Of Grobbelaar, Zim amnesia and inertia
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”.