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Hero status: It takes one to know one

WITH an illustrious political career that dwarfs even the likes of President Robert Mugabe, Thenjiwe Lesabe (pictured) is a true national hero. Her political career began in the 1950s and was launched by design, not by accident as some of our rulers.

She started off by mobilising people at the grassroots level in instilling political consciousness  and was among the first people to enter the political fray. Henceforth, she remained at the centre of efforts by the nationalists to bring about a free Zimbabwe. Her cause was not regional, but was a national project to bring liberation to all corners of the nation.


Hers is a story of struggle right up to the end where even after Independence she sought to fight for the cause of the people rather than remaining in the comforts of political correctness.

Contrary to what Mugabe and Zanu PF say, she remained consistent to the ideals of true freedom and true liberation. These are concepts that are quite obviously alien to Zanu PF. It is like oil and water; they can never mix. By “denying” her national heroine status, Zanu PF has exposed the exercise for the farce that it is.

How can Zanu PF, a product of the political consciousness that came as a result of the likes of Lesabe’s efforts, now stand to award or deny her hero status? It is ludicrous to say the least. To say that remaining in Zanu PF is a measurement of consistency would be funny if it was not tragic. The wheels came off in Zanu PF a long time ago and as a true patriot, she decided to recuse herself.

A hero is not because Mugabe says so. A hero is because that person has served to advance the cause of the nation. A hero is a hero in the hearts and minds of the people and not because they have been ensconced at a particular area. We do not need to wait for the politburo or Mugabe to tell us that such and such is a hero. It is the prerogative of the people.


Mugabe should be reminded that he has no monopoly on hero statuses. In fact the jury is still out on whether he is still one or not.
I am no Zapu supporter. My political sympathies lie elsewhere. But I know a hero when I see one.

So we shall honour her and celebrate a life well lived. A life sacrificed to bring about liberation for all. They say freedom is not free, and we will continue to fight until Zimbabwe is truly free. Go well true daughter of the soil.

Joshua Mukarakate,

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