Fungi Kwaramba Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa today headlines the country’s Heroes Day celebrations that will be observed across the country’s 10 provinces with the main event slated for the National Heroes Acre.
A star-studded musical gala will also be held albeit virtually as the country is still under the clutches of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, which has birthed a new normal.
Thus, about 200 people will be in attendance at the National Heroes Acre strictly observing Covid-19 protocols, which place restrictions on public gatherings.
The invited spouses and children of the country’s luminaries are either fully vaccinated or will have to undergo testing for coronavirus before entry into the main venue, where the President will deliver his keynote address.
The celebrations are also coming at a time when the country has lost several heroes and heroines some of whom have been interred at the National Heroes Acre.
In a statement, the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services urged the nation to reflect on Heroes Day and also get vaccinated.
“As Zimbabweans, we hold these commemorations in high regard, and we revere the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring about our freedom.
“We also salute those amongst us in uniform, who work tirelessly to defend our freedom and territorial integrity.
“As we reflect and mark these days, let us introspect on our own actions and judge whether we are conducting ourselves in ways that honour and uphold the legacy that we have inherited from these illustrious sons and daughters of the soil.
“And as we celebrate, let us do so responsibly. We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic that has claimed many of our own citizens. So please remember to mask up, sanitise, and maintain social distancing, and more importantly, let’s get vaccinated,” read the statement that was issued by the Ministry as it joined the nation in celebrating Heroes Day.
Tomorrow the nation will be celebrating the Defence Forces Day under the theme “The Zimbabwe Defence Forces: Creating a conducive environment for the attainment of Vision 2030”, a theme that aptly captures two critical elements namely, the country’s aspirations and the key role played by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in national development.
Ushering in a first, President Mnangagwa will also confer medals to 16 outstanding Zimbabweans as part of the Second Republic’s recognition of civil servants and civilians who are impacting lives across the country through their positive works.
It is also coming when President Mnangagwa fulfilled his pledge to honour and immortalise the country’s heroes through statues and monuments after the statue of the First Chimurenga luminary Mbuya Nehanda was erected in Harare on May 25.
The Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has taken deliberate steps to immortalise the country’s heroes and heroines with a statue of revered First Chimurenga heroine Mbuya Nehanda having already been erected in the capital.
In his address to the nation last year on Heroes Day, the President said the country must deliberately shape its narratives through honouring its heroes and heroines.
“We must as a people appropriate our liberation war heritage and shape the narratives by telling our own journey to freedom and independence. As such, my administration shall expedite the documentation of the story of our liberation struggle and the associated historical heritage.
“The programme of renaming roads, buildings and prominent public infrastructure with names reflective of the country’s history is ongoing and a key feature of our liberation war heritage,” he said.
Among heroes and heroines that the country will honour are General Mtshane Khumalo, who commanded the Imbizo Regiment under King Lobengula that defeated the Allan Wilson Patrol at the Battle of Pupu on December 10, 1893, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chaminuka, Mkwati, Queen Lozikeyi Khumalo, Chinengundu, Mashayamombe, Mgandani Dlodlo, Chiwashira, Muchecheterwa, Chingaira Makoni, and Mapondera, who are all heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga.
Meanwhile, recipients of the inaugural awards who will receive their accolades today include General Nikita Mangena Cde Jane Ngwenya, Cde Moffat Hadebe, Cde Abraham Nkiwane, Cde John Maluzo Ndlovu, Cde Gibson Mayisa.
The Great Zimbabwe Silver award goes to the late Cde Josiah Chinamano, while the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Gold goes to First Lady. Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Archbishop Professor Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti; and Hon Dr Kirsty Leigh Coventry.
Recipients of the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Silver are Prof Walter Kamba, Prof Phineas Mogorosi Makhurane, Prof Ngwabi Mulunge Bhebhe, Prof Christopher James Chetsanga, Prof Hope Sadza, Prof Primrose Kurasha, Dr Gibson Mandishona and Mrs. Joanna Girlie Moyo-Sibanda.
Some of the heroes will be honoured in provinces.