Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Speeches

Zapu RSA Chair, Bongani Halimana Speech - Joshua Nkomo Day

28 Jul 2015 at 14:41hrs | Views

Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Commemoration
Hillbrow Theatre, Johannesburg
July 25, 2015

Esteemed Guests,
All protocol observed,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon;

I need not pause to say how happy I am to be here today, and how very delighted I am, to be part of this crowd as we celebrate the life of an icon he did so much to unshackle Zimbabwe from the monstrous grip of colonial rule.

I come to this great magnificent event today because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I am in this gathering because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and works of the organizers that brought us together, and share in their broader aim of uniting our people as we move forward to take back what is ours – the land that our mothers and fathers, under the able leadership of Mqabuko fought for and reclaimed from the colonialists.

Allow me to say that, as we commemorate the life and heroics of Umdala Wethu, we must remain mindful of the monolithic political being that he was, as opposed to trying to squeeze his giant political image to fit into some smokescreen of a single political movement and or a single view.

It is with great pleasure that I become part of a celebration combo that also revisits the life and history of yet another struggle icon – Lookout Mafela Masuku, for whom Nkomo had so much regard. I therefore, find it befitting that; as I bring to the fore some of the proof that Nkomo was a larger than life political character in both Zimbabwe and internationally, I should quote from a speech he recited at Masuku's burial, whose greater part echoes to this day.

When he said and I quote, "……..we cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this great tragedy. We who fought against these things now practice them. Why? Why? Why?" you get justification of the fact that Nkomo was a realist who believed in both accountability and authority by submission, as opposed to finding scapegoats.

From the line, "We are enveloped in the politics of hate. The amount of hate being preached today in this country (Zimbabwe) is frightful. What Zimbabwe fought for was peace, progress, love, respect, justice, equality, not the opposite. And one of the worst evils we see today is corruption. The country bleeds today because of corruption," you are drawn to the prophetic words of this iconic man.

The great old man whose life we are celebrating today was a proponent of racial equality, as evidenced by his line, "There is something radically wrong in our country today and we are moving fast towards destruction. There is confusion and corruption and, let us be clear about it, we are seeing racism in reverse under false mirror of correcting imbalances of the past. In the process we are creating worse things. We have created fear in the minds of some in our country. We have made them feel unwanted, unsafe."

And what should resonate to all of us here is the line, "Young men and women are on the streets of our cities. There is terrible unemployment. Life has become harsher than ever before. People are referred to as squatters……..", which speaks to our situation today, as we scrounge for a living under the rough terrain and unsafe conditions here komakhelwana.  

The truth of these words is beyond doubt and that is why we should follow Nkomo's lead as we commemorate his life. Not only should we come here to speechify and make friends, but we should also map ways of finishing the job that this great man started.

As Zapu leader here in South Africa, I will be the first to admit that Nkomo and the rest of the party's forerunners did bring independence to Zimbabwe, but their ultimate goal was twisted and butchered by knives of betrayal by those they fought alongside and as such, Independence's other twin, Freedom, has not been realized. Instead of pointing fingers at who did what or who did not do what, the clarion call is for us to come together to make sure that we bring home the missing twin of the struggle.

Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, we have a job in our hands and that job is to unite and organize ourselves as sons and daughters of the soil to walk the last mile of the journey that our parents under the leadership of Nkomo started and nearly achieved. It is so disheartening to note that Nkomo's name has continued to be used and abused by the same people who hunted and hounded him while he was still alive. It is also absurd that the same people have continued to commit political, social and economic atrocities in the great name of Father Zimbabwe.

While welcoming the fact that, albeit through lip service, these political clowns have come to their senses and admitted who this great man really was, we must remain on guard to ensure that we correct some of the misconception they bring to the fore in trying to dovetail the rest of Zimbabwe into aligning themselves with their narcissistic schemes that have nothing to do with Nkomo, even though coming in his name.

Let us not be hoodwinked by the presence of some of Nkomo's family members, who get paraded in those schemes because, as I have said, Nkomo was an international, not domestic icon. That some of his family members have been conformists does not mean that we, the people he led, should toe the line. The views that Nkomo drove were the views drawn and commissioned by the organization he led, which is Zapu.

When we see things being done in Nkomo's name in a bid to soil it, we must speak up against them, for remaining silent will be a betrayal of what Nkomo stood and took up arms for. The revived Zapu has already made the first step towards fulfilling Nkomo's vision by refusing to remain a part of the conformity that a handful of its former members have become. From this gathering and a number of other public forums and engagements, I can feel that a new spirit is rising among us. What remains now is for us to trace its movement and be sensitive to its guidance.

While following Nkomo's legacy of love and peace, I believe that the time has come for us to radically fight for a new order and write a new narrative as we fight for justice and freedom. The time has come for us to be brutal with our inner feelings and throw away the fear that has pervaded us for over three decades, for, if Nkomo was a fearful man, he would not have led Zipra, the powerful liberation war force that sent shivers down the spines of the Smith regime and brought down the Union Jack.

As I leave this platform ladies and gentlemen, may I make this clarion call to you; the time has come for us to throw away the demands of our egos, the camouflage of our professions, the fears in our minds, the various excuses we harbor and the need for personal gain, to unite and fight for that which Dr Joshua Mqabuko ka Nyongolo Nkomo, Zapu and Zipra, set out to achieve – PEACE, PROGRESS, LOVE, RESPECT, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY, as we Build a Better and Beautiful Zimbabwe.


Source - Bongani Halimana Ndlovu, ZAPU RSA Provincial Chairman
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.
More on: #Joshua_Nkomo, #Zapu