Preliminary verification on information on the family tree.

I have now reached the stage that i need to verrify facts on the Magusha, Mhlanga Dube, Mandidza famiy tree.

The first paragraph contains vague stories as to as how far back i have been able to go. Zinyamhopo was one of Ngungunyana aka Mudungazwe Nxumalo born in 1850 and died on 23 december 1906 in Angra do Hereismo Portugal where he was exiled when he was defeated by the portuguse in1895 at his mmandhla kazi in Bilene.

CAs Zinyamhopo was achief of the Ndaus, the svikoro called back home from Bilene. His son and daughter, who had remained home when the rest of the clan went with Ngungunyani, had and incestual relationshipship in which a son was born. This was taboo (makunakuna) and a the child was named Mapungwana which means born the wrong way. Zinyamhopo died on his way back died on his. With his group of Ndaus, he migrated back to his home land in the Mt selinda area. His journey is filled with facts and myths which I find it difficult to comprehend of believe. That is the story for another day. Whoever was now chief (Mambo) arrived back in a new country that was now under the British as per 1884 Berlin Conference. He was too proud to go to the native Commissioner in Chipinge to get his badge of chiefship so he sent muzaya Mapungwana to get it for him. Whatever transpired in Chipinge is not yet privy to me. He took the chieftainship for himself andto day he is chief. With his power, he changed our totem from Mhlanga to Mandidza.

Zinyamupopo could have been father to Mapunguyaya who is said to be father to Bvunzani whose popular name became Magusha because of his love for okra the one that grows in the fields during the rainy seasom which is differentiated from manyandanda. the seeded okra.

bvunzani Mhlanga/Dube had ten wives who were

1.Mudyezvenjira who bore him two sons namely Mupfichana and Size aka Siyambeyaphi and two daughters Monase and Manyaya.

Monase was married to Magathsana . Their children were Gabazani, Munasirei, Refias and Sabao. I remember Refias visiting and staying with us in Vito street. My father Tuta Willie explained the relationship as his muzaya. In the 1950s Iwas never bothered by this. Does anybody have information on the Magatshana family?

Manyaya was married to Dubuya who coincidentally was a Mhlanga too. With Dubuya she bore one girl, zironzo and two sons Elton and Mathias. The third son Lucious was born after Dubuya had passed and Masheedze was the father. The issue at that time was that a wife was marrie dto the clan rather than the husband. It was incumbent on the family to look after widows. Any children born were suppsed to take the clan surname. As Lucious Dubuya grew and in his search for his identity he had to shake off the Dubuya clan name to that of his father Masheedze.

As to a Mhlanga marrying a Mhlanga was explained to me by Elton, muzaya mukuru that men would exchange sisters in marriage ruling out the need (kutheya pondo) paying bride price. Some marriages were a result of proposing (kupfimba or kunyenga) but most were of convenience. A family had to get rid of their girl children or in response to hunger where girls given away for food.

To the current generation this is an affront to human rights but that is what it was a the time. This is in the 1940s. If any man was to take employment Joni was the place to be. Those who came from Joni were marketable to father in lawsa at to the women themselves.

2.Mufote. More information is required.

3Mai vatete Chikondo who I believe is Isaac Bayen’is mother.

4.Mai vatete Mudhaniso

5.Mai vababa Chukera and Manyangadze.

6Muqxondiye i beleive is mother to Kandhlera.

7.Qxapeya mother to baba Simon.

8. Pendei Hlekisana who bore Bridget Muchaona whos only son was Francis Dhlakama.

The other two are pending.

What should be noted is that the infant mortality was very high and as a society death was taken as a common fact of life. This peice is unrevised. Will be edited after further verification.

To my children: My life story.

As I pause in thought, I say gosh I am 70, I cannot help but stop to count my blessings. What God did in my seven decades is overwhelming. My Father has been good to me. I shout to world that this mere tiny infant who hails from Harare, now known as Mbare, that despite referring to me as a born born, I am around to give a testimony of this beloved home. I hail Him for the Salvation that He offered me free of charge and time that He has afforded to me.

On this earth, I was blessed with a wife and all my children, My earthly father prepared me for the wilderness of the world, just as Jehovah prepared His Son with baptism in the Jordan before He was tempted in the wilderness. In all this my Father in Heaven would take over when my mother and father could not cope.

My father and mother never told me that they loved us. It is what they did which showed love. I do not what words they could have used to express those feelings in Ndau. Their special smiles were the key. 

This is my story of my  first decade, 1949 to 1959, was growing up in Harare township.

Growing up anywhere is challenging and in Harare township was something else. Life in Harare township in the late 40s and early 50s was emotionally and psychologically challenging for us and more for our parents who had walked into a totally different environment from that of their formative years. As children we had the advantage of our instinctive ability to adapt and evolve than our parents who were set in their ways. I contend that some adults found it difficult  to adapt, giving rise to desire to find comfort in their respective ethnic groupings

Our society then and even up to now was a cauldron of ethnic groups that found their way to Salisbury for work. The issue of the generation gap  just like any  society, was evident. The elders are always complaining  that the young never listen to them.  I reminded my father later on in life that had he listened to his own father  he would have been locked up in the Gazaland.  Dreams are sometimes  lost by being the good guy. In his family, he was a trail blazer abandoning the possibility of being a tea picker and a polygamist.

Perhaps I need to put this issue in context as to the probable cause of other peoples’ askance in labelling us maborn born were.There three groups of African urban workers at this  time.

The first group and the earliest in terms of numbers and the largest in our township was of immigrants from Northern Rhodesia(Zambia), Nyasaland (Malawi) and Portuguese East Africa ( Mozambique) coming to work in the mines, white-mans’ farms and in the towns. When local migration picked up in the mid 40s, they had established themselves in Harare. I never knew of any indigenous person working for as council police, messengers and office orderlies in the civil, At George Stark school, sekuru Kamwendo was the messenger always sporting his well starched khaki short and shirt, thick khaki-sh socks complemented by brown well polished shoes.

