heroes celebs.jpgThousands of Zimbabweans from a cross section of age groups and social standings converged at the national shrine to pay tribute to the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe, who made supreme sacrifices for the liberation of the country.

It was another anniversary to remember and thank the men and women of Zimbabwe, who confronted the white settler regime to bring freedom and independence to the country.

Enthusiastic Zimbabweans from all walks of life could be seen trooping up to the National Heroes Acre from all directions from as early as 6 o’clock in the morning.

The sitting area of the national shrine was full to capacity before lunch time but the crowds kept tracking in, all driven by the love of the fallen heroes and by the desire to thank them for the role the fallen fighters played to bring independence.

While the older generation are grateful for the various fruits of independence that they are now harvesting in the political and economic spheres, the young ones are happy about the free education and various child welfare programmes that government has been churning out over the years and most of all for the peace and tranquillity enjoyed by the nation.

Among the thousands, who thronged the national shrine for the commemorations were government ministers, parliamentarians as well as Zimbabwean service chiefs.
From the SADC region, Mozambique’s Army Commander, Graca Thomaz Chongo; Mozambican Airforce Commander, Raul Dique’ and South Africa’s chief, S.K Chioke were among the guests who joined Zimbabweans for the commemorations.

Several performing groups took turns to entertain the crowd before the arrival of the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe.

When the President finally arrived in the company of the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe and their two children, Chatunga and Robert Junior, an ecstatic atmosphere engulfed the national shrine as people waved the Zimbabwean flag.

Even the winner of this year’s Big Brother Amplified show, Wendall Parson and members of his family could also be seen waving the country’s flag.

The National Anthem, a flypast by the Airforce of Zimbabwe and inspection of a guard of honour mounted by the presidential guard followed soon afterwards.

Before taking his sea, the President paid homage to the thousands of freedom fighters, who fell during the liberation war and were not buried or are lying in shallow graves in and outside the country’s borders by observing a minute of silence in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier.

He also took time to visit the grave of his late wife, Amai Sally Mugabe, his late sister, Tete Sabina Mugabe before proceeding to the graves of Vice Presidents; Cde Joshua Nkomo and his wife Mama Mafuyane, Cde Simon Muzenda and Cde Joseph Msika.
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At the national shrine, members of the public as well as relatives to the fallen heroes called on Zimbabweans not safeguard the country’s independence and to work hard for their economic emancipation.

Ambuya Tangwena, the wife of the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena, who was among those who thronged the shrine, implored youths to value their country, its sovereignty and abundant resources.

“This young generation should not be carried away but should work tirelessly for the country’s development and safeguard its independence,” said Ambuya Tangwena.

Youths expressed gratitude to government for prioritising education and their development.

They also thanked the heroes who made immense sacrifices to liberate the country and pledged to work hard for national prosperity.

“We are now living in a peaceful country and having been empowered educationally and economically through the indigenisation policy, it is time to say thank you to all the heroes, both fallen and living, for breaking the colonial bondage,” said one youth.

The high turnout at the national heroes day commemorations is testimony that Zimbabweans are conscious that Zimbabwe was not brought on a silver platter and that there is need to defend it at all costs.