Children of ZAPU and ZPRA members have criticised a section of Zimbabweans who claim that living under a colonial government of Ian Smith was better than having a black majority rule.
Some people have been comparing Zimbabwe’s post-independence socio-economic struggles with the Rhodesian government era, claiming the colonial regime was far much better.
But this assertion has received condemnation from members of the Children of ZAPU/ZPRA Network, who said Zimbabwe must appreciate the struggles former freedom fighters went through to liberate the country, adding failures of the current black-led government should not dent that sacrifice.
“Some people are saying we were better off under Ian Smith and we don’t agree with that,” said Qobo Mayisa, a member of the children of ZAPU and ZPRA network during a donation of blankets to ZPRA female veterans last week.
“Our parents did not go to war for us to later criticize them. Our parents, the veterans, went to the war to give us a liberated country, for us to be free so that we have our own country, which we can develop.”
Mayisa stressed that the aim of going to war was to deliver a liberated country so blacks could have self-rule, not to be ruled by white settlers who colonised the country.
“We thank the sacrifices made by our parents in fighting for this country. If they did not, we would still be under colonial rule. I know some people love whites but don’t forget what they did before Independence. They took away our land, stole from us and killed people,” he said.
“The colonial settlers resettled blacks in inhabitable areas, places that were meant for animals but put us there. They took our wealth, our grandfathers had so many cattle and from their stature, you could tell they were living well but look at our stature now. We are smaller due to hunger caused by the white settlers.”
Mayisa noted that studies had found a correlation between war and nutrition, saying violence leads to stunted growth.
“Students must study the impact of war on nutrition and growth, look at children who were born in 1935 and 1945. The results are interesting and you will be surprised. People often say their children are dull but perhaps it’s because they are hungry and their food lacks nutrition,” said the network member.
“Our nutrition suffered when wealth was taken over by white settlers. So, when our parents stood up to fight, they were fighting a big enemy, which fractured the country. We must not allow our children to say such sentiments because they are now free from colonial rule.
“Today people are able to drive cars yet during the colonial era, blacks were not even allowed to drive until the 1960s. Being able to drive on the roads freely now was due to the sacrifice made by our veteran parents fighting for this country.”
He acknowledged that although Zimbabwe was going through hardships, also suffered by the ex-ZPRA cadres, who were not recognised by the State, the liberation struggle must not be looked down upon.
“We must not condone such talk and condemn veterans who gave birth to a child called Zimbabwe,” Mayisa said, noting that responsibility to develop the country was entrusted on the black-led government.
“What have we done to the country that was given to us by our parents? We have failed to maintain the roads and there is no water infrastructure. Our veterans worked hard to give birth to this country we are in. As children of ZAPU/ZPRA that’s why we say this history must be told. We encourage the ZPRA veterans to share that knowledge, experience and not die without us the young learning from them.“