Running Exhibition

Freedom through the eyes of General Tongogara

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Tongo8Freedom through the eyes of General Tongogara Zimbabweans and the JMT LEGACY FOUNDATION through this exhibition will remember and commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the passing of General Josiah Magama Tongogara, the commander of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA). The late Cde Josiah Magama

Tongogara was instrumental in building the army that successfully prosecuted the armed struggle in the 1970s together with his Patriotic Front comrades in ZIPRA, and brought independence to Zimbabwe in 1980. The exhibition is part of our tribute to “Cde Tongo”, as we remember him on February 4th, 2020 (his birthday). This exhibition also comes at a time when Zimbabwe is celebrating forty years of Independence from colonial rule.
Freedom through the eyes of General Tongogara exhibition will provide a glimpse into the life of the youth activist, freedom fighter and family man through rare photographs, sculptures, archival video, audio recordings and memorabilia. It is our hope that this exhibition will provide insight into FREEDOM through General Tongogara’s eyes; the sacrifices he made in his fight to liberate Zimbabwe and the man behind the name. Young Zimbabweans - the “born-frees”, gallery audience, history teachers and lectures are called upon to come witness and relive this journey into history. This is an opportunity to celebrate our own history because for years we have been celebrating other people’s histories. Without being apologetic, we cannot continue to remain passengers in our own train, it is time we tell our own stories. The liberation struggle was not only about political and economic liberation but also about cultural liberation that allows us to write and tell our own stories.
The long and toxic colonial history will forever remain in Africa’s minds and arguably one cannot talk about the future without looking into the past. General Tongo’s early years, to his letters between him and his wife Kumbirai, to his struggle to liberate Zimbabwe as a freedom fighter, all this is chronicled in this exhibition. It is humbling for Mrs Tongogara to bring these letters between her late husband and herself for the visitors to read the conversations between them. When one goes through the letters, the strength and resilience of Kumbirai whose role is to keep the family intact and also showing love to her husband is evident. While in the bush he was able to continue his contact with his beloved wife and also keep writing notes from all his meetings. The only notebook that the foundation has is also available in this exhibition and it allows viewers to understand him as a General par excellence. The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is a platform for exhibitions and a knowledge hub and as a Foundation we are pleased to be able to collaborate on this project. This exhibition allows the gallery to celebrate a liberation hero whose immense contribution and values cannot be forgotten no matter what. We cannot talk of liberation without General Tongogara and his comrades whose contribution will be with us forever. This allows us to memorialize and pay homage to one of our own, and it is time to honour and write our own history through this exhibition.


The exhibition will run from February to April leading up to the 40th Anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence on April 18, 2020.

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