The Sunday Mail
While it is a bitter pill to swallow, a great generation divide has given birth to compeers whose knowledge about the liberation struggle is next to none.
To this young generation, stories about the liberation struggle, about how thousands were massacred at the war front and in camps, how people gave up their lives to fight for this country’s liberation, and how others eventually lost life and limb during the war, seem just like a horror movie.
Yet blood, sweat and tears were shed for the birth of the Zimbabwe we know today.
We might take it for granted, but once upon a time, Harare’s First Street was out of bounds for blacks. Back then, there were schools, restaurants, etcetera, for whites only. Segregation was real and degrading to the black folk.
So as we commemorate Heroes’ Day tomorrow, it is imperative to remember that our heroes and heroines — both dead and alive — acted against egocentricity in their pursuit to change the status quo.
Liberating Zimbabwe was more important than their individual existence. It motivated them to cast aside all self-interest to make the ultimate sacrifice. Their set of values kept them going in their quest to free the nation from the throes of colonialism.
Zimbabwe’s independence was to come after decades of colonialism and innumerable sacrifices.
Sacrifices were made then and sacrifices have to be made now. Our generation also has a chimurenga to fight — that of economic growth.
When compared to the blood shed during the liberation struggle, the austerity measures that we are currently going through as we move towards economic prosperity are actually duck soup.
While it is not comfortable, belts have to be tightened for economic prosperity to be achieved.
There is an urgent need for us to probe our mental images of heroes and heroism. True heroism means believing in your own situation no matter what your detractors say. Zimbabwe might be going through economic challenges at presently, but it is definitely not out.
The age of making ultimate sacrifices did not end with the attainment of independence in 1980. Rather, more heroes are in the making as the nation’s economy buds into upper middle income status.
But as we wade into this economic battle, we have to know that economic prosperity will not come easy. A quick look at countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bangladesh will reveal that austerity measures were implemented to kick-start their rapidly growing economies.
The Chinese economy’s meteoric rise over the last few decades has also been one of the biggest stories in economics. China has grown to become an economic superpower due to its gigantic population and production efficiency.
Zimbabwe is going in the same direction after initiating economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and reintegrating into the global economy.
Sadly, while patriotic Zimbabweans are focusing on building Zimbabwe, a portion of the nation is wrapped up in fanaticism that is fuelled by ignorance, mob mentality and reckless abandon.
In the darkness of opposition political activism, we have seen serial demonstrators who seem to have dedicated their lives to sabotaging the country economically, instead of expending energy on building it.
This time around, the opposition saboteurs have even picked the month of August — a sacred month for Zimbabwe as we celebrate our heroes — for their dark shenanigans.
Fellow brothers and sisters, building the Zimbabwe we all want does not only rest upon the Government’s shoulders.
Each and every one of us are the building blocks, our unity will be the cement.