Kudakwashe Chidziya recently in Odzi
“Lest we forget” was the theme for this year’s Heroes Day celebrations and indeed as a nation we cannot not forget the brutal atrocities during the colonial epoch immersed with gloomy pictures and a poignant narrative of mass killings of our beloved dauntless sons and daughters of the soil.
Of course they are fallen but not forgotten.
Death can conquer the spirit, while the ground can feast on the flesh but great people’s bones live forever.
The late heroine Mbuya Nehanda once said, “Mapfupa angu achamuka.” — a collective vow implying heroes will never be done and dusted.
Two years back, Cephas Gwenzi had concurring dreams revealing a mass grave in Marange-Chanyandura area in Chiwere in Odzi.
As if it was not enough, last year, an illegal gold miner panicked after he unearthing human bones at the same mine before sharing his discovery with fellow villagers which then confirmed the possibility of a mass grave at Chiwere.
Victims of the colonial bondage, Zimbabwe’s freedom fighters were dishonoured and buried like disease stricken cattle in a dungeon but “lest we forget” after the discovery of this mass grave at Chiwere, these comrades are to be taken home in honour.
Headman Blessing Marange-Charundura under Chief Marange then took the matter to the traditional structures hierarchy which brought the matter to the Government’s attention.
Beyond reasonable doubt, Odzi Ardwell Copper Mine which sits on a 3.5 km by 4 km land was once a mass grave where the inhuman murders of the colonisers were secreted.
Following Government’s official issuing of an exhumation certificate, the initial exhumation was held on Tuesday this week at Chiwere.
Exhumation experts and spirit mediums convened at the mine and four bodies were discovered, three believed to be of the middle aged and one suspected to be of a youth who played the mujibha role during the war.
Human bones, partly worn-out farmer shoes, male trousers, socks, pants and beads were unearthed during the process.
Officiating at the procedures, Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, said exhumation processes should be given top priority in honour of the fallen heroes.
“Everyone who took part in the liberation war struggle played a vital role in making this nation what it is today. These fallen heroes who failed to make it to Zimbabwe from Rhodesia deserve their honour.
“Hence, as Government, exhumation and identification of these heroes must be prioritised. Without their efforts, the liberty we enjoy today could have not been obtained,” she said.
Chief exhumer Anyway Chinyani, who led the exhumation at Chiwere, asked for Government’s support in promoting identification of mass graves and to follow all the procedures towards ensuring decent burials of the heroes.
“We plead for quick responses for urgent exhumation of fallen heroes. Once these comrades are given a place to call a home by honouring them with decent burials, even fortune will knock on our doors as a nation. Comrades deserve a home, let us facilitate decent burials for our fallen heroes,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s freedom was hard earned with efforts by selfless heroes ensuring the liberty the nation enjoys.