Museum of African Liberation: unringing the colonial bell and safeguarding our revolutionary history

18 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Museum of African Liberation: unringing the colonial  bell and safeguarding our revolutionary history Zanu-PF Secretary General Cde Obert Mpofu (left) and Chairman of Council of Elders Cde Sydney Sekeramayi being shown the late national hero and liberation war commander General Josiah Magama Tongogara’s pistol and military wear during a tour of the Museum of African Liberation in Harare last week.)

The Sunday News

Dr Obert Moses Mpofu

Last week I had the pleasure of touring the Museum of African Liberation in Warren Park, Harare.

It is indeed befitting that the Museum is situated along Samora Machel Avenue, aptly named after Mozambique’s founding father the late Cde Samora Machel and one of Africa’s most prominent liberation icons.

During the tour of the expansive site dubbed Liberation City, I was amazed at the sheer amount of work that has been done on the site, truly remarkable! Upon touring the site, I had quite an epiphany.

It really dawned on me how we for many years had missed the opportunity to capture and tell our true story.

It seems indeed that for many decades or even centuries, there existed a reluctance by us Africans to take ownership of and tell our history.

But that seems to be changing now. The museum presents the perfect opportunity to highlight our history the way we experienced it, first hand.

The Museum of African Liberation is one of the most ambitious projects by the emerging Pan-African think tank – Institute of African Knowledge (INSTAK).

The establishment of the Museum of African Liberation is a priority project that has the support of His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa and the Government of Zimbabwe.

To ensure that the Museum is a success, the Government of Zimbabwe allocated a 100-hectare piece of land to the project which His Excellency President Mnangagwa commissioned for this purpose at a ground breaking ceremony on 4 December 2020.

The story of Africa’s Liberation needs to be told by those who partook in this brave and historical feat.

To that end, it is envisaged that for each country, there will be a section of the Museum devoted to its liberation war history.

The museum will house the stories of other countries’ sacrifices and histories. Inevitably, the museum will thus feature the histories of Zanu-PF, Frelimo (Mozambique), South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo, Namibia), People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) as well as other prominent liberation parties that were instrumental in bringing about independence on the continent.

Some of the historical and inspiring exhibitions that will be featured at the museum include the massacres at Wiriamu, Maseru, Cassinga, the epic battle of Cuito Cunavale and Gorongoza, the great victories of the Mau Mau Uprisings of Kenya, and the unforgettable heroic victory of the Ethiopians over the Italians at Adwa in Ethiopia.

Additionally, a key section of the Museum will also be dedicated to the 14 Founding Fathers of the African Liberation history.

On top of exhibiting Africa’s liberation history, the Museum of African Liberation will enable researchers to appreciate the seamlessness of the African struggle for freedom and the indomitable spirit for liberty even against the most powerful oppressor.

Indeed, the story of African Liberation cannot be fully told without bringing to light the importance of national unity as well as Pan-African solidarity.

Clearly, the whole intention behind the Museum of African Liberation is to immortalise one of the most important aspects of modern African’s history, which is Africa’s liberation endeavours.

The Museum of African Liberation is a unique opportunity for educational and cultural diplomatic cooperation by all these countries which fought to win their freedom be it through military or diplomatic means or even a mixture of both.

A vital portion of their history will be recorded and deposited in the Museum.

The Museum presents a unique opportunity for us Africans as well as everyone else across the world to have a first-hand experience and take a front row seat in learning about the history as well as the struggle endured by our people in their quest to liberate themselves from colonial subjugation.

The museum is so unique that it is probably the first one of its kind as all the countries that are part of it will provide the historical material, the weapons, the battles, losses and victories which were experienced during the struggle.

This is certainly the first of its kind and this collection will undoubtedly be unmatched.

What this project aims to do is to foster a sense of pride and take ownership of the collective memory, history as well as the achievements of the people of Zimbabwe and those of other African countries in the fight against colonialism and subjugation.

The museum will unpack the rich tangible and intangible heritage created by the sacrifices and commitment of freedom fighters, communities, institutions, and individuals to the liberation of Zimbabwe.

The liberation wars waged across Africa are part of that story. Such a rich and crucial history should never be allowed to remain dormant any longer.

The upcoming generations need to have a deep appreciation of how events happened in the past.

This is the cornerstone upon which the foundation of a rich and prosperous Africa will be laid. Without fully grasping one’s history, we can never make it towards total emancipation

If we do not see the value of taking ownership of our own story, then we might as well forget about the whole concept of self-determination. It is time that the ideals of Pan-Africanism are finally brought to life through concrete and tangible works.

This can only be achieved by ensuring that relics such as the Museum of African Liberation are a success.
*Dr Obert Moses Mpofu is an Academic and the Secretary General of Zanu-PF. He writes in his own capacity.

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