Remembering our heroines

Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe’s freedom was hard won and fought for by brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and took the barrel of the gun to fight with the white settlers in order to get back our country, our freedom and our land.

Credit does not only go to those who went on to take the barrel but also the women who remained at home while their husbands, fathers and sons left to fight the war and they remained to feed and help the freedom fighters by any means necessary and they were freedom fighters in their own right.

Several of these women have been laid to rest at the National Heroes Acre whilst others were laid to rest in various places. These include Sally Mugabe, Maria Musika, Victoria Chitepo, Sunny Ntombiyelanga Takawira, Shuvai Mahofa, Vivian Mwashita, Sally Mugabe, Julia Tukai Zvobgo, Ruth Lottie Chinamano, Maud Muzenda, Sabina Mugabe, Maria Musika, Thokozile Angela Mathuthu and Ellen Gwaradzimba

These women do not get much recognition and attention as that given to the men and women who fought in the war. Their civilian and activism played a very important role because if it was not for them the freedom fighters would not have managed to fight the way they did because they fed, clothed, hid and nursed them.

Most of these women, the likes of Sally Mugabe, Joanna Nkomo, Ruth Chinamano, Sunny Takawira, Maud Muzenda, Julia Zvobgo and Victoria Chitepo stood by their husbands and played their part by calling for women’s rights and for the black people to be recognised. They counselled, nursed and provided their homes and businesses as safe haven for the liberation comrades. For some this led to their imprisonment with some even getting tortured for their fight for the country’s emancipation.

Shuvai Mahofa was a well known war collaborator as she supplied clothes and medicines to freedom fighters together with Simon Mazorodze. Vivian Mwashita fought in the war and she joined  others in Mozambique, surviving the Nyadzonya Massacre and Chimoio air bombing. Mwashita also participated in active combat in the battle front under Perrance Shiri in Tete, Zanla Operational Province. Ellen Munyoro Gwaradzimba joined the liberation struggle at a tender age of 16 were she trained in Tanzania before being deployed to the Gaza province.

These women sacrificed their personal lives to help the country in gaining the independence it is enjoying today. There are many other women whose names have not been mentioned but they played very crucial roles and these include the chimbwidos who would provide food, shelter and nurse the freedom fighters during the war with many of them having been tortured for their humanitarian help in the rural areas.

When people think of heroes they usually picture the men holding the gun in a battle not knowing that there were these women in the background who played very significant roles in the day to day lives of these men. With some women having been part of the actual war, the humanitarian work these women played was also crucial.

With just a few days left to commemorate our heroes and heroines, let us take time to reflect on their contributions and sacrifices.