Thousands celebrate Heroes Day
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans from all walks of life thronged various venues across the country to commemorate Heroes Day.
The annual event is used to pay tribute to the fallen heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from colonial rule.
In Bulawayo, scores of people converged at the Provincial Heroes Acre in Nkulumane suburb.
Although people started trickling to the venue as early as 8AM, the proceedings officially began shortly after 11AM with a combined brass band comprising the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) leading the crowd in singing the national anthem.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Bulawayo, Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo read the President’s speech at 12.21PM.
Cde Moyo laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before she was joined by the Commander of ZNA 1 Infantry Brigade, Brigadier-General Augustine Chipwere, the Officer Commanding police in Bulawayo province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Mutamba and his counterpart from the ZPCS, Snr Asst Comm Mailos Njomani.
Family members of the heroes and heroines also had an opportunity to lay flowers on the graves of their departed beloved ones.
Some of the relatives of the fallen heroes and heroines who spoke to Chronicle commended the Government for honouring fallen liberators.
“We really appreciate the gesture by our Government to honour our relatives who died for this country. We know our detractors are not happy with the freedom that we are enjoying today which is why they decided to impose sanctions on us, but that will not deter us as we will continue to defend our country,” said Mr Charles Kamusoro whose mother was the first heroine to buried at the provincial shrine in 1995.
Ms Moline Sibanda, whose husband was buried at the Nkulumane shrine, also commended the Government. She called on authorities to refurbish the shrine, which is in a poor state. The event was punctuated with scintillating performances from the ZPCS band.
A choral music group comprising war veterans entertained the gathering with superbly choreographed dances capturing the mood of the occasion in praise of the country’s fallen heroes and heroines.
Among those who attended the event were the Members of Parliament for all constituencies in Bulawayo.
Senior government officials, war veterans and residents also attended the occasion.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Matabeleland North, Cde Cain Mathema, presided over the proceedings at the provincial shrine in Lupane.
He read the President’s speech at about 12 noon before visiting the graves of heroes and heroines laid at the Matabeleland North Provincial Heroes Acre.
Senior Zanu-PF officials who include the Minister for Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Cde Obert Mpofu, his wife Sikhanyisiwe, Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, MP for Tsholotsho South Cde Zenzo Sibanda and Zanu-PF chairperson Cde Richard Moyo and senior Government officials and service chiefs attended the event. Youths provided entertainment. All roads led to the Matabeleland South provincial shrine to commemorate Heroes Day in Gwanda.
By 8AM people had started gathering at the shrine where local poets and musicians entertained them.
At about 11AM the guest of honour, the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednico Ncube arrived and was received by service chiefs before he inspected a quarter guard mounted by 1.1 Combat Group from Bulawayo.
The event started with the singing of the national anthem, before Cde Ncube read the President’s speech.
After that there was laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the guest of honour, service chiefs, Zanu-PF officials and war veterans.
Cde Ncube led the entourage of VIPs to tour the graves of the departed heroes.
It was a day to remember as the crowd was thrilled by entertaining groups with a new group, MaTricks, being the favourite.
Zanu-PF Gwanda District Youth League said they were challenged by the Presidential speech and promised to continue with solidarity marches in terms of economic activities in line with Government policies.
“As youth we also recognise our heroes both fallen and living with hard work which they did during the gruelling liberation struggle. We are 100 percent behind our Zanu-PF First Secretary, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, Head of State and Government His Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” said the District Youth Secretary for Information, Cde Clement Zikhali. Cde Emmanuel Ncube, the youths’ district secretary for the commissariat also hailed the President.
In Plumtree, also in Matabeleland South, the Heroes Day commemorations were held at the Bulilima-Mangwe District Heroes Acre located in Bulilima District. Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Cde Obedingwa Mguni who is also MP for Mangwe read the President’s Speech.
Cde Mguni urged various stakeholders from the border town and the two rural districts to contribute towards sprucing up the districts’ shrine. He gave a brief background of the liberation struggle. A total of 19 fallen heroes from Plumtree, Bulilima and Mangwe have been laid to rest at the district shrine.
Also present at the commemorations were Bulilima East MP, Cde Mathias Siqhoza Ndlovu, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Mrs Evelyn Ndlovu, among others.
Heroes Day commemorations in the Midlands province started in earnest at the Heroes Acre in Gweru around 9AM.
The commemorations were held at the new-look heroes acre, which was refurbished to give respect to the 188 gallant sons and daughters interred at the shrine.
Scores of people, including former provincial governor Cde Cephas Msipa, officer commanding police in the province Senior Assistant Commissioner Abigail Moyo and senior government officials attended the important event. Provincial Administrator Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo read President Mugabe’s speech.
There was a fly past by three jets from the Airforce of Zimbabwe as Mrs Chitiyo read the President’s speech.
In Masvingo a capacity crowd thronged the provincial heroes shrine in Mucheke where 50 heroes and heroines were buried to celebrate the important day amid calls for the war veterans to unite.
Celebrations were held throughout the seven administrative districts comprising Chivi, Mwenezi, Chiredzi, Zaka, Bikita and Gutu while the main provincial event was in Masvingo.
The proceedings were ably supported with colourful displays by Mutimurefu Prisons inmates.
They began in the morning but reached a crescendo with the arrival of the service chiefs, Masvingo Minister of State for provincial affairs Shuvai Mahofa and Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education Josiah Hungwe.
Minister Hungwe inspected a quarter guard mounted by 4 Infantry Brigade on behalf of Minister Mahofa.
Minister Mahofa delivered the Presidential speech before a 21 gun salute by the army to show respect for the fallen heroes.
Minister Hungwe together with 4 infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Exsebios Tshuma, the officer commanding in Masvingo Senior assistant Commissioner Martha Mofolo, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Masvingo officer commanding Assistant Commissioner Social Ndanga and Masvingo Acting Mayor Councillor Tasicio Mandava laid wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
War veterans’ provincial chairman Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka led relatives of the 50 departed heroes and heroines in laying wreaths on the tombstones of their loved ones.
Cde Chinooneka hailed people of Masvingo for respecting the fallen heroes and called for war veterans to unite.
“We hail people of Masvingo for coming in their thousands to join hands with the rest of the country to celebrate this day. We call upon war veterans to unite so that we don’t fail the fallen heroes and heroines,” said Cde Chinooneka.
Former Zimbabwe Sugarcane Milling Workers Union (ZSMWU) secretary general who is also a war veteran Cde Admore Hwarare said Heroes Day is a special day for every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation and urged freedom fighters to pull in the same direction to build the country.
Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo reads the Presidential speech at the Provincial Heroes Acre in Nkulumane, Bulawayo, yesterday