via I witnessed the building of Heroes Acre | The Zimbabwean 13 August 2014 by Tawanda Dzvokora
We were all happy as we honoured and gave respect to our heroes as one! But, hey that was then! Not anymore! The Heroes Acre is no longer sacred. People are no longer happy – says TAWANDA DZVOKORA who was present in 1982 at the first Heroes celebrations in Heroes Acre.
Growing up in the high density suburb of Warren Park, I was one of the few who managed to witness the construction of the National “Heroes” Acre by the “prisoners” from China way back in 1981. I saw the unthinkable happening, our sisters having babies with these Chinese builders.
I also, much to my chagrin, discovered for the first time in my life that dog meat was edible! Dogs would disappear without trace. In the only bar in Warren Park our fathers and brothers would occasionally be beaten hands down by these kung fu trained foreigners. Fights were breaking out over women in the bar. But we were all happy that at last our heroes and heroines remains would receive a decent burial. I am talking of the true heroes, the likes of Tongogara, JZ, Chitepo just to mention but a few.
This was a minute but humble way of saying thanking you to our liberators. On August 11 1982 we all gathered. The sitting arena overflowed. Many were turned away, others were perched in trees and some just sat in the red soils of the sacred place.
No longer sacred
We were all happy as we honoured and gave respect to our heroes as one! But, hey that was then! Not anymore! The Heroes Acre is no longer sacred. People are no longer happy. We are no longer one! The few thousands who throng the “shrine” now are forced, school children among them. The majority of the so-called heroes do not deserve even an aorta of respect!
I am talking here of people like Maurice Nyagumbo the thief! The majority are thieves anyway, not heroes! How do you respect and honour a person like Chenjerai Hunzvi, the farm invader and murderer, Border Gezi the architect of the notorious green bombers, The diamond dealer and mafia styled Solomon Mujuru? The list goes on.
Crying for justice
I don’t need to be a sangoma to for-tell that if a person like Emmerson Mnangagwa dies today, he will be declared a national hero, so will Perence Shiri or Constantine Chiwengwa! Seriously? True Heroes like the father of Zimbabwe Joshua M. Nkomo and the lion of Chirumhanzi Leopold Takawira would turn in their graves to have these murderers buried beside them.
Mnangagwa and Shiri have the blood of 20,000 Ndebele speaking people on their hands. Even President Robert Mugabe himself is no longer fit to be buried at the Heroes Acre. A person who has caused hundreds to die, thousands to starve and millions to flee their motherland cannot be a hero.
The crying voice of Rashiwe Guzha can still be heard in the horizon. Our very own brother Chiminya who was burnt to death together with our sister Talent and all the Gukurahundi victims are crying for justice to prevail. How can such a person be seen as a Hero?
If the people of Zimbabwe were given a chance to choose their heroes, no-one in Zanu (PF) would qualify. The people are disgruntled. The economy is in free fall. The people are suffering. Civil servants are being lied to and cheated every month. The state of affairs in government schools and hospitals is deplorable.
Our roads are potholes themselves. Unemployment is rampant despite promises made during elections. It is a pathetic situation that now requires true heroes to step up. And that’s exactly what the unsung hero of the Zimbabwe struggle, Morgan Tsvangirai is doing. Contrary to wishes of his enemies Tsvangirai’s star is actually on the rise. Despite all the upheavals thrown at him, left right and centre, the true hero of Zimbabwe is stepping up the fight and the struggle to free the people of Zimbabwe from shackles of dictatorship, rampant corruption and abject poverty.
Symbol of bravery
The evidence is the success of all the rallies done to date including the so called flop in UK. Flop my foot. The objective of a rally or meeting is to talk to the people and that’s exactly what MT is doing and will continue to do until the struggle is completed.
Tsvangirai is one of the true heroes of Zimbabwe, a symbol of bravery against a ruthless ruling party. How many times has he been physically, verbally and emotionally assaulted and incarcerated? An epitome of selflessness, he has stood with the people.
Attempts were made to lure him to betray the struggle but he remained steadfast as the voice of the voiceless.
The same cannot be said of the likes of Biti, Mangoma and company. When a carrot was dangled in a typical Zanu (PF) modus operandi, the greedy and selfish swallowed hook, line and sinker. Can such individuals be called heroes?
Rewind to 2008-2009. To say the country and the economy were the “intensive care unit” would have been an understatement, it was dead, it was in the mortuary! The Zanu (PF) government had run the country to a halt by their corrupt and nefarious activities.
At the burning end of the stick was the povo. It was the people who were bearing the brunt. Untold suffering was the order of the day. I personally know people who died of hunger, thousands did. Who stepped up to save the country?
Morgan Tsvangirai again looked at the people first, consulted the people and listened to the people of Zimbabwe who wanted the suffering to stop.
He promised to end the spiralling inflation and the suffering that the people were being endured to. And he delivered! Within months the MDC T team in the “Unity” Government had championed the cause and delivered the nation from a catastrophe.
The economy improved significantly and smiles returned to the suffering millions. Who then is the hero?
As we commemorate “heroes” day amidst an impending economic quagmire that is slowly degenerating to 2008 levels, let’s not be blinded by analogies of past glories, matakadya kare haanyaradze mwana. (You can’t tell a crying child not to be hungry because he had his meal yesterday.)
We want freedom now. We want jobs yesterday, we want decent service delivery today. We want to be with our families now. We want good roads and access to quality education and health facilities now. The so-called heroes Mugabe and company have dismally failed. There is nothing heroic about them.
We all know the true heroes – they are the ones toiling day and night to bring change to Zimbabwe. The heroes are the youths marching to demand the promised jobs. The hero is the mother in the rural area who is struggling to make ends meet but still manages to send children to school and attend a star rally. The heroes are the thousands in the diaspora sending money home to keep hope alive and those who are raising money for the struggle.