Harare’s most iconic attraction is a memorial set to commemorate the lives of the heroes and heroines that gave Zimbabwe its name. Zimbabwe carries a great history which was put together by a massive sacrifice by outstanding individuals. The memorial is a national monument and a terrific tribute to the men and women who gave birth to this beautiful nation.
The National Heroes Acre is located opposite the National Sports Stadium and it overlooks the capital city. There is a fee of $3 for locals and $5 for international travellers. Like all national monuments in Zimbabwe, they cater for school trips and guided tours. At the reception, the walls are filled with a lot of the country’s history which one will find to be fascinating. Not to spoil it for you. It defeats the purpose of you visiting the attraction.
You go up to the national monument and there is an essence of history, honour and respect with each step you take. It’s a fantastic monument! There is so much to explore with history to take in. Each individual buried at the monument has a story, a story of how they contributed to the liberation of Zimbabwe allowing for the country to gain its independence.
Take a walk up the stairs to the beacon that identifies the National Heroes Acre and admire the view of Harare. You will see how the National Heroes Acre overlooks the city, more like “overlooks the country”. It is here you can take a moment and admire the surprising beauty of Zimbabwe.
I took a moment to understand where I was. As a Zimbabwean, I did not see it as a national monument but a place of teaching and of knowledge. It was history, a painful history that was made beautiful by different kinds of stone and sculpting. My time there was limited because I could see the rain in the distance and it was coming in heavy. I sat in the stands, opposite the monument and I thought of the Zimbabwe’s history, and what it took for the country to get to where it is today. A lot of highs and lows like any country but this being my home, I could not help but wonder how things would have been had some of the heroes and heroines buried here were still alive. Their sacrifice, Zimbabweans will eternally be grateful for, and I had to honour their bravery and knowledge.
I thank them.
On the left there was a depiction of life under the colonist rule. This was romanticised and it spoke volumes to what life was like generations ago. A picture has a thousand words. For me, looking at the picture, the words I could fathom were “No one should live like this.” On the other side was the depiction of liberation with the former president leading the charge. It was inspiring! A sense of pride overcame me. It was great to see people standing up for their freedom and fighting for a life they deserved.
The gold monument is glorious to stand in front of. It took me back 40 years to being part of the historic moments being planned for the liberation of a nation. And what I appreciated most about the statue is the inclusion of a woman. I could not help but crack a smile. But the bazooka was an excessive touch. I was taken aback by it. There is a wall behind the statue and at the ends are the names of the heroes and heroines buried at the National Heroes Acre. You find the name; you’ll have a rough idea as to where the hero/heroine was buried. Zimbabwe’s founding fathers and mothers are honoured here and their legend filled the atmosphere. I took a walk with history.
I ventured up the stairs with my childlike curiousity. Along the way there are benches on the side should you need to take periodic breaks. At the top, I looked back to the statue and I was in awe of the attraction’s majestic aura. History has never looked this beautiful. The view of Harare was breath taking. The city is surprisingly beautiful from every angle. I now see what they have been seeing and I love it. The rain was fast approaching and I took it in as fast as I could.
It poured whilst I was there but that didn’t dampen my mood. I sought shelter in the car and waited for the rain to pass. As soon as it stopped I returned back to the monument, this time with an umbrella. I was greeted by monkeys and it seemed like they were crossing from one side to the other. As curious as I was, they explored the statue and some of them climbed to the top of the statue. I tried to join them but they were not so inviting. I loved being at the monument. Walking with history has made me appreciate Zimbabwe even more and I would like to share the history with you and the rest of the world.
The National Heroes Acre is a historic attraction with iconic individuals that gave Zimbabwe its name. Each legend carries a story worth hearing. Each story forming a part of the larger narrative. And the narrative resulted in the liberation of a surprisingly beautiful nation. When you visit Harare, make sure to take a walk with history.
Our eyes are on you, our brothers and sisters, the fallen heroes of Zimbabwe. We bleed for you yet we must not grieve, for in you is our rebirth and you are all that we shall ever be.
*Taken from the plaque at the National Heroes Acre