Tongogara, JZ Moyo’s remains coming

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Tongogara, JZ Moyo’s remains coming The late General Tongogara

The Herald

The Herald, August 11, 1980

THE highlight of Zimbabwe’s Heroes’ Days celebrations will be the return to Salisbury today of the bodies of two national heroes, says the Minister of Information and Tourism, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira.

The bodies, those of Gen Josiah Tongogara and Mr Jason Moyo, will arrive in separate aircraft at the airport at 11am and will be taken by gun carriages to Stodart Hall, Harare, to lie in state before being interred tomorrow at Heroes Acre near Warren Hills.

Dr Shamuyarira urged all Zimbabweans to participate enthusiastically in the historic celebration of the return of two national heroes.

In a statement yesterday, he said: “There will be cultural festivities and traditional dances at most provincial and district centres to enable all Zimbabweans to pay tribute to the heroes of our war of liberation.

“It should be stressed that we are remembering all the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe, who died fighting for Zimbabwe during the 14 years of the national struggle, from the Sinoia Battle of 1966 to the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979.

“They epitomise the spirit of resistance to alien rule and injustice which formed the cornerstone of the armed struggle.”

The Minister also announced that at this time next year, a tomb commemorating the Unknown Soldier will be unveiled at the Heroes Acre.

The Government meanwhile had consented to a request by the Chitepo family that the body of Herbert Chitepo be brought home later.

“All the graves at the Heroes Acre will be guarded permanently for 24 hours each day, beginning on Tuesday.

“As the old monuments and statues depicting the colonial era come down, the Government expects the new city councils to be elected in October to erect new statues and monuments for our heroes throughout the country,” said Dr Shamuyarira.

He said the Bulawayo City Council had agreed to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes in Main Street, Bulawayo, and that of Sir Charles Coghlan.

The Prime Minister, Mr Mugabe, had approved the establishment of a research unit to collect data, information, and oral accounts of major battles of the liberation war.

“Artistic, historical, and written material that will be collected, be preserved in a national war museum to be built at Heroes Acre.

“In time, the eternal freedom flame now at the top of the Kopje, will also be removed to a structure at Heroes Acre, that can be seen from all of the capital city,” Dr Shamuyarira added.

Mr Edson Zvobgo Zanu (PF) spokesman as well as Minister of Local Government and Housing, told a meeting of the party’s central committee at Stodart Hall yesterday that the Heroes Days were dedicated to all the nationalists who died and who were maimed in the struggle for liberation.

The Minister said General Tongogara had shown remarkable qualities as a military man. The struggle had been successful through his strategies and the discipline shown by the ZANLA forces had all been his work.

He said the body of Mr Herbert Chitepo, who died in a car explosion in Lusaka in 1975, would be brought back for reburial on Heroes Days next year.

He said the plane carrying the body of Gen Tongogara from Maputo will be accompanied to the border by planes of the Mozambican Air Force.

It was hoped that it would be possible for the public to see the body of Gen Tongogara today as it lay in state.

“There will be military ceremony of all the ZANLA, ZIPRA, and the former security forces this morning.  Then the bodies will arrive, and the people will observe the military as they receive the bodies. Then at 12 noon, the bodies will be ushered into Stodart Hall. After that, the people will file past the bodies while they lie in state.

“On Tuesday at 09:45 am, the people will be shown the way to Heroes Acre. There will be a ceremony before the bodies are taken to their burial site on Tuesday morning,” the Minister said.

LESSONS FOR TODAY

  • The commemoration of Heroes Day started soon after independence in 1980 and the first celebrations were historic as they coincided with the repatriation of the bodies of some of the eminent figures of the struggle.
  • Soon after independence, the Government took a deliberate approach to honour its heroes and heroines, including the removal of colonial relics and replacing them with monuments and statues that honour true sons of the soil.
  • The arrival of eminent people always attracts a lot of attention, and even though the two national heroes were only returning home in coffins they were accorded heroes’ welcome by all Zimbabweans.

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