this day should not be seen as a one off occasion.
The significance of this day lies in the way our liberation struggle has shaped
the Zimbabwean polity.
It is appropriate that on Tuesday, August 10, we commemorate our Defence Forces’ Day.
These are forces that play the crucial role of guaranteeing the peace and security of this polity born out of blood.
And it is vital to remember that people had to sacrifice their lives in order to have a Zimbabwe that we are supposed to be having today.
We have our Heroes’ Acre, a shrine where a good number of our heroes have been buried.
But as we look at this shrine, we should also be reminded that there are equally important heroes whose bodies are buried elsewhere.
There are shallow graves scattered not only throughout the country, but even across our borders — some whose remains cannot even be traced.
Some, like Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chiefs Mashayamombe Chinengundu and Makoni Chingaira of the First Chimurenga, had their heads chopped off and taken as trophies for the British monarch.
Their burial sites were never revealed for fear that they might be turned into shrines to remind indigenes of the brutality of colonisers.
Others, like mujibhas and chimbwidos, sacrificed their lives without necessarily having even touched a gun to liberate the country.
Not forgetting innocent civilians, who were murdered by the bloodthirsty regime, reluctant to grant indigenes their independence.
Some were fortunate enough to witness the victorious independence celebrations of April 18 1980.
Some are still there, available to give live accounts of the heroic struggle.
But we must also remember that there were forces equally prepared to sacrifice their lives to stifle the struggle.
It will be the height of naivety to believe that these countervailing forces disappeared with independence.
Economic sanctions, smear campaigns and the breeding of regime change agents from some among us are there for all to see.
Add to this natural disasters, like cyclones and pandemics, and the picture becomes ominous.
This should never be allowed to break our will power.
If the ethos of bravery and unity inculcated in us during the liberation struggle prevails, victory shall always remain certain.
Commemoration of the Heroes’ Day should always give us a chance to retrospect.
As we dedicate Monday to our heroes, we should be reminded of how we may fall if we are divided..
In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles as a united people, with our departed heroes in mind, we are bound to succeed.
This, our colonial foes can testify to.
The least we can do to our leading heroes is to construct monuments and name buildings and roads in their memory.
That’s why we gave a thumbs up to the erection of Mbuya Nehanda statue in the centre of the country’s capital city, Harare.
We also welcome the recent replacing of colonial street names with those of our heroes in Masvingo.
Let the bravery of the heroes we are commemorating on Monday remind us of the maxim: United we stand, divided we fall…