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The second group was the rural-urban migrants from the so called Tribal Trust lands around Salisbury such as Chinhamora, Chiweshe, Seke, Musana, Mhondoro, Murehwa to name a few had  special characteristics. They sought employment during the post rainy season as the theory went. Their wives remained behind and so did their children. Their nearness to Salisbury gave them opportunity to travel  back home during weekends or when they got paid at the end of the month. Some lived in hostels  for males such as Matapi, Nenyere and Mbare and others lived with relatives in the Old Bricks and Jo-burg areas but were vulnerable to surprise night inspections to catch out illegal residents. Everyone had to be registered with the council. We neither experienced this phenomenon in our area  nor was aware of the consequences for these breaches.Those who brought in their wedded wives lived in the Old Bricks, Jo’burg lines and new married quarters that the City council were building at that time.

The third group was made up of local immigrants from areas far away form Salisbury. After jaunts in the gold mines of South Africa in the 40s returning workers choose to try their luck in Salisbury. The Chipinge Mutare contingent arrived to make their mark so did others from Fort Victoria and its environs. This group could not afford to visit their wives and children due to transport problems. The country had not been designed in such a way as to encourage weekend visits. The most viable option was to bring their wives along. My father fell into this group.

It was through predestination, the will of God that I was to grow up in this township. My parents made a conscious decision to leave  his parents  in the Chipinge district to sample life in this cosmopolitan environment. After a white wedding on 26 April 1946, he qualified for a house in National. 

As children we made  our choices according to the providential will. God had plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans that gave us hope and a future. how we negotiated our providence was individual. 

Parents played a major role in our choices. the common thread among all parents was for us to get an education.Where education would take us, they did not know but they knew it was a good thing.Coming from the rural areas or other countries, groups endeavoured to to preserve their ethnic identity and culture. we as children we did not have the history to compare with as our visits to the rural areas were as brief as they were infrequent. we did our own thing.

Parental permissiveness was critical. Certain behaviours were prohibited by laws of the country such as stealing. Teachings in the churches and mosques, reinforced issues of morality. Whether our parents agreed or nor not, we learnt that it was wrong to steal, lie or fight. The Highfield Probation centre was a stark reminder to us as youth. This is where young offenders were detained. What actually happened there was unknown to us but the threat of losing our freedom through musikanzwa (naughtiness in a serious sense) was a deterrent.

Each of the groups, were in a completely different environment. The refuge was in searching and engaging those from your area. In a bid to provide insurance for transport and burial costs, burial societies sprung up and the were based on where one came from. Such monthly meetings allowed residents to gather information from home and provided solidarity. In these noble groupings tribalism flourished unnoticed by all.

 Those from outside Southern Rhodesia were referred to as Mabrandaya (those from Blantyre Nyasaland) , mabwidi or matevera njanji (implying that they followed the railway line line) which of course was not entirely correct. MaChikunda and MaSena were terms to insult. As maborn born fell into this group.Whatever they called us, we really did not care. What could we do about our situation. Our diet was playing football, visiting Mai Musodzi  hall on Saturday morning penny admission bio-scope, Sometimes the Lever Brothers presented daylight cinema  where they would advertise their wares such as Pepsodent toothpaste, Surf and sunlight. The Stoddart hall pl. was our centre for play in the 60’s led by the affable Mr Roberts, the few whites who came into contact apart from the principal’s  our primary schools and Sister Barbra at the Anglican Church in Runyararo.

Our mealie-meal came in jute bags or decanted into smaller khaki packets, milk from the dairy. In fact our food was easily available form mabaker epaStoddart, Marova, musika and whether milk came from cows or not, whether we could identify indigenous trees were neither here or there. Our trees were peach, mango, mulberry and lemons.

Salisbury town council ran a the social welfare program from which any school child benefited from the penny meal at what we called stew which was situated next to mabaker  next to the old Marengenya beer-hall muna Daniel street.

Surely it would be amiss not to salute the opening up of the library on the top floor of Stoddart hall. I had glorious moments where I moved away from my surroundings and disappear into the new worlds that authors provided. In 1956 I bought my first book, Kambairai a  sub-standard one reader. I delved into Enid Blyton books about The Five, The Secret Seven then Franklin W Dixon and the Hardy boys. I was then able to use class libraries at school because of the reading  habits I had developed. I went through all the Sir Rider Haggard books available such as She, Montezuma’s daughter,Allan Quarterman and King Solomon’s mines and so on.

Fighting, chabuta or kingtera, drinking alcohol, masese of course depended on the level of tolerance or permissiveness of parents. For me all these were a no no, though deep inside he never commented when I was involved in a fight to protect my siblings. I protected them when I fancied the possibility of a win or else I would just collect my siblings muttering under my breath tat perhaps its wiser to go home as usually I was not supposed to be in such situations. I avoided end of term fights either behind the bushes behind George Stark school or grand fights in number 7 ground where the young congregated for fights.

 My father’s influence was absolute in an unobtrusive way. his discipline never wavered. However I challenged later in life as to why the other kids from the fourth one had an easier time with him to which he said that with age we mellow, a trait which as parents continue to experience and when we become sekuru and gogo, we do not continuance them touching our precious grand children. Consistent discipline is an attitude that I inherited from my first decade of life. My students all over the world can bear witness. I know most of them came out good except incorrigibles like ha ha ha, I will not mention names lest I get sued. 

The establishment of churches in our township did have a lasting impact on my character. For me, the pioneering work by Reverend Elijah T. Mwadira for the formerly American Congregational Church Mission, led to the establishment of a church in Harare. The mission was based at Mount Selinda (Chirinda) and Chikore in the Ndau speaking area. My father was a member of the Methodist church were the language was akin to Ndau. With the establishment of the one that was responsible for his conversion, he had to be back home among his kith and kin. It is through the church that I got connected to my relatives. The ethnic card was at play. Those from Malawi had already established the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian in 1912.( Picture) It was in this church building that I started my Sub Standard A in 1956.

Harare township gave me opportunity in Christian teaching, tolerance and a mission to help the youth in navigating the treacherous challenges of urban life. When I qualified as a teacher, I choose to work in urban areas.  I consciously decided to forgo the rent free and perks of mission schools. I then dedicated my teaching life in Gweru for a good 36 years.

  Ascot Secondary school received me in 1974 as a geography and history teacher. I never looked back. 

Thank you Harare suburb despite the trashing that you received. It started off as a location as the colonialist named it, upgrading it to a township. With independence, we still call it such. We need to liberate our minds, we are a suburb now not believe you mean not a ghetto. I have seen ghettos and Mbare is no where near that.

Mbashto

For anyone familiar with football in Zimbabwe, will be amused, fascinated and even skeptical of the motives of full grown men who will fight opponents trying to bewitch their team. Football fans have witnessed strange things in our football. Whilst this clip is about Rwanda football, such scenarios I have witnessed in my passionate support of my beloved Gweru United ‘Pisa Pisa’ for 15 years.

The football spectators have varied views of the effects of mbasto, juju, muti or mushonga in football.

Much debate has arisen over the so called backward beliefs in the occult. It is important to divide football people in the following categories, the players, coaching staff, the executive,the elders the so called ‘vene veclub’, general supporters and the skeptics.

Players all over the world have their own superstitions and charms. Some make a Roman Catholic cross, some kiss the ground, some clasp hands and pray. My experiences at Gweru United, players behaved differently. Some had no time for juju and would refuse to use any if it was to be administered on their bodies. Some would have their private mishonga to enhance their luck and even had nyora while others bore charms (Zvitumwa). Some would make sure that there were last to leave the dressing room. The universal mushonga was abstinence from sex the night before. Players were kept together after Saturday practice.

These private charms sometimes caused discord after losses. Some felt the team charms could be overpowered. I cannot help but state comments made about a national striker, the silent assassin who after scoring a goal no-one else would.

Most of the coaching I worked with were more interested with fitness, skills and tactics. Though themselves were products of superstition football, they felt it was not their business to express opinions about juju, They were always amenable to ‘vadhara’ just out of respect of the the footballing institution.

As usual, supporters are weather cocks, whenever the team was doing well, the effects of juju was never their concern. When the team fell into a losing stream especially against teams they felt were fodder, the vocal supporters cried foul.

The club executives were placed in an invidious position. Whether they believed in the efficacy of juju, they had to take a position as they held the purse strings. The supporters never contributed to the juju budget. In 1984, there was an uproar when payments for mbatso was almost the same as players allowances.

Whether juju worked or not, is a subject of another post as I present my V11s. The statute of limitation is 30 years. I will be in a position to release some details for up to 1987.

What are your views?

Why computers?

The sizeable population at the Broadside quarry compound along the Chiwundura road wanted secondary school places in Gweru rather than the Chiwundura rural environments. After 1980, Thornhill High a group A school, became their zoned secondary school as it was the most accessible.

The same was true for the Thornhill Airbase primary school students who boarded the early morning buses that picked air-force personnel in the various suburbs of Gweru. Both sets of students arrived at school just after 6:00 a.m or earlier.

Broadside lorries which ferried quarry to ZimAlloys complex were their mode of transport to school. They arrived very early in the morning.

In the 1990s when schools were in good nick, our caretaker Mr Deka and his team used to open classes at 7:30 am. The early birds had no option but mill around the corridors. Some would be completing or copying homework assignments from their friends.

As deputy-head, I surmised that the environment was quite unfriendly or the students. I thought of how the school could do to alleviate this discomfort. Before, in the hall were four-seater benches which were formerly used during assembly before school population exploded just before independence during the Muzorewa era. These were placed at the sports pavilion where they were protected from the elements. Students being who they are, vandalised the same. the situation became worse for the early arrivals.

As the pupil friendly environment became a constant buzz in my mind, I thought of constructing brick and concrete benches and tables which could resist vandalism to a certain extent. However as deputy-head, I had to convince my head, I had several at Thornhill, in order to get the okay to implement the idea. Luckily, permission was granted to pilot a few.

These were constructed behind room A 11, at the Chemistry lab and next to the Deputy head’s office.

At the same time, employment opportunities were declining as the economy was receding. Before 1985, schools would lose A level students who joined the apprenticeships in the manufacturing and processing industries. Normally schools would enrol about 60 elite students but by the end of the year at least 20 would leave for money pastures.

The demand for ‘A’ level places rose as the job market was declining. ‘O’ level students now had nowhere to go. Parents wanted their children a safe environment to grow. School was the cheapest option. Traditionally, high school offered Arts and Science subjects only. More innovative ‘O’ level school in urban areas introduced Principles of Accounts.

It was with this general background that I asked my heads over a period to introduce Accounting, Management of Business and Economics at Sixth form. There were issues with the Cambridge exams which did not offer such subjects, let alone the necessary teaching personnel. How this issue panned out successfully I cannot remember. ,A commerce department was opened taking in an extra 35 students.

An unfettered chance was presented to me when I was seconded to Chaplin in July 1999. Chaplin was an unexploited chaotic giant. There was plenty of unused rooms which had been left to deteriorate. The general culture among students was live and let live. It was a challenge, The challenge which the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture had identified me as appropriate to unravel the conundrum at the school.

Definitely, I needed a raft of principles to guide my approach. The philosophy of the school had to be reinvented. These are issues of another day.

My first motivational slogan was, ‘Change lest you perish’. I used that as a springboard for the ‘Dream the impossible and make it happen.’ ‘If it is to be it is up to me’, ‘I will either find a way or make one’.

