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Hundreds grace DD funeral

by Staff reporter
02 Jun 2019 at 08:21hrs | Views
CLOUDS of dust rose into the morning sky as vehicles, big and small, joined hundreds of feet shuffling to the late national struggle icon and hero, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa's, rural home in Ntabazinduna yesterday to bid farewell to a freedom fighter who played an invaluable role in the liberation of Zimbabwe.

The dust did not seem to deter those whose roaring vehicles disturbed the usual early morning calm of rural Ntabazinduna and neither did it inconvenience villagers who joined the great trek to witness the burial of a liberation war stalwart that had put life and limb on the line for the freedom of his country.

Government Ministers, past and present military commanders and esteemed businesspeople rubbed shoulders with ordinary village folk that came in their numbers to bid a heartfelt farewell to one of their own. It was not surprising that the burial of Dr Dabengwa, an ex-combatant whose exploits saw him exalted as one of the greatest country's military minds, would be punctuated by drills that recalled his time in the bush.

Zipra veterans rolled back the years when they broke into their trademark toyi-toyi, reminding everyone in attendance that before old age's caught up with them, they too were once fit and able-bodied men and women who participated in the war to break the chains of colonial bondage.

While speeches were read, songs from struggle  by the freedom fighters provided the soundtrack for a morning that seemed as much a celebration of Dabengwa's life as it was a preparation for life for such a colossal figure.

In what was an all-round dramatic morning, an old veteran broke from the tents, carrying a stick that was meant to representing a gun and started taking aim at imaginary targets.

With his potent "weapon" pointed to the sky, as if under the instruction of his commander who lay in a Zimbabwean flag-draped casket a few metres from him, he started eliminating enemy combatants both on the ground and in the air. It was an act that roused the crowd, and a timely reminder that while some might be quick to forget, for hundreds of the country's freedom fighters the liberation struggle is not a distant memory but a reality that will live with them until the end of their days.

Poets chanted, the army band's drums banged and the trumpets wailed as the civilian and military lives of Dr Dabengwa intersected, with speaker after speaker showcasing his value as a leader both before and after Zimbabwe's independence.

Senior combatants of UMkhonto Wesizwe's Luthuli Detachment were in attendance, 52 years after the unit was rolled across the mighty Zambezi River before they crossed swords with their Rhodesian foes alongside their Zipra counterparts during the famed Wankie and Sipolilo battles.

"I had the opportunity to serve under the command and leadership of Dabengwa, he was a commander who was special, and he was a political military commander. He understood the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was an opportunity for me to be under a man of this calibre," said retired South African Chief Lieutenant-General Gilbert Ramano.

Meanwhile, those who had never seen battle also insisted on saying farewell to the fallen gallant fighter. "Nationalist par excellence" said one banner held by a young man and "Rest in peace our liberator" another screamed as the crowd swelled as Dr Dabengwa's burial neared.

When the time came to go and bury Dr Dabengwa among his kin as his family willed, dust again rose as hundreds rose to accompany the departed nationalist to his final resting place. Sitting alone in the hearse, the body of her husband behind her, Mama Zodwa Dabengwa, widow of Dr Dabengwa cut the distraught figure of one who had lost someone dearest to her heart, proving perhaps that one can indeed be alone in a crowd.

In front of her the army band played on, soothing the hearts and minds of the grieving with beautiful notes of well arranged music.

Shots from the firing squad rang around the dust filled Ntabazinduna air as military men were giving a resounding military send-off. When the time came to lower the body of the late nationalist into the ground, with the late Mr George Dabengwa buried to his right and Ms Zidla Sibanda on his left, one could hear hearts flutter and melt at the realisation that a man whose deeds had helped shape a nation was indeed gone forever, laid to rest, in the dust of Ntabazinduna where his roots are. It is the place where former Highlanders football star, Zenzo Dabengwa, together with other family members, are interred.

Source - sundaynews