On the 18th of April, 1980, Zimbabwe, my home country, declared independence from Britain. It took years of fighting in a war called the Chimurenga, and a measure of external support to achieve the goal. One of my uncles who left home to join the struggle never returned. Every day, for years, my mother’s family would look out on the horizon in frustrated hopes of seeing him walking down the beaten path…And so it was for the many families who lost their loved ones in the fight for freedom.
Today we celebrate 32 years of independence but Chimurenga continues.
Only two years after our independence, Gukurahundi began. An estimated 20,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed between 1982 and 1988. The CCJP and LRF published a report titled “Breaking the Silence: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands.” You can find an abridged version here. To this day, there has been no official acknowledgment, let alone an apology for the human rights violations that took place.
Operation Murambatsvina came 5years after the fast-track land reform program which evicted white farmers, and opposition party supporters, from their land. Murambatsvina evicted city dwellers from shanty camps forcing them back to their rural homes in what has been seen as a bid to disperse urban support for the opposition.
Three decades later, although Zimbabwe is a free country, ethnic divisions heightened by Gukurahundi remain unaddressed; racial divisions have been piqued by the illegal land seizures; and freedom of political expression is virtually non-existent. Inasmuch as Chimurenga is a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice, the war continues.
So it is with heavy heart that today I celebrate the independence of a nation that is yet to be free. I am comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that Truth will always triumph in the end – though the wicked seem now to prosper, God will visit judgment in favor of His elect.
Moreover, in the greater struggle with sin in our individual lives, victory is assured through Jesus Christ, our Savior!