After working at night in the Non-Formal Adult Part-Time Education Continuing program from about 1982 at Ascot secondary school, Mambo secondary Thornhill and Chaplin, I noticed that these adults whose education had been disrupted during the war of liberation were able to succeed despite being part-time. At Ascot, I worked with ex-combatants based at Guinea Fowl and The Zimbabwe Military Academy. At Mambo we served the local residents and other suburbs. At Thornhill and Chaplin, I was in charge of the night schools established there.

My own Chaplin students who did not really believe in themselves could match. I made a pledge every year that anyone who managed 5 O levels was guaranteed a Lower Sixth place. My fellow heads scoffed at my ideas. That did not dissuade me. I believed in giving students opportunities and second chances. I am proud to show off how successful this programme was.

I needed classrooms for the project. The SDA under the chairmanship of Mr R Zanga, the former Mayor of Gweru helped me to renovate rooms and build brick and concrete structure which were used by Sixth Form students. during free periods and the rest of the students during break and lunch. There weren’t extra rooms for free students.

That was the time the school levied for computers Students started off a rumour that it was the levy I was using for these benches. Of course, they did not know how SDA funds controlled by parents were used. There was no need to explain that to them. I did not want to burst their bubble.

This is why they are referred to as computers.

My testimony to God who is Alive.

 

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To all of you out there, join me to praise God through Jesus who is alive.

I know that he is alive for I have called him to enter into my life a long time ago.  He has heard my prayers.

Matthew 8:4, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer a gift that Moses demanded, as a testimony to them’.

I called out to prayer warriors at Christ Assembly conference in Derby on 22  April 2018 and explained my situation and asked the Pastors present and the rest of the congregation to help me tell my situation to God.

I am pleased to inform you that all our prayers have been answered.

Help me join in singing my thanksgiving.

The song below summaries how I feel inside this morning.

 

Thank you, Lord, through your Son Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

HARDtalk. Stephen Sackur vs Nelson Chamisa. 10 May 2018. ‘ Man on a mission.’

The much vaunted Hardtalk interview with Nelson Chamisa which was scheduled for 12:30  am was not to be because the time was taken up by Trump’s rally and I had no choice but to retire to bed.

Upon waking up, the Twitter feed was filled with excitement from opponents of MDC who claimed that Chamisa had been exposed and had been put in his place.

Having been that’s it the Bedford rally, my heart sank believing that our hero had been annihilated had to reluctantly surrender myself to an excruciating expose of our Nero.

Incidentally, my first encounter with Nelson Chamisa was in 1999 if I am not mistaken. I was attending my daughter’s graduation at Harare Polytechnic where he led a student’s protest. After the MC had vacated the podium making way for the main speaker, Chamisa and his crew rushed to the stage and he started addressing the gathering,  airing students grievances. By the time the college security removed him from the stage, he had delivered his message much to the delight of the student body but to our chagrin as he posed as the rain on our graduates’ parade.

The same arrogant poise and bravado is what he displayed when he was interviewed by the big hitters of the world known BBC.

Stephen Sackur interview fell apart because he was using information from the MSM in Zimbabwe as the gospel truth. This where Sackur lost the plot. He was acting as Mnangagwa’s spin doctor.

Towards the end of the program, Sackur had been licked and had to resort to demeaning in words like silly, nonsense vocabulary and bullying to which Chamisa counter attacked leaving the anchor frustrated.

Nelson blew Sackur away. He warmed up by referring to Chamisa being a man in a hurry but this was defused by Chamisa when he said he was a man on a mission. Stating that Bulawayo was a stronghold of the opposition showed that he had no clue about politics in Zimbabwe. The Chronicle does not reflect the majority view of political opinion.

Ascendancy to power was explained, the young thugs myth debunked, Mugabe’s legacy was not up to him but to the nation as a whole. His assumption that Mnangagwa was favourite to win the elections, that he was’ a mature, responsible and wise leader’ earned him the ire of Chamisa who questioned the wisdom in presiding over cash crisis, destruction of the country and rising incidences of corruption. Sackur was impressed by Mnangagwa’s promises which are fantasy as he has not delivered reform. He is no different from Mugabe.

He, however, stumped Chamisa over the Trump meeting which he conceded was not accurate. Over the Chinese deals, he refuted he had presented his case as Sackur put it. Zimbabweans are aware of how some of the Chinese operate in sidelining local labour and poor quality products which vendors are importing from China, the so-called zhing zhongs, the terrible quality of the Shurugwi Mandamabwe road

In conclusion, the July election is all about an audited voters roll, agreement on the printing of ballot papers and the removal of the military element in ZEC. Political parties ideologies can only come after the free, fair and credible elections..

Chamisa you were brilliant. You passed the test with flying colours.

Protest bring results.

Hopping along to the rhythm of railway sleepers was a favourite holiday past-time as a young boy. Across the Charter road, we would go to the Sunspun bananas depot in industrial to spend time watching the big black steam locomotive doing its rounds of shunting waggons in this area. It would go,” choo choo choo choo choo”. Standing on the sides, one could feel the high temperatures generated by the engine, the rumbling thunder of its weight and even the ground around us trembled in acknowledgement of this black beast. The engine man would sometimes make our day by pulling the whistle,” Poweee powee, poweepowee!” It was a sight to savour, it was an experience still etched in my heart and mind.

This time I was not walking along the railway sleepers, with a joyful gait of 50 years ago. I was plodding along, head down, shoulders down, no enthusiasm to get to my destination. The thrill was gone. I was heading for Mambo High school, my place of employment. The work was no longer worth it, it would cost me my entire salary to get fuel to drive to work. I was in no mood to subsidise the government in doing what had become a chore.

As I daydreamed on, I arrived at the railway crossing on the Bristol road next to the cemetery and Dairibord factory.  I had run out railway sleepers on my unenthusiastic plod to work, and on the ground were leaflets. I picked up one. It was a ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) pamphlet. It was advertising the 3rd December 2008 demonstration against Governor Gono’s restriction on cash withdrawals from the banks. People were to withdraw a maximum of Z$5000.00 a month. My salary must have been about Z$ 185 265 820,00 I had to spend the rest by cheque or by debit card. No business institution was prepared to accept payment in Z$ because the exchange rates changed by the minute.

