War Vets pay tribute to Prof Ngwabi Bhebhe
Michael Magoronga,[email protected]
War Veterans led by the Minister of the newly established Ministry of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs (MoVLSA), Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa have paid tribute to the late academic and author, Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe saying he played a huge role in chronicling the events of the war of liberation through his writing.
The founding Midlands State University (MSU) Vice Chancellor, Prof Bhebhe, who penned a number of books, died last Friday aged 81 and was declared a national hero.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.
During a Strategic Planning Workshop that started in Kwekwe on Monday, participants observed a minute of silence in honour of the late historian before the commencement of the meeting.
In an interview, Ambassador Mutsvangwa described the late Prof Bhebhe as an academic par excellence who had a penchant for chronicling the history of the country, both pre-independence and post-independence.
“Prof Bhebhe had an abiding love for the history of this country particularly the national liberation war so he led in the publication of material about the national liberation war and also wanted more people to write so that the revival of Zimbabwe as a modern African State which has one of the most revered armies is fully exposed so that Zimbabweans and the world at large can know about it,” he said.
A Historian par excellence with many history books under his belt, Prof Bhebhe fought the war using the pen.
“He chronicled how Zimbabweans sacrificed and mastered organisational capabilities to overcome the Rhodesian Army which was a cat’s-paw. This is a story which fascinated him and wanted it to be documented for posterity,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
He urged more writers, including freedom fighters, to document their experiences for the benefit of the future generation.
“It’s been 40 years post-independence and people (freedom fighters) are dying and the stories are going with them. The people who went through the war are still alive and we have about 30 000 of them. There are also those who fought the war in the villages. The story of the war is all over Zimbabwe and it needs to be chronicled,” he said.
Prof Bhebhe envisaged tertiary institutions as centres of excellence with research and documentation playing a key role.
“He left us a task for students to go and research about the war from their parents. Universities should become centres of excellence for documenting the war of liberation. As a ministry we are going to follow up on that,” said Amb Mutsvangwa.