Virtual celebrations for Heroes, Defence Forces holidays

BY ZBC Reporter

COMMEMORATIONS to mark Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day this Monday and Tuesday, respectively, will for the first time since 1980 be held virtually in line with line President Mnangagwa’s directive of restricting public gatherings due to rising cases of Covid-19.

Instead, President Mnangagwa will address the nation tomorrow and again on Tuesday, as the Government continues to take precautions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day are two highly regarded national holidays in Zimbabwe, which are held on the second Monday and Tuesday of every August, respectively.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa urged the nation to follow the President’s live national address that will be broadcast during the two days.

“As directed by Cabinet, we are not going to have any public events for the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays. The celebrations will instead be held virtually, with the main event being the addresses on both days by His Excellency, the President, to the nation,” she said.

“We urge all citizens of and indeed all Zimbabweans living outside the country to watch or listen to the President’s messages that will touch on several issues, including the significance of these days to our nation.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government had made a conscious decision to put aside public events in light of the rocketing Covid-19 cases, which are pegged at 4 575, with 102 coronavirus deaths.

“We decided that we need to take maximum precaution to contain the spread of the virus.

“The rate of local transmission is a cause for concern and as Government, we cannot take any chances,” she said.
“We are mindful that these holidays cannot be postponed that is why in addition to the President’s address there will be a lot of activities on the national broadcaster, ZBC, to honour our heroes and defence forces.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the holidays also allow the nation to reflect on the progress made by President Mnangagwa’s administration.

“I am very much aware of the negativity that has gripped our people because of the myriad of challenges that we are facing as a country.

“Some people have been quick to judge the Second Republic while ignorant of the many achievements that our President has made. Zimbabweans need to understand that the current challenges are temporary.

“The future looks so much brighter. Recently, the President toured power projects in Hwange where we saw that by 2030 the country will be able to provide over 5000MW of power,” she said.

“Only yesterday (Friday) we saw the progress that is being made on the Beitbridge road, and this is the first time that this has happened after years of failure. Agriculture production is also on the up and mining is heading in the right direction with the US$12 billion 2023 vision on track. So as you can see, these are the things that we need to reflect on as opposed to the negativity that some people tend to give priority to.”

In a statement the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage said this Monday, Zimbabwe will celebrate its 40th Anniversary of the Heroes Day commemorations under the theme “Remembering Our Heroes.”

On this day, Zimbabwe remembers the gallant sacrifices made by both living and fallen heroes and heroines in the liberation of the country.

On the same day, ZBC TV will be airing several documentaries which include, Chronicles of the Second Chimurenga, The Attack on Grand Reef Airbase (in Mutare) and The Meaning of the National Heroes Acre to The Liberation Struggle amonYearsers.

The Ministry also called on Zimbabweans to continue being peace-loving, calm and safe as they celebrate their heroes.

“We urge Zimbabweans to continue observing Covid-19 regulations through adhering to social distancing rules and ensuring good personal hygiene practices as we continue the fight against Covid-19.”

In a separate statement, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans said this year’s Defence Forces Day will be held under the theme “The ZDF: Celebrating 40 Years of Excellent Service to the People”.

“On this day, ZBC-TV will also be airing two documentaries titled ‘ZDF Today’ and the ‘ZDF’s role in the fight against Covid-19′.”

As per tradition, the ZDF has also been conducting its community assistance week by engaging in various voluntary programmes to help the people, albeit under strict Covid-19 prevention guidelines.