On the morning of the third, I told my head that I was going into town. I picked by basket which I used to place my papers, books and lunch. I embarked on a demonstration journey since my days at university in the early 70s.

Arriving in town, water cannons, police, soldiers were majestically patrolling the streets to stop us from demonstrating. We had a problem then. People decided to move in twos or threes in order to defy the police. When a patrol car, we hid our placards, melted into the shops. We had arranged to meet at the Park service station.

About 60 of us had made our way in small groups. Our destination was the  Government complex where the Midlands Governors offices were located. We got there and barged into the Midlands Government office and presented our petition.

I will never forget the look on his face when a mob moved into his office. Our leader made a statement and handed him our petition for onward transmission to his bosses in Harare. He became aware that he was in a vulnerable position. The possibility of harm coming to him was stark. He picked up the phone. We decided that it was time to leave.

The excitement created by our move was being watched by people standing against windows wondering what was going on. Some of our demonstrators just milled along corridors whereas I and others decided to go out. Then all hell broke loose.

We had outwitted the police but we had not moved fast enough. The place was cordoned off. The anti riot tanks, police and soldiers just told us all to sit down. The Officer in charged felt humiliated. He had not anticipated our move. As unionists who knew each other never allowed strangers to be nearby. The CIO lost the game.

The police leader, brandishing his leather stick of authority made an attempt to berate us for demonstrating. We just laughed at him. I could understand why this fellow lost his cool. He had to explain to his masters why he had failed in his task. With this economic malaise that was unfolding, I felt amused that he thought we were wrong to demand to withdraw our own hard earned money.

He was told in no uncertain terms by our leaders that as a Trade Union, we had a constitutional right to demonstrate. An application had been made under POSA. Our part was just to notify the police, not that we required their permission. We explained to the surly looking policemen that this decree also affected them. I suppose their quandary was that the so called powerful Midlands Governor had been exposed and humiliated by our action. The police had to react. We had outwitted the police a minus on their side. They had to respond.

We were bundled in the waiting jeeps amid cheers ringing from the general public. They tried by all means to humiliate us. First, we had to form a line, each person holding on to the belt or waist of the one in front when we got to the Gweru police station and were asked to march into the charge office. It reminded of the children game we used to play in the 50s. The intimidation and humiliation did not wash.

 

One senior police were astonished to see a ‘headmaster’ as he knew me from Chaplin with this group. He asked me why I had joined this group of rabble rousers. I said him calmly,” We go to work to earn a living not for ourselves but for our families. On payday, we all queue at the banks because resources will have dwindled. As a member of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, I have the right to demonstrate on behalf of my hapless teaching community that is being targeted. At the same time, you as a police officer you are not allowed to demonstrate, I am also standing for you”.  He slinked away.

I was surprised that I had the courage to utter those wise words.

Twenty-eight males and two females were kept in the police cells for six days and six nights.

A week later, Gideon Gono withdrew his order.  The country wide ZCTU demonstrations forced a U turn.

 

 

 

 

The wretched whipping weeping willow.

The exotic green weeping willows dipped their branches into the one of the many pools along the Mukuvisi rivers right there behind the Joburg lines famously known as Majubeki.  They  were a stark contrast to the red Msasa trees, brownish mihacha and sparse populations of mitamba and other trees whose names I did not know. These dominated the dry  brown grass that had lost the yellowish tone during the winter months of June and July.  Over  that side of the bank of what we called Forichi (forest)  downslope of the Graniteside industrial area. This was before the Gwinyai school was built.

Squatting in the shade of the weeping willows, I grudgingly admired my friends frolicking in the water with naked abandon executing different types of swimming moves. I could not swim, I had never learnt to swim. The George Hartley swimming pool had not been constructed yet. These guys with a rural background had no problem navigating their way in the river pool.

I joined my fellow liberated friends to a trip to the Mukuvisi river for a swim.  A fellow cousin, a Ngorima, and a friend of his got stuck in the mud downstream the Mukuvisi in Highfield and were drowned. That sent a message, loud and clear that Mukuvisi was out of bounds. What my mother said went. She had come back from the funeral and was really devastated. I had known him. I was to see him no more. Therefore I dared not join the fun

One of my duties was to watch over my friend’s clothes.Enchanted by the noise, I did not notice the group of boys that had arrived.

‘Come on guys and see who is here’, looking down on us was Konde, the well known township bully. I had that sinking feeling in my belly and my mouth went completely dry. Whether he reigned over Harare or not was irrelevant. He was a gang leader.

‘Alright boys, get a branch each!’. We knew what that meant. A lashing was in store for us. He was much older. We could not challenge him but comply and take our medicine and head home. The joyous afternoon had turned on its head.

I stood there wondering if I was going to take the my whipping by Konde and his ilk. I cursed the tree. Why did it ever those low dangling branches? My imagination got the better of me. My first whipping was in 1955 at the age of 5 or 6. My mother used a peach tree strap, I had seen what marble tree whip would inflict let alone a willow one. The issue at hand was as to how  to explain the origin of the welts when I got home. I was not supposed to be near the Mukuvisi river in the first place.

Tears welled in my eyes, the whipping from Konde would without fail be followed by a whipping at home for defying my parents noble advice but I had to be with the boys. Others protested loudly against Konde promising revenge from the brothers, I was first born so I had to protect myself. The younger boys had plucked their whips and gleefully they started dishing the punishment. I moved slowly towards the furthest weeping willows and instinctively trusted my athletic prowess. I bolted off, jumping over the harvested sweet potato mounds which were in abundance, the handiwork of the unrepentant urban farmers. The municipality police, better known as Katsekera were never able to catch anyone red handed practising riverbank cultivation. All they managed to get were abandoned hoes as women melted into the grass.

In hot pursuit were some of Konde’s gang. Gripped by fear of being caught I started to slow down and give up as they gained on me.  Subconsciously I reminded myself of the problems that awaited me at home. If they got hold of me, the whipping was going to be severe. With the adrenaline pumping, I was reminded of the half mile running competitions at George Stark school, I accelerated away. I was fitter than these lazy brats. I started heading for the Mbare hostels oblivious to the traffic. I did not notice the cyclist who was coming towards me. I just rammed into his front wheel causing him to loose his balance. At first he was angry but when he noticed the group of boys running towards me he understood why I was so careless.

‘Hey why are you bothering this small boy. Go and pick up one of your on size’ he shouted. They withdrew and went back to the river. I tried to stand but my ankle gave way and down I sat. The man came and examined me. He felt responsible for my injury but I just gathered courage and told him that I was just dizzy from the running and started walking away. I suppose he did not have a bicycle licence.  A visit to the police station was not a wise option. I hobbled away in pain but this injury could be explained. An encounter with a learner bicycle rider nearer   home would be more plausible. A ticking off of not being alert on the road was much better than telling the truther. I suppose that was my karma.

It was a long walk from the hostels to Vito street. As I hobbled back, I knew that I was hatching a plot to lie. I was letting  both my parents down and my Sunday school teachers. I was aware that  I was taught that God  is everywhere ,was with me then and was watching my deceit. At least He was not reporting to my parents any time  soon. Consoling myself I had to convince that because of His infinite love, He could find time to forgive me.This breach of trust plagued me throughout life. My own trusted  kids could have done the same thing to me. This is a confession to God and to my departed parents.

I got home feeling miserable, a tearful arrival would earn me sympathy from my mother. The trick worked. She prepared warm water for a compress muttering at my carelessness, if only she knew. The compress was so ‘soothing’ that I asked to test its effects. I had to go to Daniel street to first of all,  first, to find out  how my friends had fared but most importantly to prevent them to coming to our house to inquire as to my well being. That would spill all the beans.

Saidi, Samuel and Robert informed their brother Freddy about the whipping and promised to sort this matter out. It was now late in the day but promised that he would deal with Konde the next day.

At about 9:00 a.m. after our respective breakfasts of tea with or without condensed milk of Rholac milk powder, and bread,  Margarine was a luxury enjoyed in a few homes especially during the week. We trooped to kwanaSaidi’s house. We now had  a big brother and Freddy  led us.  Our band of abused boys followed him up Vito street for it seemed that he knew where Konde lived. Much to our glee we met Konde at the junction of Vito and Nyazika streets.

Freddy called him out ‘Konde!, come here’ he shouted at him.

‘You mean me’, Konde countered.

‘Yes, you’, he called. Freddy did not move towards Konde and we became afraid. How could he instruct Konde to come to him.

‘Come to me, mfana if you want to talk with me’, he retorted.

‘I want to beat you up not talk to you or are you so afraid of me that you pick on my young brothers. Remember Mukuvisi yesterday?’ The call was loud and clear. Freddy had just thrown down the gauntlet.

Konde hesitated. I doubt if he had ever had such an experience. He was  used to making the calls. His usual gang members were present. He upturned his shirt collar to signify that he was the boss.

That did it. He turned and moved towards Freddy. He had to. His prestige was at stake. The gang members came to his aid as they surrounded big brother Freddy. He was quite unfazed by their strategy.

Cooly he announced,’This beating is for your boss and not the rest of you. I know you want to gang up on me. Take this seriously, I know you all and be reminded if you do not manage to kill me, I will come hunting for you one by one. This is not your fight unless Konde is unable to defend himself, he must say so’.

The statement disorientated the gang who furtively withdrew. Without notice, Freddy applied an upper cut connecting Konde’s chin and he fell to the ground in a heap. Former boxer, Kid Cussy from South Africa, was a social worker at Stodart Hall boys club would have been proud of the surprise execution. He tried to get up, but before he could come to his senses a round house blow connected with his ear and again he went down, He tried again and a blow to his face led to profuse bleeding . His nose and mouth was red and seemed not to know what had happened. His mates just led him away sparing him further humiliation. To us anyone who bled was the loser.

 He slunk away much to our delight.

Konde’s reign as a bully ended that morning.

The wretched whipping weeping willow.

The exotic green weeping willows dipped their branches into the one of the many pools along the Mukuvisi rivers right there behind the Joburg lines famously known as Majubeki.  They  were a stark contrast to the red Msasa trees, brownish mihacha and sparse populations of mitamba and other trees whose names I did not know. These dominated the dry  brown grass that had lost the yellowish tone during the winter months of June and July.  Over  that side of the bank of what we called Forichi (forest)  downslope of the Graniteside industrial area. This was before the Gwinyai school was built.

Squatting in the shade of the weeping willows, I grudgingly admired my friends frolicking in the water with naked abandon executing different types of swimming moves. I could not swim, I had never learnt to swim. The George Hartley swimming pool had not been constructed yet. These guys with a rural background had no problem navigating their way in the river pool.

I joined my fellow liberated friends to a trip to the Mukuvisi river for a swim.  A fellow cousin, a Ngorima, and a friend of his got stuck in the mud downstream the Mukuvisi in Highfield and were drowned. That sent a message, loud and clear that Mukuvisi was out of bounds. What my mother said went. She had come back from the funeral and was really devastated. I had known him. I was to see him no more. Therefore I dared not join the fun

One of my duties was to watch over my friend’s clothes.Enchanted by the noise, I did not notice the group of boys that had arrived.

‘Come on guys and see who is here’, looking down on us was Konde, the well known township bully. I had that sinking feeling in my belly and my mouth went completely dry. Whether he reigned over Harare or not was irrelevant. He was a gang leader.

