Gen Tongo’s legacy lives on Late National Hero Josiah Magama Tongogara widow Angelina pay homage and lay flowers during his commemoration at National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday. Picture : Justin Mutenda

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

Former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) commander and national hero General Josiah Magama Tongogara’s legacy continues to live on as relatives, friends, colleagues and senior Government officials yesterday converged at the National Heroes Acre to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of his death.

Several people delivered moving eulogies about the national hero before laying wreaths at his grave.

Gen Tongogara was born on February 4, 1938 in Shurugwi and died on Boxing Day in 1979 in a car accident in Mozambique, soon after the Lancaster House Agreement that gave birth to independent Zimbabwe.

All the speakers who included family members, colleagues and Government officials emphasised the need for keeping Gen Tongo’s alive. His vision for waging a war against the settler regime was to have a just and non-racial society.

Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Vice Marshal Biltim Chingono said the legacy left by Gen Tongogara should never be allowed to fade given his immense role in the fight for the liberation of the country.

Late National Hero Josiah Magama Tongogara widow Angelina chats with Zimpapers Board Chairman Tommy Sithole while Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Vice Marshal Biltim Chingono looks on during his commemoration at National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday. Picture : Justin Mutenda

“He was one of our commanders during the liberation struggle. I remember very well he would come to address us as soldiers during the liberation struggle. He was very popular among cadres and we need to emulate his legacy. He was a commander par-excellence,” said Air Vice Marshal Chingono.

Gen Tongogara’s eldest son, Hondo echoed the same sentiments of the need to preserve his legacy.

“He did not just fight for us as a family, but for every Zimbabwean. There is therefore need to preserve that legacy and it is the legacy that is going to drive Zimbabwe,” he said.

His younger brother, Tichafa, said as part of preserving his father’s contribution they formed the Josiah Magama Tongorara Legacy Foundation aimed at upholding is legacy.

He said under the foundation, they had managed to pay school fees for more than 40 pupils, some of whom they later assisted in getting employment, particularly in Government’s security arms such as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

“We are actively calling for people to participate in the foundation. The foundation is collaborating with Institute of African Liberation Museum in Harare where we have also delivered some artefacts,” said Tichafa.

In an interview, the widow of General Tongogara, Angelina, described her husband as a rare breed who would easily adapt to situations.

“When he was at home, you would not think that he was a soldier or a commander for that matter. He would easily adapt to the family situation to become a father and husband,” said Senator Tongogara.

Ms Nyaradzo Tongogara, daughter to the late national hero, paid tribute to members of the foundation whom he said demonstrated dedication given that they did not receive any remuneration despite the immense work they                    deliver.

In addition to being the Commander of the ZANLA forces, Gen Tongo was also a member of the Dare ReChimurenga and the High Command, which directed the liberation struggle against the settler regime.

Soon after taking office in 2017, the Second Republic honoured him by renaming King George VI Barracks in Harare to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks.

Yesterday’s event was attended by Chegutu East MP, Cde Webster Shamu, Zimpapers board chairperson Mr Tommy Sithole, service chiefs among others.

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