By Collete Musanyera
A photo and art exhibition in honour of the late national hero, General Josiah Magama Tongogara was officially opened at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare this Tuesday.
The exhibition which coincided with General Tongo’s birthday saw government officials, generals, friends, family and the general public converging at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe for the 40th anniversary after the death.
The late General’s widow Amai Kumbirai Tongogara said photographs, video recordings, rare memorabilia and letters written by the late national hero are on display, providing a glimpse into the war of liberation through his eyes.
“This exhibition is part of our shared history. It is essential to appreciate and know who we are and how we achieved what we have today, which helps us to pay homage to one of our own. It’s time to honour our own and write our own history. I call upon other families and war vets to come forward and share history. I call upon the youth to come for these exhibitions and relive this journey of what happened before you were born,” she said.
She also took time to reflect on the love letters she used to receive from her husband.
“These letters remind me of how loving and caring he was, he was indeed a family man and I always wish he was still alive,” she reminisced.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa gave a view from the war front where they worked with General Tongo, describing him as one of the country’s most illustrious heroes who ushered Zimbabwe into independence.
“I am really touched. General Tongo was instrumental in the attainment of our independence. We cannot talk about independence or war without mentioning the name Tongogara. As a young girl I learnt a lot from him during the liberation struggle,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.
Also present was Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa who lauded the exhibition adding that an example has been set for others to follow for the young generation to have an appreciation of the war of liberation.
“This is a first of its kind and it is noble and very significant. All families of our departed heroes should follow suit for the sake of our own history,” noted Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry also highlighted the importance of such exhibitions to young people.
“This is so significant for young people because the future is shaped by past, therefore this platform helps them to know their past and rewrite history from an informed point of view,” said Minister Coventry.
Youths who attended the exhibition applauded the initiative saying the past shapes the future.
General Tongogara died on the 26th of December 1979. The exhibition which is the brainchild of the Josiah Magama Tongogara Foundation in partnership with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, will run until April coinciding with the country’s independence celebrations on the 18th.
By Collete Musanyera