Of Grobbe­laar, Zim am­ne­sia and in­er­tia

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Forestry Commission / People - Al­bert Marufu The writer Al­bert Marufu is a bi­og­ra­pher and jour­nal­ist. His con­ver­sa­tional pub­li­ca­tion “Soul Of Seven Mil­lion Dreams”; the Mem­ory Mucher­a­howa story is avail­able in book­shops across Zim­babwe.

FOR­MER Zim­babwe and Liver­pool goal­keeper Bruce Grobbe­laar last month pub­lished his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy — “Life in the Jun­gle” — and this is an ex­cit­ing ad­di­tion by a larger-than-life char­ac­ter to the grow­ing list of bi­ogra­phies by Zim­bab­wean sports per­son­al­i­ties.

Judg­ing from the re­views, this ap­pears to be a block buster of a book with some shock­ing rev­e­la­tions from a flam­boy­ant, like­able and true leg­end of the game.

Grobbe­laar’s rev­e­la­tions in “Life in the Jun­gle” that he par­tic­i­pated in Zim­babwe’s war of lib­er­a­tion and killing a Zanla per­son has sur­pris­ingly brought ex­cite­ment across the spec­trum.

The re­newed de­bate and ex­cite­ment over Grobbe­laar’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Zim­babwe’s war of lib­er­a­tion is shock­ing as it re­veals that we as a peo­ple, both in me­dia and lay do not do much read­ing, re­search­ing, or at least keep­ing of records.

Grobbe­laar made this rev­e­la­tion in his 1986 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy — “More than Some­what” — which he wrote in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bob Har­ris.

Of cause there was a need for the book’s up­date be­cause a lot has hap­pened in his life since 1986, rang­ing from his days at Southamp­ton, the match-fix­ing drama and Dream Team days which he talked about in his new book.

How­ever, for peo­ple to be mes­merised by some­thing he talked about in 1986 says some­thing about our read­ing cul­ture. Or lack, thereof.

Imag­ine when the late Edgar “Twoboy” Tekere re­leased his book and the me­dia fo­cussed on his shoot­ing of the white farmer as if it were fresh news? That would show a peo­ple out of touch with events.

Grobbe­laar ex­ten­sively talked about his war days in the book.

“I will al­ways re­mem­ber my two years of na­tional ser­vice. How could a 17-yearold for­get see­ing his best friends killed? How can he for­get killing a fel­low hu­man be­ing? The sim­ple an­swer is that he can­not. Even now, years later, I still have night­mares in which I hear again the screams and see those fright­ened faces, be­fore wak­ing up in a cold sweat,” he wrote in his 1986 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy “More Than Some­what”.

He added; “Af­ter hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced bor­der raids, drugs, de­lous­ing, hav­ing to eat bee­tles be­cause you are out of ra­tions, and track­ing ter­ror­ists, foot­ball hardly seems to be a mat­ter of life and death. Los­ing a semi-fi­nal is not a tragedy and miss­ing a match be­cause of a groin strain is not the end of the world. If war teaches you any­thing it is an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of be­ing alive and I will never apol­o­gise for laugh­ing at life and en­joy­ing my foot­ball.”

Ob­vi­ously Grobbe­laar had to up­date his story be­cause a lot hap­pened be­tween 1986 and now.

Grobbe­laar’s book is in­deed an ex­cit­ing ad­di­tion to a grow­ing list of Zim­babwe sports per­son­al­i­ties telling their own sto­ries. It comes af­ter pub­li­ca­tion of Japhet Mparutsa’s “My Story” and Mem­ory Mucher­a­howa’s “Soul of Seven Mil­lion Dreams”.

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