Zimbabwe @43: Nyika Inovavakwa Nevene Vayo

Rutendo Jiri

On 18 April 2023, Zimbabwe will hold its annual Independence Day celebrations at Mount Darwin High School, Mount Darwin Centre.

The celebrations will be held under the theme #Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo.

The Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo mantra speaks volumes of His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s commitment to transform the country into an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.

This year’s Independence Day celebrations mark the first of its kind to be held in a rural area in Mashonaland Central Province and the second to be held outside of Harare.

Mount Darwin bears testimony to the country’s painful struggle for independence in many regards.

It was the home of the late First Chimurenga heroine, Mbuya Nehanda who lived in the Mavuradonha Mountains.  

Most significantly, it was in Mount Darwin, at William Monkey Mine in Chibondo farm, were over 2000 dead bodies of freedom fighters and civilians who were brutally butchered, poisoned and killed by the Rhodesian fighters at the height of the liberation struggle, were found secretly buried in one of the six mine shafts as late as 2011.

Some were buried dead some alive in the mine shafts!

Over 2000 dead bodies were exhumed from 1 mine shaft and it is expected that more could be found buried in the remaining 5 mine shafts.

Indeed, Chibondo epitomizes the extent of Rhodesian extremism, hatred and brutality against indigenous Zimbabweans during the war of liberation.

Mount Darwin is also significant to the country’s war history as it was the safest route which freedom fighters used to cross from Zimbabwe and Mozambique where they received military training before, they would come back to fight the Rhodesians.

It is also home to the country’s living and dead liberation war heroes and heroines such as the country’s first female Vice President, Joyce Teurai Ropa Mujuru and the late ZANU PF Politburo member, Peter Clever Wilfred Jackson non degure George Rutanhire.

With such a sad history, its only befitting that this year’s Independence Day celebrations be held in Mount Darwin to pay our respects to the sons and daughters of the soil who lay their lives for our freedom.

Zimbabweans from all walks of life must draw lessons from the selfless sacrifices by the country’s liberation fighters and must gather strength to leap the country forward from the destruction at Chibondo and many battle fields where battles for independence were fought.

The theme Nyika Inovokwa Nevene Vayo/ Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo thus bestows upon Zimbabweans, the responsibility to build and develop the country from the destruction and ruins of the Rhodesian Smith regime to an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.

Dubbed #Vision2030, the philosophy places the responsibility of national development on the shoulders of Zimbabweans “by themselves and for themselves.”

Since 2000, Zimbabwe was slapped with illegal economic sanctions by the West, because Zimbabweans had decided to take ownership of their land after the former colonialists renegaded against the “willing buyer willing seller” provision of the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979.  

Former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe reiterated that, the reason why Zimbabweans went to war was because of land!

Decades later after Zimbabweans repossessed their land; we are seeing massive developments in agriculture under President Mnangagwa’s New Dispensation.

Speaking recently during the Dakar II Feed African summit in Senegal, President Mnangagwa proclaimed that Zimbabwe was “food secure” and wheat sufficient.”

In fact, Zimbabwe is expected to start what exports to other African countries.

The President reiterated that, Zimbabwe had achieved food self-sufficiency through its village philosophy that Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/ Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo, which places the people at the center of their own development.  

“In Zimbabwe we had the problem of food insecurity and we said, how much food do we want in a year to feed our nation and the figure we got was two million tons of grain,” said the President.

Through this philosophy, there has been massive infrastructure development in and around the country which would assist Zimbabwe to achieve #Vision2030.

Some of these include the rehabilitation and construction of the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare highway, the Mbudzi interchange, the Manhize Steel plant, the Gwayi Shangani dam construction, houses for civil servants, and the Beitbridge border post refurbishment among others.

As the country holds its annual Independence Day celebrations, it is prudent that Zimbabweans across the country take pride in themselves and the hard work each of us is doing in making sure that Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/ Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo.