Thousands of people from all walks of life yesterday thronged White City Stadium in Bulawayo to celebrate the Zimbabwe Defence Forces' Day. The official programme started just after 11am with the arrival of senior army and Government officials.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Angeline Masuku inspected the guard of honour which was mounted by 1 Infantry Brigade and composed of four detachments, before she read the President's speech.
She said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces played a key role in Zimbabwe as they provided security and defended the country's territorial integrity.
"It is important to celebrate this day because our defence forces play a very crucial role in Zimbabwe," she said.
"They defend us and ensure that we are safe as well as engaging in various community projects such as the construction of bridges, among others."
Service chiefs, Zanu-PF Politburo members, Central Committee members and the provincial leadership, heads of Government departments, war veterans, war collaborators, ex-detainees and restrictees were among those who attended the celebrations.
Captains of industry, the business community, representatives from different churches and the general populace graced the occasion.
Members of the Zimbabwe National Army lit up the day with military drills and scintillating performances, which captivated the crowd and left the people clamouring for more.
Other entertainment groups from the province such as the Chimurenga Choir entertained the crowd.
In Matabeleland North, the celebrations were held at Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane where people drawn from across the province started arriving at around 8am.
Proceedings started with the singing of the National Anthem before Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Matabeleland North Cde Cain Mathema inspected a guard of honour mounted by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The parade then made quick and slow marches past the arena, amid entertaining music by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services band.
A moment of silence in honour of former provincial governor Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, who died on Monday morning, was observed.
Cde Mathema sent a message of condolence to the Mathuthu family, saying the province had lost a dedicated cadre who had high hopes for the province.
Cde Mathema then read the President's speech to thousands of people who braved the sunny day to celebrate together with the whole nation.
Entertainment was provided by the ZPCS band and Moving Stars of Shabulanyana, before a soccer match between Lupane City Stars and a ZDF select side.
There was also a netball match between Lupane Team and a ZDF select to cap the day.
Present were Chief Mabhikwa, Zanu-PF provincial leaders and members, heads of government departments as well as service chiefs.
In Matabeleland South province, the Defence Forces Day commemorations started with a march from the Gwanda central business district to Phelandaba Stadium by Zimbabwe National Army officers accompanied by their band.
Scores of people gathered at the stadium for the commemorations.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Abednico Ncube, inspected the parade before reading the President's speech.
The crowds were entertained by the ZNA band and marches from army officers. The officers also displayed various army fighting techniques such as cross battle fighting.
Gwanda Prison inmates' imbube group and local artists also kept the crowds entertained with various performances.