Zimbabweans from across the political divide, joined by Ministers, mayors and senior service officers, converged at venues across the country to commemorate Heroes Day and salute the fallen and living heroes and heroines for their sacrifices to liberate the country.
In Mashonaland West, the main commemorations were held at Chinhoyi Provincial Heroes Acre while other events were held in all the province’s districts.
Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mary Mliswa-Chikoka led the proceedings where she inspected the Quarter Guard before reading President Mnangagwa’s speech.
Deputy Mzinisters Kindness Paradza (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Polite Kambamura (Mines and Mining Development) and Jenifer Mhlanga (Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development), service chiefs, traditional leaders, legislators and leaders of political parties attended.
The bumper crowd was entertained by Chinhoyi’s sungura musician Jonathan Siastumu (Madzibaba Gina) and the Chimbetu family.
Vendors who recorded brisk business yesterday, lauded President Mnangagwa for lifting Covid-19 restrictions.
The late Dendera music maestro, Cde Simon ‘Chopper’ Chimbetu, is one of those interred at the provincial shrine. His son Collins and younger brother Allan Chimbetu said the honour bestowed on the late artiste was befitting.
Zanu PF provincial youth league secretary for administration Cde Rudo Munyonga, whose father Cde Maputire Munyonga is also buried there, encouraged youths to continue to jealously guard the land and freedom ushered in by the liberation heroes.
Chinhoyi (Chemagamba) Provincial Heroes Acre is where the famous Chinhoyi Seven engaged in the fierce battle against colonial regime.
The Seven Heroes Monumental site has also been constructed a stone’s throw away from the shrine.
In Kariba, commemorations were held at Nyamhunga Stadium before dignitaries including acting Kariba District Development Coordinator Ms Patience Mubango, Senator Cde James Gumpo and service chiefs.
Ms Mubango read the President’s speech.
People were entertained by Nyanhewe Primary School’s marimba band, dramas, poetry and music.
Acting mayor Maxwell Mubaiwa of CCC attended the event, showing its national nature.
Only the late Cde Weston Gumpo is interred at the District Heroes Acre.
In Hurungwe district, multitudes of people thronged the district shrine at Magunje Growth Point.
War veterans, mujibhas and chimbwidos and upcoming musicians and dancers, provided entertainment.
Magunje Constituency legislator Cde Cecil Kashiri read the President’s speech.
Zanu PF Central Committee member Cde Silas Chimbiro emphasised the need for youths to understand the country’s history so that they could participate in nation-building as patriotic and loyal citizens.
He said youths should fully embrace the “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” mantra.
Several officials attended the commemorations including Zanu PF DCC chairman for Hurungwe Cde Richard Ziki and his deputy Cde Victor Chaka, national Youth League Secretary for Education Cde Shepherd Marime, and representatives from Hurungwe Rural District Council, Karoi Town Council and Chirundu Local Board.
In Harare, commemorations were held at the Provincial Heroes Acre, with Permanent Secretary in the Ministers Office Comrade Tafadzwa Muguti reading the President’s speech.
In Manicaland, scores of people thronged the provincial Heroes Acre in Mutare for the commemorations.
Several senior Government officials attended the event.
Ministers and senior Government officials, service chiefs, war veterans, Zanu PF provincial leadership and members, City of Mutare councillors as well as families and friends of fallen heroes and heroines, attended the celebrations.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Nokuthula Matsikenyere read the President’s speech.
She also laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and interacted with families and friends of heroes interred at the Manicaland provincial heroes shrine.
Speaking on the side-lines of the commemorations, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association Manicaland provincial chairman Cde Gift Kagweda said Zimbabweans must cherish the freedom fighters’ selfless sacrifices and defend the legacy of the liberation war.
“This is an important day in the country’s history as we commemorate our heroes and heroines, both the living and fallen.
“We salute them for the supreme sacrifices they made during the war and cherish the gains brought by Independence and the freedom we all now enjoy today,” he said.
Cde Kagweda urged youths to be disciplined and shun drug and substance abuse, while emulating the liberation war heroes by contributing towards national development in pursuit of Vision 2030.
It was an emotional affair as some families and friends broke down after laying wreaths on the tombs of their loved ones.
Entertainment was provided by 3 Infantry Brigade Band, Dapurahunanzva Traditional Dance Group and Deze RaWasu Mbira Group.
Primary and secondary school pupils also recited poems extolling the freedom fighters for their dedication and sacrifice to liberate the country.
