National Heroes Acre
- The National Heroes Acre was established in 1980 with the purpose of honouring Zimbabweans who died within and outside the country whilst fighting for the country independence from the minority rule of Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front.
- The place symbolises the country's liberation history and the history of nationalism dating back to the 1960’s.
From Harare centre, take Samora Machel Avenue west toward Bulawayo. Samora Machel Avenue changes into the A5 Harare – Bulawayo Road. Pass the National Sports Stadium on your right, 900 metres later turn left into National Heroes Acre.
Note: Take identification and travel in a group.
GPS Reference: 17⁰48′06.51″S 31⁰02′16.81″E
The grandiose obelisk of National heroes Acre or simply Heroes' Acre, overlooking the town, was built after Independence and designed with the assistance of North Korea; it serves as a sombre memorial to the forces that died during the Second Chimurenga. There is a giant statue of the Unknown Soldier (actually three soldiers), flanked by bronze friezes depicting stirring war victories. The 57-acre (230,000 m2) site is situated on a ridge seven kilometres west from Harare. Its stated purpose is to commemorate Patriotic Front guerrillas killed during the Rhodesian Bush War, and contemporary Zimbabweans whose dedication or commitment to their country justify their interment at the shrine. The actual monument itself is modelled after an AK-47.
Work was initiated on the National Heroes' Acre in September 1981, a year after Zimbabwean independence. Ten Zimbabwean and seven North Korean architects and artists were recruited to map the site's layout. 250 local workers were involved in the project at the height of its construction. Black granite used for the main structures was quarried from Mutoko, about 140 kilometres northeast of the capital, then known as Salisbury.
“Those heroes subordinated their personal interests to the collective interest of Zimbabwe. They accepted and endured pain, suffering, and brutality with fortitude even unto death.” National Hero Status is the highest honour that can be conferred to an individual by Zimbabwe and the recipient is entitled to be buried at the National Heroes' Acre. Wikipedia lists 67 persons honoured as national heroes at October 2015.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recognises unidentified insurgents who lost their lives during the bush war. Included is a bronze statue of three guerrillas - one female, two male - a flagpole, and an ornate artifice.
The Eternal Flame
The Eternal Flame rests atop a tower measuring some forty metres. It was lit at independence celebrations in 1982 and embodies the spirit of Zimbabwean independence. The tower is the highest point at Heroes' Acre; it can readily viewed from Harare.
Two walls on either side of the monument carry murals depicting the history of Zimbabwe, from pre-colonial times through the Chimurenga, the Rhodesian Bush War, and independence under national hero Robert Mugabe.
Near the entrance of Heroes' Acre is a museum dedicated to the rise of African nationalism in Zimbabwe and the anti-colonial struggle, showcasing artefacts, photographs, documents and other paraphernalia from the war and the period shortly after independence.