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Tribute to Josiah Magama Tongogara 39 years on

25 Dec 2018 at 19:29hrs | Views
A day after celebrating Christmas swimming through the stiffed hard but good festive seasons on the 26th December 1979 duty called. In the call of duty the son of the soil breathed his last breath.

Josiah Magama Tongogara was born on the 4th February 1938 and was taken from us on the 26th December 1979 Tongogara was a commander of the ZANLA guerrilla army in Rhodesia. Tongogara is the brother of current Zimbabwe President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa's second wife, Jayne.He attended the Lancaster House conference that led to Zimbabwe's independence and the end of white minority rule. He was the commander who preached peace through war he preached unity and hoped to see a racial free nation. Many expected him to be the first president of Zimbabwe, with Robert Mugabe, head of Zanla's political wing, ZANU, as prime minister but that was not to be. While the nation closes curtains behind Tongogara his legacy can not be tainted.

In 1972 he was in Dare rechimurenga Military Commander, ZANLA. Chief of Defence, DARE ReChimurenga (ZANU War Council). 1938 on the 4th of February is Selukwe now known as Shurugwi Josiah Magama Tongogara was born. Like any other child he attended primary education, up to Standard VI, at an Anglican mission school.

He went to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1960 and studied book-keeping. He became secretary of Chainama Golf Club in 1961. While in Zambia his brother Percy Tongogara was murdered in a politically motivated killing. This became the trigger to Josiah's zeal to liberate the country. He out aside his self and promised to sacrifice all for the sake of the nation. The drowning of his brother Percy, who was drowned in the Kafue river, was the turning point. No force was able to stop him. He was resolved to bare all for his country. Tongogara left his employment and became a militant nationalist.

He travelled extensively throughout the Middle East, the Far East and Eastern Europe, studying politics and training himself as a military leader. He also headed the 18-man military high command, providing liaison between the political leaders in Lusaka and the soldiers in the field.

Tongogara in 1973 showed his forgiving heart when he escorted Gerald Hawksworth from Mocambique to Tanzania after the latter had been captured by guerrillas.

In 1974 Tongogara stood his ground firmly against detente, maintaining that the military struggle must be continued this was in Lusaka. Despite a great deal of internecine fighting between the various tribal elements of ZANLA he managed to remain in control.He was not tainted by tribal fights he was not a tribalist and that earned him respect during his leadership. Power did not remove him from the people he actually became a unifier and managed to rise above the Karanga Zezuru Tiff of the war times.

Despite his leadership and good heart Tongogara was detained by the Zambian Government in 1975 after Chitepo's assassination. He was held in Kabwe maximum security prison for over a year, being brought to trial in Lusaka on 21 April 1976 for the alleged murder of Chitepo. On 20 October he was acquitted and released in time to attend the Geneva Conference. His influence was seen when he was asked to deliberate and be a signatory to the agreement which set up ZIPA in May 1976.

He was a tough, clear-thinking man with positive ideas on political development. He greatly admired Patrice Lumumba and Mao-Tse-tung.

Tongogara was very compliant to technology and current affairs. He would not miss any news so he made it a point to travel with a radio so that wherever he goes he wont miss important news items from Peking and other Communist stations.

Tongogara was married to Angelina and his panchet for freedom was seen in the names he gave his three children (Rangarirayi, Hondo and Bvumai). His wife, Angelina, was a midwife.

In the thickest of the war Tongogara had time to watch Bruce Lee who was his favourite Karate Actor. His favourite soccer player was George Shaya. When he comes in from he bush he likes to "wind down with draughts and cards".

Tongogara was a close friend of Mocambique's President Samora Machel, with whom he underwent military training in China. It is therefore befitting that each day after christmas we pause for a minute to remember the Hero of our Nation that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom.

From the Revolutionary War to the corridors of Harare and every other place that the way of life that we Zimbabweans enjoy, men and women of the Zimbabwe former and current military have defended freedom for the millions of Zimbabweans that they don't even know. We have fat corrupt officers in our governments. We have pompous and showy lunatics in the corridors of power who do not even know where the freedom came from. Many men and women like Tongogara were in the trenches watering our freedom with their blood. But Tongogara paid a price for our Freedom that we can never repay. It's a sacrifice that he made without hesitation that made him the truest definition of the word Hero, even though that was not his goal.

The voice of freedom whispers " Make sure to take a moment this Day to be thankful for the military men and women both past and present of this great Nation. Even more importantly, please take the time to remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to Zimbabwe"

Today we pause to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, the fallen warriors who never came home to their families and friends. Liberty is a precious gift whose benefits we all enjoy every day, but too often we give little thought to the price paid for it. Christmas Day is the one day each year on which we reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made by our fellow countrymen and a day after is the day Tongogara poured his blood for our everlasting problem. Our nation survived that bloody civil war, and went on to become a beacon of hope for millions of people around the world. The fruits of their labors can be seen throughout the country.

Only those who have seen the horrors of war firsthand can ever truly know what these soldiers, went through in their final moments.

Each of them knew what their duty was, but surely each of them also dreamed of going home to the people they loved and the life they cherished. Each of them had families waiting eagerly to see them again. We know that they were forced to leave their hopes and dreams behind when they went off to war. They parted with them forever when they died.

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." That is especially true of the war for our freedom where we ultimately fought for our democratic values and way of life. The task will not be an easy one, nor will it be achieved in a matter of months, or even years. But it must be done.

"Our nation grieves for the brave men and women whose lives have ended in freedom's cause. No one can take away the sorrow that comes to the families of the fallen. We can only say that these Zimbabweans served in a noble and a necessary cause, and their sacrifice has made our nation and the world more secure. We will honor their memory forever."

Every life lost is a tragedy. It is a loss to our military, to our nation, and to the families who grieve. Every Day, we struggle to understand the meaning of such sacrifice and loss. And it always seems so much more painful than words alone can not convey. All we can do is remember the sacrifices made for us and for our freedom. We must not be selfish in Power. If Tongo is to wake up now he will weep himself to death for what we have is not what laid his life for.

We can only hope that the anguish of the families of these fallen heroes is tempered by the knowledge that their loved ones died in a noble cause - liberating millions of people from a brutal regime and protecting still more millions from further harm and intimidation.

Today we honour Tongogara and all those who left us too soon, whose lives were cut short on distant battlefields. And so, as you celebrate this Christmas with family and friends, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on those who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy a beautiful day like today. This "Moment is something each of us can do to keep their memory alive in our hearts. Surely we owe them nothing less than to remember, and to give thanks for all they have done on our behalf. On behalf of a grateful nation, we salute them, and pledge that we will never forget.

God bless Zimbabwe. Long live the spirit of our heroes. Long Live Tongogara. Tezvara gamba we salute you.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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