Cletus Mushanawani Mutare Bureau
It’s all systems go for this year’s Heroes’ Day commemorations at Mutare Provincial Heroes’ Acre, with the programme expected to start as early as 8am.
This year’s major highlight is the 100-kilometre cycling race being held for the first time in the history of the commemorations.
Like in previous years, thousands of people from all walks of life are expected to throng the provincial shrine for the occasion, where Zimbabweans come together to honour heroes.
Manicaland provincial entertainment committee spokesperson Mr Enock Dzumbira yesterday said they were ready for this year’s commemorations.
“I am happy to announce that everything is in place for the commemorations,” he said. “Our major highlight this year is the 100km cycling race. Besides the cycling race, we will also have a 10km marathon which is open to everyone.
“These two races will start at 9am. Before that we will have a musical competition dubbed Sendekera Choir Competition where qualifying schools will battle it out for the top honours on a selected musical piece.”
Mr Dzumbira said this year’s commemorations would be graced by a delegation from Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party, as well as commanders of the Mozambican Defence Forces.
“By 9am, we expect dignitaries to have assembled at the Mutare Rural Police Station near Sakubva Musika,” he said. “They will then proceed to the provincial shrine where Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Mandi Chimene will lead proceedings, as well as read President Mugabe’s speech.”
“Cde Chimene will hand-over roses to families who have relatives buried at the shrine to lay at the graves. She will also lay wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
“We are expecting people to come in their numbers for the commemorations. From the Heroes’ Acre, lunch will be served at Mutare Teachers’ College and that will mark the end of the day’s proceedings.”
The Department of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe has since spruced up the Manicaland Provincial Heroes’ Acre aheaed of the Heroes Day commemorations.
Mutare Museum’s marketing executive, Mr Lloyd Makonya, said the work done by NMMZ included the rehabilitation of graves, landscaping and grass cutting.
“Although the Department of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe did not receive any notable funding from Treasury for the rehabilitation of provincial heroes’ acres this year, some work has been carried out through the efforts of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association’s Manicaland chapter,” he said.
“The chapter mobilised resources such as cement, river sand and quarry stones from well-wishers for the rehabilitation of graves at the provincial shrine.”
Mr Makonya added: “This year’s graves rehabilitation programme saw NMMZ fitting concrete slabs to 25 graves. The upgrading exercise substantially reduced the number of graves at soil mount level which now stands at only 13 from a total of 273 graves.
“NMMZ, however, continues to bemoan the considerable lagging behind in the placement of polished granite tombstones due to lack of funds and the high cost of materials.”
To date, only 89 graves at the shrine have polished granite tombstones, with a total of 171 graves now at concrete slabbing level.
As the upgrading gap continues to widen, NMMZ is also saddled with unimplemented projects such as the provision of water, ablution facilities, electricity, terracing for public seating and an improved interpretation centre.
Mr Makonya said the Mutare Museum would put up a temporary display of biographies of heroes and heroines interred at the shrine, as well as a special presentation on the findings on exhumations conducted at Matumba Six near Old Mutare Mission in 2014.
Article Source: The Herald