Villagers relive 1980 uhuru celebrations

By Innocent Nxumalo

MEMORIES of the 1980 independence celebrations are still fresh in the minds of the elderly and rural communities in Beitbridge.

The sight of lowly flying helicopters publicly announcing that Zimbabwe was finally free from minority settler rule is still treasured among Malala and Mtetengwe villagers who saw it all in April 1980.

For those who had sons and daughters participating in the liberation struggle, the chance to reunite with their loved ones was the icing on the cake.

“We tuned in to radios, saw helicopters telling us that we were finally free, the whole community was gripped with joy,” one villager said.

A village was also happy and said, “We were happy, we sang, ululated and danced. For us it meant that we were opening a new chapter in our lifetime.’

For liberation fighters, nothing was sweeter than removing the shackles of colonial bondage and they sang triumphantly on their way to assembly points as a new era beckoned.  

“I was part of the struggle under ZIPRA forces. I was one of those who survived the Sipolilo bombings. The end of the war in favour of us was what we prayed for. We felt that we were victors and we still celebrate that,” said a survivor.

Beitbridge-West legislator Hon. Ruth Maboyi recalls how rural communities were a non-combatant force providing information, food and protection to selfless guerrillas.

“It was a hard -earned victory. It is important that this young generation jealously guard this legacy because it was not brought on a silver platter,” saidHon. Maboyi.

Noting the immense liberation war contributions from rural communities that had izigijimi or mujibhas and chimbwidos, government has seen it fit to undertake the vetting of non-combatant cadres to ensure they benefit from welfare programmes.

The main independence celebrations will be held at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo under the theme: ‘Zim at 42, leaving no one and no place behind’.