Key question every Zimbabwean community must ask itself


The first bullets of the formal phase of our Revolution were fired in Mashonaland West, near to where the City of Chinhoyi now sits. This was the Chinhoyi Battle fought by the seven gallant fighters who all perished in that encounter with the settler army. They did not fall in vain, for they inspired a whole generation of freedom fighters who then followed to eventually accomplish the National Mission. We remember the gallant seven always, even more keenly now as we commemorate the day of our freedom.

Barely a few months later, in 1967, another iconic battle would be fought in Wankie, now Hwange, in Matabeleland North, when a joint ZIPRA-Umkonto weSizwe Unit engaged the enemy. It would be followed by another battle in the then Sipolilo, now Guruve, in Mashonaland Central. The Altena Farm attack in the Centenary district of Mashonaland Central, in December 1972, fell within that tradition of determined armed resistance, and announced its decisive phase. Soon after, and in practically all the provinces and districts of the then Rhodesia, the war of resistance would spread, to be characterised by many pitched battles as sons and daughters of this Land stood resolute, sparing no life or limb in a determined effort to free our motherland.

Altena had ignited this determined push for our Independence. The commander of the unit which launched that attack is with us. His name is Lovemore Rugora, born in Rusape, Manicaland, in 1942. His war name is John Pedzisa. Through him and through thousands of his colleagues drawn from both ZANLA and ZIPRA who are still with us today, we thank and pay tribute to all veterans of our War of Liberation, both living and dead, for making this great day, which our Nation reveres and celebrates yearly. We shall never forget.

We never let go!

Our heroes’ bequest to us is the freedom and Independence, embodied in this God-given land we know as Zimbabwe. There is only one Zimbabwe on this planet, and it is for us Zimbabweans only, thanks to Almighty God who willed it so. We dare not let it slip through our fingers; we dare not let loose our grip on this priceless bequest, delivered to us through precious blood of a gallant generation.

The story and tapestry of our struggle for National Independence combines all tribes, all regions, all tongues, all creeds and all colours. It is a political construct from our collective endeavour and sacrifice. That fact alone makes Zimbabwe ours together, regardless of place of birth, tribe, region, language, creed, colour or culture. All these become riches and attributes which endow our land, adorn our freedom and go towards making our collective National Identity. They live side by side; blend in harmony and in perfect peace. This is the diversity we gather to celebrate in two days’ time. We all belong; we all must belong, feel sheltered and at home under one national flag, and singing one national anthem in so many tongues as our God and heritage gave us. Unity, peace and love must bind us, for all times and across generations.

The Zimbabwe our heroes freed from shackles of settler colonialism and handed down to us, today becomes the land we till, the land we grow, seek and strive to prosper. It becomes our daily chore and vocation; indeed, our collective assignment to which there should never be any sense of fatigue. We must grow it; we must modernise it so we prove to be its worthy children and inheritors.

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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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