Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
President Mugabe has castigated Britain for displaying skulls of some of Zimbabwe’s heroes and heroines from the First Chimurenga in their museums as symbols of colonial conquest.
He said the British government had since invited Zimbabwe to repatriate the remains, adding that Government would collect them begrudgingly and bury them at the country’s sacred shrines.
The President reiterated that sacred shrines such as the National Heroes Acre were a preserve of heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the country and were consistently loyal to the liberation cause.
He made the remarks while addressing thousands of Zimbabweans who thronged the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday for Heroes Day celebrations.
“Tanzwa kuti misoro yevanhu vedu, vakuru vedu, yanga yakaunganidzwa mumuseum kuBritain. Varikuti tizoitora. Tichaitora tichigunun’una kuti makaidimurireyi? WaMbuya Nehanda hameno kuti tichauwana here pakati pacho? (We are told that skulls of our people, our leaders, are being displayed in a British museum and they are inviting us to repatriate them. We will repatriate them, but with bitterness, questioning the rationale behind decapitating them),” he said.
“The remains of our heroes, sacred to us, which were taken out of the country during the colonial period, have now been identified in the British History Museum.
“The remains, skulls, we strongly believe are the skulls of beheaded heads of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chingaira Makoni, Chinengundu Mashayamombe, Mapondera, Mashonganyika and Chitekedza Chiwashira, among others.
“The First Chimurenga leaders, whose heads were decapitated by the colonial occupying force, were then dispatched to England, to signify British victory over, and subjugation of, the local population. Surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a National History Museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity.”
President Mugabe said once the necessary processes to repatriate the remains were complete, Government would consult with traditional leaders about how to bury them at the sacred shrines in Zimbabwe.
He said he took great exception to some Zimbabweans who denigrated heroes and heroines and the sacred shrines where the gallant fighters were laid to rest.
“The misguided elements, whom we share Zimbabwe with, have the absurdity and fertile imagination to suggest who, in their unsolicited and weird and wayward opinions, should be declared a hero,” said President Mugabe.
“Here and now, such people better be advised to stop entertaining themselves with mirages, that only exist in the minds of the misguided. Let me make it abundantly clear that these sacred shrines are solely for our heroes who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of this country.
“Heroes were, and are, consistently loyal to the liberation cause, have their patriotism, selflessness, courage, determination never questionable, or in any doubt, at any point in time. Heroes do not become heroes after they are dead.”
President Mugabe added: “Hu hero hahumuki munhu afa. Kana urigamba chairo unozviratidza urimupenyu nebasa rako. Vanhu vanozokukudza chete paunezenge wafa. Kwete kuti wanga uchiita chi MDC nekoko uko kana chimwe chibokawo. Kwazvo, kwazvo chiboka chinotumirwa mari nevemhiri kuti vakanganise ndima dzatiri kurima dzevhu rakatorwa nevanhu ridzokere kuvarungu zvekare.
“Varipo varikudaro. Murikuzvinzwa muhurukuro dziri kuitwa ku MDC. Wozoti apa wafa zvonzi aah muiteyi hero! Wei? Nokuti akangoitawo politics chete? Handizvo ba. Ava inyanzvi ka idzi dzatirikukudza nhasi uno.
“They proved to be heroes as they fought, lived for, and died for the liberation of Zimbabwe. They never abandoned battle! They never were rebels. They never were the weak-hearted. They never were selfish, or sell outs, but instead they were abundantly generous with their sacrifice for their country.”