Zimbabweans must appreciate and support the gallantry exhibited by sons and daughters of the soil in the fight against the repressive Smith regime, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, has said.
Briefing the media in Mutare yesterday ahead of this year’s Heroes and Defence Forces Day Commemorations scheduled for August 14 and 15, respectively, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “It is that time of the year once again when we commemorate the Heroes and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces days. This year, we celebrate our revered Heroes Day on August 14 at the National Heroes’ Acre and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day on August 15 at the National Sports Stadium.
“The Heroes Day commemoration is in recognition and remembrance of all who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from the yoke of colonialism. We can never forget the significance of the role they played in waging the war of liberation. Our Defence Forces continue to steadfastly defend our sovereignty, preserve our security and peace. We also celebrate the role they play in community development.”
She called upon all Zimbabweans to throng the National Heroes’ Acre on August 14 and National Sports Stadium on August 15 to commemorate the Heroes and Defence Forces Days respectively.
“Let us all show our appreciation and support for the gallantry exhibited by our sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to fight against the repressive Smith regime. Buses will be made available from the usual pick-up points to ferry people to the National Heroes’ Acre on Monday, August 14 and to the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday, August 15. Buses will also be available in all provinces where the celebrations will be taking place,” she said.
As part of this year’s Heroes Day commemorations, a heroes’ musical concert featuring more than 20 artists will be held at Vengere Stadium in Rusape on the night of August 15.
“ After the Defence Forces celebrations, all roads will lead to Vengere Stadium where a star-studded line-up is expected to give a dazzling performance, making it a show not to be missed. The musical gala will start at 6 pm until 6 am the following day and will be broadcast live on ZBC TV.
“Let us all converge at Vengere Stadium to put the icing on the Heroes and Defence Forces Day commemorations through song and dance. Entry into the show is absolutely FREE,” she said.
The Gala is the first ever national music gala to be ever held in Rusape which is a true testimony to the Second Republic’s devolution agenda, and the leaving no place and no one behind philosophy.
The Heroes Gala in Rusape is befitting as Makoni District was one of the areas that bore the brunt of colonial cruelty due to the high presence of white commercial farmers in the area.
The Rhodesian Forces turned Castle Base Kop in Rusape into a torture and murder camp where hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children were raped, tortured, killed and buried in shallow graves.
The area is now the Makoni District Heroes’ Acre.
Rusape Town Council acting secretary, Mr Togarepi Nerwande said they have put in place measures to host a flawless gig, and are working with various departments to make the day memorable.
“We are elated to host this year’s Heroes Gala, and we are more than ready for this big day. We feel honoured and recognised. We have recruited 10 extra casual workers to work in the stadium. There is running water and a solar-powered borehole on standby.
“Our ablution facilities are in a good state, both in the VIP and general stands. We have a Local Organising Committee (LOC) being led by the District Development Coordinator, Mr Edwin Mashindi. This is comprised of heads of Government ministries at the district level and two local authorities, Makoni Rural District Council and us.
“There is enough accommodation from lodges and hotels. We have engaged local boarding schools for them to accommodate some visitors and performing artists,” said Mr Nerwande.
The hosting of the gala is also an opportunity for local artists to showcase their talents.
“It is a positive move for us local musicians to participate in this national event. We have since engaged the Ministry of Sport, Art and Culture so that local musicians are also given slots to perform. National galas are important because they give a platform to upcoming musicians to market themselves, and forgotten artists use them to revive their careers,” said Makoni Arts Association chairman, Mr David Maenzanise.