The nation today (26 December) commemorates the life of ZANLA Commander, Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara, whose contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe is well documented.Born in 1938 near Selukwe, present day Shurugwi, Cde Tongogara grew up at a farm in the Midlands province which was owned by the parents of Ian Smith.
He trained at Nanking Academy in China where he studied military intelligence, political science, mass media, and guerilla war strategies and tactics.
General Tongo, as he was affectionately known, was the ZANLA forces commander based in Mozambique during the war of liberation.
General Tongo, also described as a military supremo, commanded a strong ZANLA guerrilla army throughout the war of liberation and was the most respected of all guerrillas by the Rhodesian Forces.
In 1974, General Tongo became ZANLAâ€™s chief of defence and he retained that position in 1977 in the Central Committee where he was Secretary of Defence.
His contributions to the independence of Zimbabwe will forever be cherished by many generations as he was a fearless freedom fighter and unifier.
The General worked closely with the late Retired Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai, Cde Alfred Nikita Mangena and Retired General Solomon Mujuru, to mention but a few cadres.
Cde Tongogara died just before independence on December 26, 1979, when the car he was travelling in with other ZANLA guerillas crashed with a heavy truck in Mozambique.
Cde Tongoâ€™s remains were reburied at the National Heroes Acre on the 11th of August, 1981.Â
Various streets, schools and places in the country have been named after him in honour of his immense contribution to an independent and peaceful Zimbabwe.
As the nation pays tribute to the late General, it is important to remember the supreme sacrifices made by the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe in liberating the country and ensuring that the nation enjoys its natural resources which were controlled by the minority Smith regime.