In Makoni, war veterans, among them former CIO Director General Cde Shadreck Chipanga, Chief Makoni and Cde Cogan Gwasira entertained hundreds who thronged the Makoni District Heroes Acre in Rusape with liberation war songs.
In Matabeleland North, the commemorations were held at the Provincial Heroes Acre in Lupane where there are 31 graves and a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Scores of people comprising Lupane residents, heads of Government departments from the province, civil servants, and others, braved the heat to converged at the shrine.
Entertainment was provided by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services band and Lupane born poet Umfana kaGogo, real name Jonathan Moyo.
Vendors also grabbed the opportunity and sold goods while health officials were on site to ensure people followed Covid-19 health protocols.
Four legislators attended: Cde Sonny Mguni of Bubi who is also provincial chairman for the ZNLWVA, Cde Musa Ncube of Tsholotsho South, Cde Mail Nkomo, a proportional representative for Matabeleland North and Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda, who is also CCC chairman.
Lupane Local Board chairperson Mrs Monica Ngwenya, widow of a liberation war hero, was among the dignitaries.
Official proceedings started with inspection of a quarter guard by Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo and singing of the national anthem at 11am.
Minister Moyo read the President’s speech at 11:50am before leading in the laying of wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier followed by services chiefs.
The Minister toured the graves where he had an interaction with widows, families and children of the heroes.
In Masvingo, hundreds of people from all walks of life yesterday converged at the Masvingo Provincial Heroes Acre to commemorate Heroes Day with calls mounting for the young generation to emulate the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price for the country’s freedom.
Proceedings started in the morning with war veterans accompanied by drum majorettes marching to the provincial shrine where the crowd was taken down memory lane through liberation war songs by the former freedom fighters.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Ezra Chadzamira led senior Government officials, who joined service chiefs led by Commander 4 Infantry Brigade Brigadier General Ephias Mahachi, to the celebrations at the provincial shrine.
Minister Chadzamira then read the President’s speech before leading service chiefs in the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Before that the crowd had been treated to entertainment by various musical groups including traditional dance troupes.
Minister Chadzamira thereafter joined families of the over 50 heroes and heroines at the shrine who paid homage to their dear departed by laying wreaths at their graves.
Speaking at the provincial shrine, Mr Joseph Zawaira, son to the late Masvingo first black mayor and veteran nationalist Cde Thomas Zawaira, urged the young generation to value Heroes Day.
“Today is a very important day on our nation annual calendar because we will be celebrating the sacrifice of our forebears who spearheaded the fight for independence,” he said.
Masvingo Provincial war veterans chair Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka said he would be celebrating Heroes Day by sending groceries to the Malipati community in Chikombedzi that gave him shelter and treated him after he was seriously injured during a gun battle between his guerrilla unit and Rhodesian soldiers in 1978.
Mrs Raviro Mushana of Mucheke suburb, who walked to the provincial shrine for the celebrations, noted that those who paid the ultimate price for Zimbabwe’s freedom deserved respect for the work they did saying this history should be imparted to the young generation.
Mrs Knowledge Muzondipei, whose husband Cde Dailot Matambanadzo was buried at the shrine seven years ago, appealed to Government to build a tombstone at her husband’s grave.
“It has been seven years now since his death and we hope they will honour him by erecting a tombstone. That’s all we want as a family,” said Mrs Muzondipei.
Present at the celebrations were Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution’s office Dr Jefta Sakupwanya, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chair Cde Rabson Mavhenyengwa, War Veterans provincial chair Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka and Masvingo mayor Councillor Collins Maboke, among others.
In Mashonaland East, thousands converged at the Provincial Heroes Acre in Marondera where Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East, Aplonia Munzverengwi, led the proceedings.
Zanu PF provincial chairman Cde Daniel Garwe was among other guests.
Dr Munzverengwi read the President’s speech and later led guests in laying wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In an interview with The Herald on the side-lines of the commemorations, ZNLWVA Cde Daniel Sigauke said: “This day is important for all of us, the freedom fighters and parents who are gathered here.
“These celebrations remind us the reason most of us had to take arms against the enemy. One of the reasons all of us sacrificed everything was to take back our land from the colonialists.”
In the Midlands, hundreds of people yesterday thronged the provincial Heroes Acre in Gweru to commemorate the fallen.
There are 243 heroes and heroines interred at the Provincial Heroes Acre.
Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Larry Mavima was the guest of honour, and he read the President’s speech before leading in laying wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Mr Tich Hwingwiri, son to Cde Alois Hwingwiri, a provincial hero interred at the shrine, said for the last 30 years since his father died, the family has never missed attending the Provincial Heroes’ Day commemorations.
Cde Apollonia Tongogara, widow to young brother of the late national hero, Cde Josiah Tongogara, who is also interred at the provincial heroes’ acre, thanked the Second Republic for its recognition of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Cde James Chikerema as national heroes.
President Mnangagwa yesterday said Zanu founding leader Rev Ndabaningi Sithole and nationalist Cde James Chikerema, were now recognised as national heroes.
Rev Sithole died in 2000 while Cde Chikerema died in 2006.
In Mashonaland Central, it was an emotional time, when relatives of provincial heroes and heroines toured the graves of their loved ones to lay flowers and clean up the site.
Mr Cain Mabheka, who lost his wife Cde Beauty Mabheka last year, said life without her is difficult.
“We cherish the work she did for the nation and our family. We had a beautiful life together. The whole family was here last week putting a tombstone on her grave,” he said.
The Chikaka family visited the grave of their relative Cde Takundwa Chikaka.
His elder brother Canisius Dengu said the late was dear to their heart.
Mr Flaming Muranganwa, who was with his sister, said he misses his father Cde Elliot Muranganwa dearly.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga led Heroes Day commemorations.
In Matabeleland South, families of the departed heroes whose remains are interred at the provincial shrine, started arriving from 8am.
Many took the opportunity to clean the tombstones and lay flowers before proceedings started.
At around 11am, Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Abednico Ncube inspected a quarter guard mounted by 1.1 Combat Group from Bulawayo before reading President Mnangagwa’s speech.
Minister Ncube led service chiefs and other officials in laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He led the entourage in visiting the graves of departed heroes while exchanging pleasantries with their families.
Minister Ncube took the opportunity to visit his late wife’s grave where he laid flowers.
“Whenever we get the chance to visit their graves and lay flowers, it encourages and strengthens us. We have not forgotten them as we still have their memories,” said Ms Margarine Khumalo, whose aunt’s remains are interred at the provincial shrine.
Among those in attendance were Gwanda mayor Councillor Njabulo Siziba, service chiefs, traditional leaders, heads of various Government departments and leaders from across the political divide.
In Beitbridge, scores if residents gathered at the district shrine in the Makhakavhule area to commemorate the Heroes Day.
District Development Coordinator, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu led the proceedings and read the President’s speech.
Entertainment was provided by TshiVenda traditional dance groups from the Mtetengwe and Dumba areas.
Among those present were Cde Albert Nguluvhe, the legislator for Beitbridge East, Senator for Beitbridge Cde Tambudzani Mohadi and other senior civil servants.
In Bulawayo, the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube led proceedings at Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre.
She read President Mnangagwa’s speech.
Families of departed heroes and residents of Bulawayo gathered at the shrine to pay tribute to the gallant sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Earlier in the morning, Minister Ncube visited the graves of national heroes who are buried at Lady Stanley and Pelandaba cemeteries. She led the laying of wreaths.
Interred at Lady Stanley are Cdes Lookout Masuku, Welshman Mabhena, Ethan Dube, Wilford Lizathi Sibanda, Masala Sibanda, Isaac Nyathi and Swazini Ndlovu.
At Pelandaba Cemetery they visited the graves of Cde Lazarus Mavava Nkala, Cde Gini Ntuta and Cde Artwell Nelson Bokwe.
Minister Ncube then moved to Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre where the main commemorations were held.
She was met by service chiefs who included Brigadier General Josphat Kudumba Commander 1 Infantry Brigade, Commissioner Lampard Janah ZPCS Bulawayo Metropolitan Officer Commanding and Assistant Commissioner Martin Matambo ZRP acting Officer Commanding Bulawayo province.
In attendance were Zanu PF Bulawayo Chairman Cde Jabulani Sibanda, Politburo member Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Raj Modi and former Bulawayo Minister of State Cde Angeline Masuku, Bulawayo mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni and senior Government officials.
Minister Ncube started by inspecting the guard of honour, then visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where the army band led the singing of the national anthem.
Minister Ncube returned to the podium and read the President’s speech.
Thereafter, she inspected the graves of the fallen heroes and interacted with their families. Entertainment was provided by Thandanani Women’s Ensemble and various groups from around the city.
There was a truck serving opaque beer.