The battle of Kavalamanja and Kakaro in Luangwa District, which took place on Zambian territory during Zimbabwe’s war for independence, resulted in undocumented deaths, internal displacement, and a humanitarian crisis that continues to plague residents of these remote settlements today.
In remembrance of the brave men and women who gave their lives in defence of freedom, Abdon Yezi, the chief executive officer of Yezi Arts Promotions, started the celebrations on March 6, 2008, which have since been held yearly.
To still honour the fallen heroes, Zambia Army engineers constructed a 1X2 classroom block at Kavalamanja Memorial School in 2021, which was handed over to the ministry of Education on May 20 last year.
It is for this reason that a commeoration in remeberance of the heroes was held last Saturday.
According to the Zambia Army, during the celebrations at the memorial site in Luangwa district, the classroom block was handed over to the people of Kavalamanja by Minister of Defence Ambrose Lufuma and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Oppa Muchinguri.
The ceremony was also attended by Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata, and Zimbabwe Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Evelyn Ndlovu, among others.
Mr Lufuma urged Kavalamanja residents to appreciate history because it defines who they are and how they relate to the future.
“As Zambians, we should be proud because we helped humanity,” he said.
The minister also thanked the Zimbabwean government for funding construction of the classroom block.
And Ms Muchinguri expressed sorrow over the brutality of the white settler regime that massacred the valiant sons and daughters of the land in 1978.
Ms Muchinguri said Zimbabwe has noted that Zambia has been a regional peace ambassador, providing safe havens for young men and women fighting the colonial settler regime for liberation.
She noted that Zambia was also providing training and transit bases to see Zimbabwe and the southern African countries liberated.
“Despite the difficulties, Zambia was determined to fight for its liberation until the Rhodesians were forced to hand over power to the black majority in 1980,” Ms Muchinguri said.
And Ms Mulyata said that government supports the Kavalamanja-Kakaro memorial, and it was her desire to have the event recognised as an international event so that the two countries’ relationship could be maintained for future generations.
At the end of the ceremony, Ms Ndlovu, Zimbabwe’s education minister, called for unity and peace between the two countries.
The two-day ceremony was characterised by candlelight, cultural dancing troops, and the presentation of desks donated by the Abantu Manufacturing Company through the Zambia Army Ladies Association.
The commemoration was the 16th edition since its introduction and 45 years after the incident.
Mr Yezi said 2023 event was well attended with high level delegations from both the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments by defence ministers. He said it also uniquely had defence deputy chiefs in attendance, and a further call for the event to be gazetted on the national calendar.
“We are back from Kavalamanja with additional memories. All went well, and the commemorations continue to grow. A unique aspect is our book, Zambia Bleeds was favourably received..Zambia’s Ministry of Defence found good reason to give it out as a gift to the visiting Zimbabwean delegation,” Mr Yezi said.
He said there is something of interest that you need to read from the book.
“Zambia Bleeds is authentic,” Mr Yezi said