Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
WHILE Government suspended all Heroes Day commemoration gatherings due to Covid-19, some families of the fallen heroes and heroines yesterday visited the Bulawayo Provincial Acre in remembrance of their dearly departed.

Widows, widowers, children and grandchildren visited the graves of their relatives as the country commemorated Heroes Day.

There was no official gathering as President Mnangagwa delivered a televised Heroes Day message where he urged for national unity as the Government seeks to overcome challenges.

Families of the fallen heroes spruced up graves and laid flowers in memory of their lost relatives while others conducted graveside rituals.

There were no gatherings as families immediately left the shrine after conducting their business.

They said despite the Government suspending official events, they could not just let the day pass without paying respects to the fallen heroes.

Some of them said Heroes Day comes with a sense of pride considering that their fathers, mothers, husbands and wives were part of the group which participated in the protracted struggle that brought the country’s independence.

Heroes Day is commemorated annually in August in remembrance of daughters and sons of the soil who brought the country’s independence.

Mrs Sipho Sibanda whose husband is buried at the shrine said daily challenges make her and family miss him more.

“Without him life has become more challenging for me and the children. I’m not employed and he used to provide for the children and the family as a whole. So, I came here in remembrance of his memory. Even the pension that he used to get that supported us a lot has been reduced following his death. We wish the Government could increase the pension allowances given to widows of the freedom fighters. But this is an important day to remember freedom fighters and contributions to the country,” she said.

Miss Nomusa Nkomo from Old Pumula said she always visited the Heroes Acre since the death of her mother in 2016 to lay flowers on her mother’s grave.

“This is an emotional day for me particularly remembering that my mother also participated in the liberation struggle. Annually I bring flowers so I’m grateful that we were allowed access to the shrine despite Covid-19 restrictions. As young people we have a duty to improve the country’s economy, the same way our parents contributed to politically emancipating Zimbabwe,” said Miss Nkomo.

Mr Khanye Moyo from Mzilikazi suburb, who had come with his relatives to his father’s grave, said it was important to honour the country’s liberators, for the sacrifices they made.

“Heroes and heroines are buried in this place. I’m a son to one of the heroes who is buried here. Today, is a day where we recognise the contributions they made to this country. My father Rose Moyo, joined the liberation struggle in 1963 is among the people who brought this country’s independence. He would tell us so many stories about his participation in the liberation struggle having trained in Tanzania and Zambia.

He also taught us that we need to be principled and stand for what we believe,” Mr Khanye.

Mr Justin Msipa from Emganwini, spruced his father’s grave with his minor child said the thought that his father was a liberator makes Heroes Day very significant for him. “Although they made sacrifices in liberating the country, it seems some people do not seem to appreciate this. We have to honour what the freedom fighters did for the country,” said Mr Msipa. – @nqotshili.