‘Alright boys, get a branch each!’. We knew what that meant. A lashing was in store for us. He was much older. We could not challenge him but comply and take our medicine and head home. The joyous afternoon had turned on its head.

I stood there wondering if I was going to take the my whipping by Konde and his ilk. I cursed the tree. Why did it ever those low dangling branches? My imagination got the better of me. My first whipping was in 1955 at the age of 5 or 6. My mother used a peach tree strap, I had seen what marble tree whip would inflict let alone a willow one. The issue at hand was as to how  to explain the origin of the welts when I got home. I was not supposed to be near the Mukuvisi river in the first place.

Tears welled in my eyes, the whipping from Konde would without fail be followed by a whipping at home for defying my parents noble advice but I had to be with the boys. Others protested loudly against Konde promising revenge from the brothers, I was first born so I had to protect myself. The younger boys had plucked their whips and gleefully they started dishing the punishment. I moved slowly towards the furthest weeping willows and instinctively trusted my athletic prowess. I bolted off, jumping over the harvested sweet potato mounds which were in abundance, the handiwork of the unrepentant urban farmers. The municipality police, better known as Katsekera were never able to catch anyone red handed practising riverbank cultivation. All they managed to get were abandoned hoes as women melted into the grass.

In hot pursuit were some of Konde’s gang. Gripped by fear of being caught I started to slow down and give up as they gained on me.  Subconsciously I reminded myself of the problems that awaited me at home. If they got hold of me, the whipping was going to be severe. With the adrenaline pumping, I was reminded of the half mile running competitions at George Stark school, I accelerated away. I was fitter than these lazy brats. I started heading for the Mbare hostels oblivious to the traffic. I did not notice the cyclist who was coming towards me. I just rammed into his front wheel causing him to loose his balance. At first he was angry but when he noticed the group of boys running towards me he understood why I was so careless.

‘Hey why are you bothering this small boy. Go and pick up one of your on size’ he shouted. They withdrew and went back to the river. I tried to stand but my ankle gave way and down I sat. The man came and examined me. He felt responsible for my injury but I just gathered courage and told him that I was just dizzy from the running and started walking away. I suppose he did not have a bicycle licence.  A visit to the police station was not a wise option. I hobbled away in pain but this injury could be explained. An encounter with a learner bicycle rider nearer   home would be more plausible. A ticking off of not being alert on the road was much better than telling the truther. I suppose that was my karma.

It was a long walk from the hostels to Vito street. As I hobbled back, I knew that I was hatching a plot to lie. I was letting  both my parents down and my Sunday school teachers. I was aware that  I was taught that God  is everywhere ,was with me then and was watching my deceit. At least He was not reporting to my parents any time  soon. Consoling myself I had to convince that because of His infinite love, He could find time to forgive me.This breach of trust plagued me throughout life. My own trusted  kids could have done the same thing to me. This is a confession to God and to my departed parents.

I got home feeling miserable, a tearful arrival would earn me sympathy from my mother. The trick worked. She prepared warm water for a compress muttering at my carelessness, if only she knew. The compress was so ‘soothing’ that I asked to test its effects. I had to go to Daniel street to first of all,  first, to find out  how my friends had fared but most importantly to prevent them to coming to our house to inquire as to my well being. That would spill all the beans.

Saidi, Samuel and Robert informed their brother Freddy about the whipping and promised to sort this matter out. It was now late in the day but promised that he would deal with Konde the next day.

At about 9:00 a.m. after our respective breakfasts of tea with or without condensed milk of Rholac milk powder, and bread,  Margarine was a luxury enjoyed in a few homes especially during the week. We trooped to kwanaSaidi’s house. We now had  a big brother and Freddy  led us.  Our band of abused boys followed him up Vito street for it seemed that he knew where Konde lived. Much to our glee we met Konde at the junction of Vito and Nyazika streets.

Freddy called him out ‘Konde!, come here’ he shouted at him.

‘You mean me’, Konde countered.

‘Yes, you’, he called. Freddy did not move towards Konde and we became afraid. How could he instruct Konde to come to him.

‘Come to me, mfana if you want to talk with me’, he retorted.

‘I want to beat you up not talk to you or are you so afraid of me that you pick on my young brothers. Remember Mukuvisi yesterday?’ The call was loud and clear. Freddy had just thrown down the gauntlet.

Konde hesitated. I doubt if he had ever had such an experience. He was  used to making the calls. His usual gang members were present. He upturned his shirt collar to signify that he was the boss.

That did it. He turned and moved towards Freddy. He had to. His prestige was at stake. The gang members came to his aid as they surrounded big brother Freddy. He was quite unfazed by their strategy.

Cooly he announced,’This beating is for your boss and not the rest of you. I know you want to gang up on me. Take this seriously, I know you all and be reminded if you do not manage to kill me, I will come hunting for you one by one. This is not your fight unless Konde is unable to defend himself, he must say so’.

The statement disorientated the gang who furtively withdrew. Without notice, Freddy applied an upper cut connecting Konde’s chin and he fell to the ground in a heap. Former boxer, Kid Cussy from South Africa, was a social worker at Stodart Hall boys club would have been proud of the surprise execution. He tried to get up, but before he could come to his senses a round house blow connected with his ear and again he went down, He tried again and a blow to his face led to profuse bleeding . His nose and mouth was red and seemed not to know what had happened. His mates just led him away sparing him further humiliation. To us anyone who bled was the loser.

 He slunk away much to our delight.

Konde’s reign as a bully ended that morning.

Talkative and mischievous

Before the final verdict, was this cutting, life destroying comment from my learned form 2c form master Mr.  John Haesbroek, ‘He is talkative and mischievous’. The principal, Mr. Oliver Lawton informed me that I was not being offered a form 3 place at  his school, Goromonzi Secondary school.

My teenager life was turned upside down. I  had to explain the contents of my report to my partially literate father. Of course I knew he would work out talkative but mischievous, no way.

