|Real faces of the struggle|
|Saturday, 11 August 2012 20:16|
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They are a rare breed and it’s not an understatement that, 32 years after independence, these heroes are fast becoming an endangered species. Very rare to come across and despite the country’s trial and tribulations in recent years, they remain loyal to the liberation struggle and its goals.
They were the pioneers of the Second Chimurenga. They recruited some of the country’s finest soldiers; they trained comrades who became veterans in defeating the colonial regime.
In true guerrilla style, they set the Rhodesian administration on fire and spread the struggle in both the rural and urban areas like a veld fire. Against a formidable enemy who was armed to the teeth with strong airpower and heavy machine guns, they waged a war that left Ian Smith wondering what had hit him.
At that time, the populace — povho in their language, was so afraid of the whiteman. The whiteman was untouchable, Smith was like a demi-god and his administration was too powerful to be challenged.
How could these ill-equipped “terrorists” defeat the mighty Smith? It just didn’t make sense to the povo. What with Smith vowing that Zimbabwe will not be free “not in a million years.”
But they came and politicised the povho. At first, the ordinary povho could not understand their mission and so, in a bid to recruit more comrades, they had to abduct some pupils and students from school but later as people got the full understanding of the war, they volunteered to join the struggle.
They sang and danced during pungwes with reckless abandon and finally the povho got comfortable siding with these comrades that others preferred to call “magandanga.” Of course, other blacks refused to believe these comrades and in the middle of the night, they sneaked out to sell-out the comrades to the Rhodesians.
Their family members were arrested, tortured and killed. Their belongings were set alight and they lost all their wealth. They missed the opportunity to go to school and, not surprisingly, today some who are misinformed call them “uneducated.” They take it all just like they endured and just like they absorbed the pain and sorrow of liberating Zimbabwe.
When one takes time to listen to their heart- rending story, one is hit strongly by their humbleness, their down-to-earth approach to life, their modest requests for little comfort and their refusal to glorify themselves.
Of course, they are not the only ones in this category of rare heroes, but Cde Herbert Shungu, Cde Vhuu, Cde Tandie, Cde Steria, Cde Muchazvipedza Mabhunu and Cde Chinodakufa who are living a very humble life in Muzarabani, Centenary and Matepatepa are those unsung heroes whose stories just have to be known by future generations.