Who is a hero in Zimbabwe?
This week Zimbabwe celebrated Heroes’ weekend. A day which many people do not think much about as it has been politicised and personalised by a political party. It has lost its integrity i; honouring those who gave up something or everything so that we can enjoy the privileges we were denied because we were considered less than.
I watch the drama play out in our nation. I see us deliberate, or rather, a political party deliberate on who should be awarded a hero's status and who shouldn’t. So I asked myself, who is a hero? The dictionary defines a hero or heroine as a person or character who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage, bravery or self-sacrifice.
This got me thinking - what is a national hero to Zimbabweans?
Who are our heroes today? Is a hero only someone who actively took part in the liberation war and remained faithful to ZANU PF? Thirty five years later we have encountered so many issues, that surely our heroes should go beyond the liberation struggle and loyalty to President Mugabe. Are we as a nation so blinded by politics that we fail to realise the everyday heroes in our midst?
I have met so many heroes in Zimbabwe and I blow the horn in their honour. My grandfather who was murdered during the liberation struggle is a hero to me; he gave up everything so I can be ‘free’ today. Though I doubt this is the kind of freedom his generation had in mind, We have a new kind of oppression. An evil kind; that we still need to overcome, but for this first phase, I thank you grandpa and your generation. I am in awe of the people who left behind family, friends, community and country to fight for something they believed was right. I strive to emulate them and wish their selflessness would spill over into our nation! They chose to die so that I could live in a liberated way. No greater heroism exceeds this.
My modern day heroes are many; those fighting for our political freedom in this nation,
those that live with the knowledge that they could go missing any day, for their words, questions, and actions. Those that agree that Zimbabwe today is not the legacy we desire to leave for our children. Those who have gone seeking the freedom we long for. Those still missing because of this fight will never be forgotten. These are all heroes I salute.
Our market place heroes, who have done the impossible, who have ventured into the unknown and have come out victorious, we applaud you. Those who gave everything they had for an idea, you are what Zimbabwe is all about. Those who have sowed in tears and are now reaping in joy, we thank you and salute your innovations.
The socially responsible people, who have ensured children go to school, ensured that someone somewhere has a roof over their head and food on the table, we applaud you.
It’s true that it takes a village to raise a child. Some people have done more with what they have in order to raise their village. I see so many of these heroes in Zimbabwe taking in many orphans and not the ones who do it for show, I am talking about the mbuya in Murehwa who has taken in 30 children with no support and raises them as her own. She gets donations here and there but her mandate it to ensure they are cared for. I am talking about the women and men who go above and beyond to ensure that another human being does not die of neglect. I am talking about the women and men who give their last cent to that person who they believe needs it desperately when they do not have any idea what they will feed their children that evening.
This is heroism to me, the act of sacrifice to assist someone else. Over the last 35 years in Zimbabwe, we as a nation have gone through so much, from political torture, economic hardship and social decadency. Along the way many heroes have emerged and some have turned into villains. We need to realise that the act of heroism goes beyond politics.
So to every hero and heroine in my country, sung and unsung, dead or alive, I salute you!
Caroline Kache 13.08.15