The Herald, 11 August 1983
TODAY and tomorrow Zimbabweans throughout the country will pay tribute to their fallen heroes — the men and women who spearheaded the liberation struggle that culminated in Zimbabwe’s Independence three years ago.
Thousands of people including the relatives of the war dead will converge on Heroes Acre and other shrines all over the country.
Several memorial services will also be held in respect of the cadres and their leaders who gave their lives for Zimbabwe’s Independence.
The highlight of last year’s celebrations was the release of a list of Zanla heroes who died during the war for Independence.
The list of Zipra dead was expected to have been printed this year, but so far there is no indication that this will happen.
This year’s highlights of the celebrations is again the additional list of Zanla combatants who died for the liberation of their country.
The list, in book form has been printed by Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company and published by the Prime Minister’s office.
Since August 11 and 12 were proclaimed Heroes Holidays, a number of leading Heroes have been buried at Heroes Acre.
The first nationalist leaders to be buried at Heroes Acre were Zanu (PF) secretary for defence and Zanla commander General Josiah Tongogara and, first vice president of Zapu Cde Jason Ziyapapa Moyo.
General Tongogara died in a car accident in Mozambique while Cde Moyo was killed by a parcel bomb in Zambia.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
This year’s 40th National Heroes Day is commemorated under the theme: “Remembering Our Heroes and Heroines” who sacrificed so much to bring about Independence.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on this critical day. Unlike past Heroes Days that saw thousands of people assembling at the National Heroes Acre and provincial heroes shrines, the Covid-19 pandemic does not allow public gatherings. However, this should not stop people from paying homage to the departed and living heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle.
This year’s Heroes and Defence Forces Days is a moment of reflection for everyone — the leadership and people. It’s a time to close ranks as a nation, be united and work with a common vision that bring the much needed hope and development.
Unity of purpose is also required from everyone to defeat the invisible enemy — the deadly new coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed more than 100 lives.
To date, 137 heroes and heroines have been buried at the Heroes Acre and thousands others in all 10 provinces, and neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Zambia. Many more lie in unmarked graves.
The Heroes Acre is a national symbol of pride through its architectural design of two AK47 assault rifles with their backs to each other, while the graves symbolise the magazine. There is also the tomb of the unknown soldier and the eternal flame that symbolises the eternal spirit of Independence.