Chimurenga is the Shona word for liberation struggle. There are three distinct periods of anti-colonial struggle to which the word and the concept refers.
The first Chinmurenga dates from the initial anti-colonial struggle of 1896-97 against Cecil Rhodes’ British South African Company.
The second Chimurenga refers to the successful anti-apartheid, anti-colonial struggle fought by Zanu and Zapu from 1960-80, ending in the Lancaster House negotiations and agreements and the overwhelming electoral victory of Zanu, led by Robert Mugabe.
The third Chimurenga refers to the final settlement of the land question – the revolutionary steps taken to redistribute land seized by the settler colonialists and redistribute it to the masses, which has led to the anger, vitriolic anti-Zimbabwe, anti-Zanu and anti-Mugabe propaganda that floods Britain’s media, and the cresecendo of diplomatic, military and economic actions of imperialism against Zimbabwe and its chosen political leadership.
It is precisely the popular nature of both the second and third Chimurenga struggles, led by Zanu and its leader President Robert Mugabe, that have maintained the national-liberation government in power and enabled it to withstand every imperialist intrigue and assault levelled against it (including the apartheid colonial forces rebranding themselves as the ‘MDC’ and finding themselves a new ‘black Smith’ frontman in the person of Morgan Tsvangirai).
Both Britain and the USA have pumped millions of dollars into this opposition movement and enforced harsh punitive economic sanctions (a real modern-day weapon of mass destruction) against the Zimbabwean government and people.
So far, the Zimbabweans have passed every test, and proudly maintaining their hard-won independence and freedom – for which fully 30,000 Zimbabweans laid down their lives during the second Chimurenga – and we salute their steadfastness.
Let us not forget that Britain pledged to compensate the so-called ‘white farmers’ (colonial settlers) and redistribute the land they had taken by force. Having failed to do so, the people of Zimbabwe were well within their rights to reclaim it – by any means necessary!
It is important to realise that this is only a ‘racial’ struggle in that it is undoing the former economic superiority created and enforced by the pro-white, racist, apartheid-settler regime. This is a democratic struggle as it is redistributing wealth from a minority to the majority of formerly landless and land-hungry peasants.
That is a programme that resonates throughout southern Africa, and in particular in South Africa today. Here, also, lie imperialist fears. They guard nothing so jealously as their ill-gotten gains.
Read a detailed review of Chimurenga! The Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe by Harpal Brar here.
The late Godfrey Cremer, founder member and central committee member of the CPGB-ML, was an active participant in the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign and the Zimbabwe Solidarity Front.
The poem he recites here, at a meeting held in Southall in January 2012, was written during the Second Chimurenga, at a time when Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle still raged. Our support for the Zimbabwean people was not born yesterday.
Our party has held a consistently anti-imperialist line and defended Zimbabwe from all imperialist attack at every juncture. Godfrey was a true friend of the Zimbabwean people, and is sorely missed by his comrades, who take the struggle forward.
Chimurenga! The Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe by Harpal Brar is available from the Communists’ bookshop.