PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said Africa was robbed of its developmental momentum through co-ordinated efforts by imperialists to destroy its rich socio-political and economic heritage and culture.
BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
Mnangagwa said this while addressing delegates during the ground breaking ceremony of the Museum of African Liberation in Harare.
He said the peace, tranquillity and path to development enjoyed by the continent was interrupted through the narrative of discovery, slavery, occupation and colonialism.
“More than 500 years ago, Africa was robbed of development momentum through coordinated efforts to destroy its rich socio-political and economic heritage and culture,” Mnangagwa said.
“Systematic falsehoods were developed to erase our memories and project us as a home of darkness; all these setbacks and disappointments never suppressed the need for freedom and total emancipation.”
He added: “We rose and resolved to fight until we realised our freedom and restored our human dignity which had been quenched out of us, by successive years of colonial oppression, even so freedom and independence remain incomplete until we have total control of our rich God given natural resources.
“To this day, our quest for the unhindered right to access and utilise our natural resources continue being hampered, in the case of Zimbabwe, sanctions, constrain the realisation of our full socio-economic potential.”
He said former imperial powers continue to fan divisions in other countries on the continent so that they can have an opportunity to pilfer and loot resources during the chaos.
“Learning from our history and past, the time has come for us to deliberately and more consciously defend interested as people of Africa,” Mnangagwa said.
“Through this continental project, let us put to rest the one side Euro-centric narratives which have been perpetuated in the public space for too long.”
He said Zimbabwe was honoured by the African Union to host this museum and play a coordinating role in the structure of a unique repository of our African liberation heritage.
“Zimbabwe dedicated this piece of land to the preservation of the rich liberation war heritage of our great African continent,” he said.
Addressing journalists on Monday, secretary for war veterans in the Zanu PF politburo, Douglas Mahiya said the former freedom fighters have committed to partner the Institute of African Knowledge (INSTAK) in the legacy project through providing accurate and authentic information about the country’s armed struggle.
“As veterans of the Zimbabwean armed struggle, we remain consistent and persistent in our quest to help Zimbabweans and Africans at large understand the true and authentic story of the liberation countries, which include Zimbabwe,” Mahiya said.
Mahiya said they noted with grave concern the knowledge gap between what other external voices have presented to our people as the true record of our armed struggle.
“It has taken us forty years to finally wake up and take practical steps in documenting our liberation war story through the establishment of museum of African liberation,” he said.
Mahiya said he had started outreach initiatives to gather oral evidence and collecting war artefacts from war heroes in a keen attempt to provide authentic content and material in the forthcoming Museum of African Liberation.