From the wilderness, Father Zimbabwe, Umdala Wethu, Big Josh, Chibwechitedza, uMafukufuku as he was affectionately called by his legion of supporters, preached about the need for Africans to reclaim their resources and fight poverty.
Dr Nkomo, who died on July 1, 1999 lies buried at the National Heroes Acre and is among the first nationalist to challenge the white minority rule as a unionist in the 1950s.
During this period, it was unheard of that Africans could challenge the oppressive colonial regime, which controlled most of the economic sectors, with blacks only used as cheap labour.
His emancipation message was heeded by nationalists who include the late Benjamin Burombo, Jane Ngwenya and Josiah Chinamano to mention but a few. This inspired the then youths to also join the liberation struggle and eventually liberating the country.
Zanu PF Politburo member and deputy secretary for Women’s League, Cde Angeline Masuku, said this in an interview as she reflected on the contribution of Father Zimbabwe to the liberation of Zimbabwe.
“As he continued to preach the emancipation narrative, I would like to thank those who heeded his message, I’m referring to elders like Burombo (Benjamin), Jane Ngwenya, Josiah Chinamano and other who listened to him and joined forces with him until we also joined the struggle,” said Cde Masuku.
“That is how we got to understand how resourceful this country is. We also understood that as blacks in the country, we were entitled to these resources which were controlled by white colonialists. Today, young people own mine claims, we own land because we have dealt with mental poverty. We have farms and that is the legacy that was left by Father Zimbabwe.”
She said Dr Nkomo frowned on stigmatisation, segregation and racial imbalances, something which the colonialists rode on to divide the country hence the naming of the country’s provinces.
“He observed that what dehumanises a person is poverty and this is not material poverty but ideological poverty. He wanted us to understand that we are equal to whites. In the past, there was a belief that all economic enablers in agriculture, minerals, animals, belonged to the whites. The blacks were only expected to eat the crumbs from the master’s table but Umdala changed all that,” she said.
Cde Masuku said Dr Nkomo was a uniting figure as he always emphasised that while Zimbabweans might speak different languages, they were one.
She said this is the message that should be emulated even in today’s political discourses that while citizens are free to be part of any political organisation they need to be Zimbabweans first.
Cde Masuku said while the early nationalist politically liberated the country, the youths of today should actively be involved in economic emancipation of the country.
“The legacy that was left by Father Zimbabwe is knowing self-identity. You must be a master of your own destination and those who come to you should only come to assist you as opposed to doing it for you. Young people don’t look down upon yourself and do not despise those who liberated the country,” said Cde Masuku.
“Because if you despise them, they will die with their knowledge which leads to material riches. As opposed to asking Government what it is doing, you have to ask yourself what you are contributing to the country.”
She commended the Second Republic for implementing policies that are in sync with Father Zimbabwe’s vision.
Cde Masuku said the construction of Lake Gwayi Shangani which feeds into National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project fulfils Dr Nkomo’s vision.
“I can mention so many projects that are being implemented. I have been part of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project committee and for years we have struggled to get resources to build that dam,” she said. “But the Second Republic has made serious strides in terms of completing a project which was mooted as early as 1912.
“That project also became part of Father Zimbabwe’s vision that Matabeleland region and Midlands could benefit from water from that dam.”
Cde Masuku said President Mnangagwa through the philosophy “Nyika inovakwa neve vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo” speaks to Dr Nkomo’s vision of having citizens actively involved in building the nation.