Celebrating the heroes of Zimbabwe
This week, our team in Zimbabwe is celebrating Heroes’ Day. Curious about the significance of this occasion? In this blog post, we’ll unpack the captivating story behind this public holiday.
What is Heroes’ Day?
Heroes’ Day is observed every year on the second Monday in August. It’s a day when the entire nation comes together to honor and pay tribute to the extraordinary courage and unwavering bravery displayed by the nation in the pursuit for an independent, peaceful and free society.
History of Heroes’ Day
During the 1960s, the rise of African nationalism led to numerous countries throughout the continent breaking free from the grip of colonial domination and achieving independence. As a result, the British implemented a ‘no independence before majority rule’ for their remaining colonies. This did not sit well with the white minority rule in Zimbabwe who in turn, declared independence in November 1964.
This resulted in a guerrilla war in which Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) joined forces to overthrow the government. After over 15 years, the war came to an end in 1980 with Rhodesia being renamed Zimbabwe. During that period, it is estimated that 10 000 guerilla fighters and 20 000 civilians lost their lives.
The Aftermath of the War
To pay tribute to all the lives lost during the fight for independence, the National Heroes’ Acre was erected. This 23-hectare site serves as both a burial ground and national heritage site. Located on a ridge, just seven kilometres from the capital city, Harare, the National Heroes’ Acre serves as a reminder of the bravery and selflessness for those that lost their lives during the war.
In conclusion, this day holds profound significance, as it allows Zimbabweans to reflect on their history, honor their heroes, and draw inspiration for the future.