Nation unites in celebration  of 44 years of Independence Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube inspects the parade during Independence Day celebrations at White City Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday

Chronicle Writers 

YESTERDAY was a day unlike any other as thousands of Zimbabweans from all walks of life converged at various venues dotted around the country to celebrate 44 years of Independence, marking another chapter in their storied journey as a sovereign people.

This year’s celebrations were held under the theme Zim@44: Unity, peace and development towards Vision 2030. Zimbabwe attained independence from the white minority rule in 1980.

The main celebrations were held in Murambinda, Manicaland Province where President Mnangagwa delivered the Independence Day speech. 

In Bulawayo, White City Stadium served as the focal point of the day’s festivities. Flags fluttered in the wind, proudly displaying the colours of Zimbabwe, while banners emblazoned with the number “44” adorned every corner of the venue, a testament to the milestone being celebrated. 

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, who was among the multitudes that thronged the venue, led the celebrations. The ceremony commenced with the singing of the national anthem.

Minister Ncube inspected a quarter guard mounted by the members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) 1 Infantry Brigade and later read President Mnangagwa’s Independence Day speech. The atmosphere was electric with a profound sense of unity and pride, as people of diverse backgrounds came together to celebrate the country’s 44 years of freedom.

The air was filled with the sounds of laughter and celebration, as music played in the background and vendors sold delicious street foods and handmade crafts. As dignitaries took to the stage to give speeches and pay tribute to those who fought for independence, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause.

The event was punctuated by scintillating performances by Insimbi zeZhwane and other local artistes. Some of the youths in attendance said the celebrations serve as a constant reminder to them to safeguard the nation’s interests.

“We are here to celebrate Independence Day, when we got our freedom. As youths, we have an obligation to safeguard the prevailing peace that we are enjoying today,” said Mr Zandile Ndebele of Pumula North suburb.

A vendor, Ms Christine Mpofu said: “This is a pristine phenomenon and as early as 8am business was booming. We are also celebrating Independence while pushing our business. This is a day that we will surely remember and wish it could be like this every day.”

Among those who attended the event, were the Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi, service chiefs, Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Councillor Edwin Ndlovu, Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube and war veterans.

In Matabeleland South, scores of residents gathered at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda to celebrate the day.

Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu presided over the proceedings. She read the President’s speech.

Among those who graced the event were Zanu-PF Politburo members, Cdes Abedinico Ncube and Richard Ndlovu, former Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairman Cde Andrew Langa, Gwanda Tshitaudze legislator Cde Fisani Moyo, Chief Mabhena, Permanent Secretary for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mrs Latiso Dlamini-Maseko, service chiefs, Gwanda mayor Councillor Thulani Moyo and the Zanu-PF provincial leadership.

Groups that provided entertainment include Fasimba Home of Arts, Blanket Mine Chihoda, Sabiwa Primary School, Matshiya Primary School, NM Entertainment and Zimbabwe Military Dance Group, among others.

In Matabeleland North, it was a hive of activity as scores of people swarmed Manjolo Primary School in Binga district, to celebrate the day.

Hundreds walked long distances to be part of the first-ever Uhuru provincial celebrations to be held in the district.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo, who was accompanied by the service chiefs, inspected a military parade before he read the President’s speech.

Minister Moyo commended the Binga community for embracing the provincial celebrations.

“I want to thank you for coming in your numbers to celebrate the country’s 44th Independence Day celebrations here,” he said.

The Binga community members said the devolved Independence Day event validates the spirit of oneness that gripped the country during the liberation struggle.

The local Tonga community played a crucial role, particularly in assisting Zpra freedom fighters to cross the Zambezi River to Zambia, to join the struggle.

Binga District Development Coordinator, Mr Land Kabome Siansole said some of the community members were experiencing the Uhuru celebrations for the first time, as most of them have no access to television.

“The Tonga people are honoured that here along the Zambezi River, this is where the comrades used to cross to Zambia for military training. So, to our people, hosting Independence shows that there is unity of purpose just like what happened during the liberation struggle,” he said.

“While we have held minor district celebrations, some of our people had never experienced such events.

They are happy with what the Second Republic is doing in terms of development. Some of the people walked 15km, just to be part of the Independence Day celebrations.”

Mr Siansole said the business community also benefitted from the provincial event.
Binga Rural District Council chief executive officer, Mr Joshua Muzamba said the celebrations have put the district on the map.

“We appreciate the Second Republic for decentralising the Independence Day celebrations. This helps us in marketing our district, which is endowed with vast natural resources, which are important in terms of boosting tourism,” he said.

One of the villagers, Ms Margaret Munenge, said “We are excited to host the provincial independence celebrations in our district. This shows that we are also recognised as citizens in this country.”

The atmosphere was the same in Hwange district as hundreds of people converged at Chidobe Business Centre, where the Independence Day celebrations were held.

Acting Hwange District Development Coordinator, Mrs Nyaradzo Masoja was guest of honour and she read the President’s speech.

In attendance, were Chiefs Wange and Mvuthu, heads of Government departments, service chiefs, political party leaders and scores of villagers.

Entertainment was provided by various local groups and there was a soccer and netball tournament.

In Beitbridge, the celebrations were held at Dulivhadzimu Stadium.

Beitbridge Municipality police, ZCC brass band, local poets, local artists provided entertainment.

District Development Coordinator Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu read the President’s speech.

Among those who attended the event were Beitbridge East legislator, Cde Albert Nguluvhe, Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Youth Quota MP Cde Tinashe Mushipe, senior civil servants from the district and religious leaders.

The day was also marked by an eight-team netball tournament at St Mary’s High School and a soccer match.

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