My father had to do something. He had to find a school place for me.  He believed in me but deep inside I felt  I have sold him down the river.  Mr. T Pahla, a teacher at my former primary school George Stark and my father’s churchmate, was the proud owner of an Opel Caravan station wagon. He was hired by my father so that we could traverse boarding school s for a form three place. He explained to my father what mischievous meant. My father looked at me like a father and not as my father. My father would have belted the whole of me but this one did not. He just shook his head and moved on. This was my most painful punishment where no pain was inflicted.  It brought to the fore my final humiliation  and chastisement. The sojourn for a form 3 place was to profoundly affect my attitude as a teacher, senior master, deputy head and finally as head.

I hailed from Mbare, which was Harare then. A proper and typical township rascal, brought up on a diet of two bioscopes a week, one at the boys club day at Stodart Hall and the other on Saturday morning at Mai Musodzi Hall for a penny.  Afternoons were spent at number 5 ground watching amateur football teams. In between weekends I was a part time small time vendor I was selling picture frames, table mats made by father at our backyard ‘factory’. After my Standard 6 examinations, I started  my own business selling mangoes. I made my a handsome profit of £3.60 which financed my first school trunk, a must for a boarder, white shorts, a bright red shirt and  toiletries.  Sunday was for church and the afternoon watching football at the Number 1 ground, later upgraded to the current Rufaro stadium, perched up the trees on the edge of the stadium on occasions managed to get through the various weak points of the boundary fence. sometimes we got caught and paid our way by earning hard slaps by the match stewards. Never minded that one bit as long we watched Yellow Peril  with Banzi Chiwarereware displaying his foot tricks against the opponents. Participating in all the various activities broadened my experience.

The library at the Stoddart Hall was my favourite. I voraciously read  from 1956 when I owned  my first book,  Kambariai, my Sub Standard A  Shona reader. It was brand new, bought at CCAP church book shop, my own, imagine and oh how I liked  its smell. I then graduated to comics, Beano, Donald Duck, Dennis the Menace, Jughead, Batman and Wonder Boy, Superman. The love of comics were bolstered by Walt Disney films we watched through  my membership of Mr. Roberts social welfare boys club. My first library book was Moby Dick, a thick volume, with a smell of its own, written in big font which made it a pleasure to read.  Added to this were the classroom cupboard libraries with the epic tales of Sir Henry Rider Haggard such as She, Allan Quatermain and Montezuma’s daughter. Whether I understood the English was neither here nor there as long as I was reading. In short my life was  full of activity which I independently determined except that I had to be inside our home by 6:00p.m. There was no negotiation on this.

It was with such a background that I arrived at Goromonzi at the age of 14. I had never really left Mbare for  a period of more than 7 days. Here everything was regulated by bells and  bully school prefects of the Tom Brown’s Schooldays fame. I never really accepted their authority as legitimate. While order was necessary, their power to inflict pain and abuse Mr. and Magusha’s eldest son made desire to transform to Superman and beat the daylights out of them but unfortunately I was in the top ten of the smallest boys in the school. They were bullies yes but they could not hold a candle to the bullies of the townships. I could handle them with my sharp wit, a skill developed over 10 years in the streets of Mbare.  In the end it was better for them to tolerate me or have me as their little brother rather than fight me but the brutal ones did not buy that so I was permanently on punishment duties.

The  bells regime was different from the ones at our primary school where the school bell ringer was more concerned in watching the clock than his schoolwork. There was a wake up bell, a sleeping bell, a breakfast gong, a food prayer bell, ‘For what about to have with thank you O Lord’, a lunch bell, a supper bell, going for classes bell, finishing classes bell, a beginning of siesta bell, end of siesta bell, prep bell go for afternoon bell, evening prayer bell, leading us with a project’s bell. It was bell, bell, bell, obey order , obey order, regime.  I was being institutionalised, my life was being forcibly changed and I resisted. I questioned the system, that got me labelled  talkative, I wanted to create my own different way of living and that was treated as mischief. I had to conform but I could not conform. I could not fit in. I had to obey the bell, and do what the bell order me to do.My school life became a contradiction.

I never regretted the library run by heavily perfumed Miss Weston though I could not understand how a middle aged woman was a miss. To me marriage was something that was a simple and common place in my community. Just wondered how she could survive but rumours were always doing rounds that the was always next to Mr. Wilkins, the Latin teacher, a married man, how scandalous.  I found solace in books, part of my Harare life. There were no comics in secondary schools and I was able to go through the Enid Blyton books I had not read. The Five with the strange girl George and sandwiches which I spelt ‘sanguages’, the Hardy Boys but strangely enough I never read a single book of the Biggles series. Unfortunately there were no James Hadley Chase or Peter Cheyne novels whose language and desire to portray the women as opportunist gold diggers was frowned upon. I think they did not wants us ‘natives’ to realise that white people were as human as us.

I could not study  at scripted times. There was no  induction on how to adapt to boarding life except on how to use toilets. We were to seat and not squat on the pan, use a brush when you misfire and how to use flush cistern. I had grown up using the bucket system which was upgraded to squat holes lavatories and for most  if not rural folk, their experience was pit latrines or open bush.. Those with a boarding primary background fitted in well. I believe that this is where I feel behind in my studies. Ten subjects was no joke.

Incidentally, I was ‘unfortunate’ in being enrolled in the 3 form 1 cycle which was to be trimmed at the end of two years in order to make efficiency use of the classrooms available. It never dawned to me that there was to be a sieve but then I was over  confident of my academic prowess. I was one of the top students in the Harare district at Standard 6 examinations. I had comfortably gone through this critical net.

I was enrolled at Highfield Secondary school in 1966 after the then principal Mr. Burke and asked me to undo the buttons of my short to examine what I carried, a story for another day. I was now in my favoured environment  and I never looked back. The impact of the Goromonzi episode was to realise that  schools can destroy and gut spirits but any teenager needs the charity of a second chance.