It is often said that independence did not come on a silver platter.

This saying must not be mistaken applied to freedom fighters alone but also to the ordinary people who were monitored by the Rhodesian army to see that they never cooperate with their black brothers in their quest for the liberation of the country.

If there are people that felt the pain of the liberation struggle in any part of the country, it is the villagers who lived in hot spots.

They constantly had unwanted and uninvited visitors who often went away after inflicting pain on them.

For the community of Simangani in Hwange, the villagers were on numerous occasions forced to move from one point to another to ensure that they never got too close to the airfield, which had become a strategic point for the Rhodesian army.

Even today, that airfield is still a permanent feature which acts as a reminder to the communities along the Zambezi River about the struggles they had to go through during the last few years before the country gained its independence in April 1980.

As the local villager, Mr Tshayile Sithole explains, living in the bush with children had become a norm.

In fact, the villagers at Simangani spent a full six months detained at a place called Kapu where one needed a special pass to go out and later come back without being hit by the enemy.

“All these mountains you see here, people lived there just trying to run away but at the end of the day we were all caught and forced to move from our homes. First we used to stay that side as you go towards Hwange, then we were moved again until people settled this side,” he said.

The airfield is well known for land mines which were only removed between 2000 and 2002. Even though the airfield is now clear, it is believed that land mines can still be located along Deka River.

For Mr Sithole however, the most important thing is for the government to improve the livelihoods of the people as the country commemorates 38 years of independence.

“What we would like to see is an improvement in the current situation. Things are hard, we are struggling, there is no money now and we cannot do anything. So if only the government can do something, the better,” he said.

Apart from the land mines that are alleged to be still there along the Deka River, everything else is now history.

The events of the liberation struggle can never be erased from their memories but the villagers now look at the country 38 years after independence with a sense of pride that the black majority is no longer subjected to any kind of suffering because of their skin colour.