Zimbabwe regime can’t impose heroes onto nation neither can they deny us our true heroes!

When British colonists callously and gruesomely executed hanging Nehanda Nyakasikana, Sekuru Kaguvi, and other local leaders, in March 1898, for their valiant championing of the first mass resistance against the barbaric occupation of their land - the settlers genuinely believed they had successfully killed the people's desire for their freedom and self-determination.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

When the occupiers proceeded further to shroud these illustrious men and women’s burial – the exact location of their remains still being contested even to this day – they honestly believed that they had denied the people of their heroes.

Little did those in power at that time know that, denying a people of those they truly regarded as their heroes would never work – as a people’s hero will forever be a people’s hero, who will forever be revered and awarded a special place in their hearts – regardless of how the ruling elite may attempt to thwart these brave men and women’s memory.

In fact, by refusing and even crashing any efforts by the people to celebrate, honour, and bestow the respect their heroes deserve, can only embolden their resolve to fight the oppressive system – which, has not only turned their lives into a living nightmare through brazen brutal repression, but also, disrespecting those whom the nation truly hold dear.

Nonetheless, another undeniable sad reality of life is that – if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat its mistakes.

As I pen this piece, on this Saturday morning, my heart is sorely pained – as if stabbed by a razor-sharp two-edged sword – due to the most sorrowful realization that today would be the first time there will not be the people’s favourite, Big Saturday Read, and that its illustrious author, human rights defender and lawyer Alex Magaisa, is no longer with us, having tragically passed away last Sunday.

However, what turned this heartache and agonizing sense of loss, into outrage and revulsion was the cold-hearted and vindictive refusal by the Zimbabwe regime to allow the nation – which, has undoubtedly been robbed of their phenomenal voice of profound intellect, who shed light even on the darkest of government oppressive theatrics, as well as gave immeasurable and invaluable wisdom to the opposition – to mourn their hero in a manner befitting such a giant.

It was shocking, although certainly not surprising for a regime notorious for its vile festering hatred for anything and anyone who stands for justice and exposed its nefarious agenda – when permission was denied for Zimbabweans to honour and mourn Magaisa, through a candlelight memorial planned for today in Harare.

Who does not know the depths of this depraved government, which is prepared to sink in its savage desire for retribution, and cause pain and suffering – but, denying a people to mourn a dear beloved friend and hero is a disgusting new low, and totally unAfrican.

This, as was with Mbuya Nehanda, and Sekuru Kaguvi of old, was a hero of multitudes who deserved a memorial service of magnificent proportions – surely, who, even amongst the ruling elite, did not miss the Big Saturday Read, whether to absorb unparalleled words of wisdom or to see if the oppressor’s lurid schemes had been exposed?

In fact, I feel so embarrassed and ashamed as a Zimbabwean right now – to be known as a nation with a government that prohibits its people to mourn, celebrate and remember one of their own, whom they held in high esteem.

Yet, we are, at the same moment, being forced to mourn those who were agreeable to the ruling ZANU PF – since decisions on who is, or is not, a hero is made by a handful in the party’s highest echelons.

Let me remind those in power in Zimbabwe that, as much as they may have the authority to declare who should be mourned or not, and who is buried at the national heroes acre or not – real people’s heroes will always be determined by the people themselves, and will forever be etched in their hearts.

No one is completely sure where Nehanda’s remains are – but, she is revered even today!

They may ban candlelight memorial services – but, the fact still remains that, the hero that the vast majority of Zimbabweans know is being mourned today is Magaisa, and that is the one they will forever remember for all time.

Heroes can never be imposed on a people, and neither can the people be denied their true heroes.

Today, no matter whether the nation will be permitted to congregate or not – is a day we remember the phenomenal works of Alex Tawanda Magaisa and the gigantic void he has left behind, which will be nearly impossible to fill.

Personally, I derived so much inspiration from this great man’s writings – and, his absence will forever be felt – though, only in the flesh, as his spirit will live forever more

Indeed, the people of Zimbabwe should never let his words go to waste – but, it is time that we made what he fought and longed for a reality, as we bravely stand up for ourselves, against a regime that knows no love, does not care about our poverty and suffering, and is even cruel enough to deny us to mourn our true heroes.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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