4 reasons why Zimbabwe is holding its 43rd independence celebration in Mt Darwin


Altena Farm deserves to be declared a national site and monument so we develop it as a fitting reminder of where the decisive phase of our struggle began.

Current and future generations must know, through Altena and more such landmarks which this province carries, the heroic sacrifices of a brave generation which brought us Independence.

Not many of our younger people know that Mashonaland Central’s Mavuradonha became the main armoury of the Second Chimurenga, with its caves and caverns providing discreet areas where arms of struggle were cached. Gathering in the province to commemorate our National Day rekindles such memories; such memories must never be allowed to fade.

The province’s proximity to Mozambique made it key to ZANLA operations in the north-east, arguably the hottest zone during our struggle. ZANLA had struck an agreement with Frelimo, where our early fighters would be embedded within units of Frelimo fighting in border areas like Tete. This relationship continued until Mozambique’s Independence, after which our fighters enjoyed free passage to the north-east. This increased the tempo of struggle, thus, bringing nearer our day of national freedom.

We also had several communities in this province and in others like Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Masvingo, which got displaced as the War of Liberation hotted up; many such communities had to resettle in neighbouring countries, most notably in Zambia and Mozambique, until Independence came. Communities trapped inside the country found themselves herded into ‘keeps’, in reality concentration camps. This was an inhumane concept which desperate Rhodesians imported from wars fought by Europeans elsewhere, most notably in the Far East. The idea behind that dastard concept was to isolate fighters by denying them contact with communities that gave them support and succour.

Alongside other provinces, Mashonaland Central suffered a lot.

Still, this did not help the Rhodesians; forever undaunted and determined, courageous fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters from Mashonaland Central and other provinces continued to smuggle food to our freedom fighters in order to sustain the struggle.

To this day, provinces like Mashonaland Central bear visible site marks of these concentration camps into which thousands and thousands of families were herded and kept in armed captivity. Until April 18, 1980, they lived brutally circumscribed lives.

Our decision to commemorate our National Independence Day in rural Mashonaland Central, thus, throws all this heroic, people history into sharp relief. As we recall several bitter and tragic moments recorded in this province, we also celebrate and pay tribute to the indomitable fighting spirit displayed by our people as they supported their freedom fighters and the struggle for national Independence. This is the primary reason for devolving this important National Day to Mt Darwin, itself a microcosm of the whole province, and of our whole nation in struggle.

Our decision to hold commemorations in Mt Darwin affords us an opportunity to thank the broad masses for their contribution to the Liberation Struggle.

Through their sacrifices, they made our Independence; indeed, today and forever rightfully claim it as theirs, through painful midwifery.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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