Here 'n' There

Revisiting the liberation war tales as Zim turns 44

MILLICENT HUNGWE

MASVINGO-As the country commemorates 44 years of Independence from cruel British colonial rule on 18 April 1980, The Midweek Watch went down memory lane and revisited one of the tales of the war through some liberation icons.

 Ester Jinga (70) (pictured) and William Claudia Mandebvu whose guerrilla name is Juckays Zvenyika (70) are some of the surviving liberation war heroes and up to this day still have vivid memories of the war.

“Refugee camps were used to accommodate boys and girls from Zimbabwe going for training to liberate our beloved Zimbabwe.

“So, in March 1975 l arrived at a Refugee camp in Nyadzonya, it was overpopulated, with over 10 000 inmates.

“Drought, lack of hygiene leading to diseases such as cholera, diahorea and malaria affected the refugee camp.

“It was really a difficult time, indeed, it got worse on the 8th of August now called the Zanu Day when the Camp was attacked by the British forces after Morison Nyathi sold us out to the whites because of his personal disputes he had whilst living at the Nyadzonya tent.” Recalled Mandebvu with anger written all over his face.

Mandebvu said on that day cars arrived at the camp at around 8am, when trainees usually had their daily parade.

“Luckily, we had done our parade earlier, so people ran towards the cars thinking that they were going for trainings however they were unaware that it was an enemy who came to attack the them.

“I was not near the scene because l was turned down twice as the commanders felt that I was not fit enough due to my small frame then.

“White Soldiers started shooting those who were running towards them, Cde Ujembire who always cried either hungry or full was near the cars and started shouting that it was the enemy’s vehicles which they had painted black for disguise.

“At this point in time they were shooting randomly, they had aimed at the clinic and children’s home which they bombed, and l was seeing this at a distance and ran up to a big pit which l rolled to get to the Nyadzonya River which was deep.

“Children were trying to cross the river and it was a bad experience, I had to assist the kids in crossing as it was not in my nature to leave children in trouble,” said Mandebvu.

Jinga who is war collaborator said she remembers one day when she was attacked by the white settler’s army at Runde River while in the company of her brother Ernest Jinga who was a trained fighter and his other colleagues.

 “We heard a helicopter approaching where we were and we ran in different directions, we survived by plucking grass and covering ourselves such that it was difficult for the helicopter to see us from above.  

“It encircled three times and left, we later ran to Ndege’s homestead where we reached KuMusvungwa and finally reached home at Chivamba,” said Jinga.

She added that her father was once brutally assaulted by white settlers and witnessing such attack made her hate the white people more.

Although she bemoaned the economic decay in the country Jinga believes President Mnangagwa is doing his best in changing the fortunes of the country.

She said she was humbled by the President’s gesture of remembering widows through various initiatives and projects that the second republic has been rolling out.

For Mandebvu, life is completely different comparing to the early days the country attained independence and believes the liberation war heroes are now being unfairly treated.

“We brought this independence, you are all celebrating now, but for us there is not much to celebrate as we have since been forgotten,” said Mandebvu.  

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