Dr Muzenda’s love for poetry

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

THE na­tion’s soul, guardian and rev­o­lu­tion­ary spirit, late Vice Pres­i­dent Dr Si­mon Muzenda had a great in­ter­est in poetry and story telling.

Dur­ing his spare time at his ru­ral home in ZvavaHera Vil­lage in Gutu Dis­trict, Dr Muzenda would in­vite chil­dren from the lo­cal com­mu­nity for story telling ses­sions at his home.

At pub­lic gath­er­ings he would some­times re­cite one of his favourite po­ems, Ne­handa Nyakasikana, which was writ­ten by Pro­fes­sor Solomon Mutsvairo in his block­buster novel, Feso.

The poem also had a great nos­tal­gic in­flu­ence on Dr Muzenda be­cause some time be­fore in­de­pen­dence, he was ar­rested in Zvisha­vane af­ter he re­cited it in pub­lic.

The poem de­nounces so­cial in­jus­tice, white mis­rule and op­pres­sion so Ian Smith’s regime be­lieved that any­one who re­cited it was act­ing in a sub­ver­sive man­ner.

Dr Muzenda was tried for that and con­victed by the High Court and sen­tenced to a 12-year jail term al­though he suc­cess­fully ap­pealed against the jail term, which was re­duced to two years. Below is the poem in full: O Ne­handa Ne­handa! Kuno­zove riniko Isu vanyai ti­chi­ta­m­budzika Mweya un­o­era kuno­zove riniko Isu vanyai tichidzvinyirirwa Ko toshin­girira kudza­mara kuve riniko? Ko inga pan­guva yechando miti Inozvi­zorodza Inokuhu­muka mashizha yombowana rudekaro Mashizha yovawo nen­hen­here in­oyevedza Shiri nemhuka nenyuchi dzok­wezwa ne­hwema Ko isu ru­gare ruchatisvika riniko? Vana vacheche vati­nobereka vawakatipa Iwe samasimba vanova ndivo vadyi Ven­haka dzedu, nhasi vokura vaka­sun­zu­mara Mun­yika yavo; voshaya nzvimbo Dzoku­rarama Nokuzvidekadza? Apa nepapo pazere

ru­fuse Makumbo avo ava ne­matazu nokup­fu­viswa Neririp­fu­mo­jena. Ko vosvikepiko? Mudz­imba dzose no­mu­misha yose Vari ku­tandwa pamwe nokuro­hwa Mun­zvimbo dzose no­mu­matare mose Avan­otongerwa, vari kun­gourayiwa sen­hunzi Pasina chikonzero, pasina mhosva Pfuma yenyika nhasi yaka­torwa Vak­ago­v­ana pahukama hwavo veP­fu­mo­jena Nhasi vari kudya mafuta ayo nyika Isu tichidya nhoko dzvezvi­ronda Nhasi vari kudya vakora se­hochi Isu todzipwa toon­doroka sem­bwa ine gwembe Nhasi vagere mu­rusu­nun­guko Isu todzipwa huro ne­ma­joto Rusu­nun­guko Ne­handa ndorupi? Ha­mungabu­ruki rewo kwatiri here? Harahwa dzedu dzo­batwa sep­were Mun­yika yawavapa, musiki mu­goni! Hava­sisina pa­nyika; Hava­sisina cha­vana­cho Dam­budziko guru ndiro ravawira Baba mutsvene Gomo rine ngoni Ha­mungot­inzwawo kuchema kwedu here Tine chi­tadzo chakakura sei Chokubva mati­ramwa zvakadai? Ne­handa Nyakasikana!Kuno­zova riniko? Isu vaNyai tichidzinyirirwa Neriri Pfu­mo­jena rasvika mun­yika (Adapted from Feso, by Solomon Mutswairo, 1956) rukudzo

The poem, penned by the late lit­er­ary guru, Pro­fes­sor Solomon Mutsvairo, de­nounces so­cial in­jus­tice, so the para­noid regime of the day thought that those who re­cited it were in­di­rectly at­tack­ing colo­nial ideals.

He was tried and pre­dictably con­victed by the High Court and sen­tenced to a 12-year jail term. He how­ever suc­cess­fully ap­pealed against the jail term, which was re­duced to two years.

Out of de­ten­tion, he again en­gaged in lib­er­a­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and helped in gal­vanis­ing the na­tion against the (Ian) Smith-Home pro­pos­als dur­ing the time of the Pearce Com­mis­sion in 1972.

Three years later, he be­came a mem­ber of the Zanu Cen­tral Com­mit­tee. Dur­ing that time, he fled the coun­try for Zam­bia where he looked af­ter more than 16 000 Zanu cadres in Lusaka.

Later he went to Mozam­bique, link­ing up with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe to plan and ex­e­cute the lib­er­a­tion war.

He also set­tled with his fam­ily in Mozam­bique. As a re­sult, he lost one of his daugh­ters, Theresa Muchapedzei, who died on the war front when Rhode­sian forces at­tacked Chi­moio Camp in 1977.

In that year, the self­less cadre was elected Vice Pres­i­dent of Zanu at the Chi­moio party congress and was a key mem­ber of var­i­ous del­e­ga­tions that took part at var­i­ous meet­ings such as the Geneva, Malta and Lan­caster House con­fer­ences.

In 1980, he was elected to Par­lia­ment and later ap­pointed to the post of Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs.

Seven years later he was ap­pointed, to­gether with Dr Nkomo to the post of Vice Pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the sign­ing of the land­mark Unity Ac­cord.

In 1986, as chair­man of the Cabi­net com­mit­tee on the host­ing of the Non-Aligned Move­ment, he suc­cess­fully dealt with the com­plex and high level prepa­ra­tions for the NAM Sum­mit held that year.

In recog­ni­tion of his im­mense con­tri­bu­tion to the so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try be­fore and af­ter ma­jor­ity rule, the Uni­ver­sity of Zim­babwe con­ferred him with an hon­orary Doc­tor of Laws de­gree on Novem­ber 20, 1999.

A hu­mor­ous char­ac­ter, Dr Muzenda had guests at his grad­u­a­tion party in stitches when he de­clared that the hon­orary de­gree be­stowed on him by the Uni­ver­sity of Zim­babwe had made him “Y2K com­pli­ant”. His life and legacy shall al­ways be re­mem­bered fondly.

Late Vice Pres­i­dent Dr Si­mon Muzenda

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