Monument preserves African heritage
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ (ZDF) Heritage Monument launched yesterday will go a long way in preserving both the country and continent’s cultural identity and common heritage, President Mnangagwa has said.
The ZDF Heritage Monument is a joint project between the ZDF and the Institute of African Knowledge (INSTAK) and is located within the ZDF Exhibition Park at the site of the Museum of African Liberation.
Apart from launching the ZDF Heritage Monument, the President received artefacts belonging to the late Father Zimbabwe, Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo from the Joshua Nkomo Foundation that was represented by the late national hero’s daughter, Thandi Nkomo-Ebrahim.
President Mnangagwa also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between INSTAK and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for the development of a shopping mall at the site of the Museum of African Liberation.
The President hailed the establishment of the monument saying: “The monument serves to immortalise and memorialise the supreme sacrifices made by our gallant sons and daughters to liberate our great country and continent.
“This monument by the ZDF and INSTAK also contributes to the realisation of Aspiration number 5 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, ‘an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics’,” said President Mnangagwa.
The ZDF Heritage Monument will comprise a conical tower, where the President lit the eternal flame and two statues of soldiers symbolising the gallant combatants who fought for the country’s freedom.
Construction of the wall of honour, which is part of the ZDF Monument, is commendable as it consists of names of Africa’s illustrious veterans of the liberation struggle and takes into account the fact that the liberation struggle and freedom was a culmination of synergies, collaboration, cooperation and solidarity of various nations, said President Mnangagwa.
He added that Zimbabwe was privileged to host the Museum of African Liberation, which provides Africa space to collectively write and tell its liberation story in its own way and perspective.
“The museum enables us to secure, preserve and promote our rich collective heritage, arts, culture and heritage as levers for building the Africa ‘we all want’. As Africa, none but ourselves, has the responsibility to build our own continent.
“The monument, therefore, goes a long way in engraving the unity that exists within Africa. It further stands as a reminder of the Ubuntu philosophy which says, ‘I am, because we are’, and ‘We are, because I am’.
“Progress that has been realised since the ground-breaking in December 2020 is in keeping with my administration’s focus and resolve to implement and complete development projects and programmes.
“I, thus, commend the ZDF and INSTAK and other stakeholders for the unity of purpose, good workmanship and determination, which has seen the results achieved to date,” said President Mnangagwa.
He reiterated the call for the return of the remains of Zimbabwe’s iconic heroes, including Chief Makoni, Chief Chinegundu, Chief Mashayamombe and Chief Chiwashira, and other artefacts held hostage in foreign museums and private galleries.
South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi pledged her country’s support for the Museum of African Liberation, as it was important for African nations to work together to enhance regional and continental integration.
She said following a request by President Mnangagwa in September for South Africa to repatriate Zimbabwe’s military and civilian artefacts used during the liberation war, President Cyril Ramaphosa had accepted the appeal and would facilitate their return.
To date, various liberation heritage artefacts have been put on display and these included materials from the late national heroes, General Josiah Magama Tongogara, Father Emmanuel Ribeiro, Cde Leopold Takawira and late former Vice President Dr Simon Vengai Muzenda.