After conducting interviews with Cde Shambakumanja and Cde Nhepera in Harare, The Sunday Mail crew and Cde Soul Sadza’s family travelled to Zimunya to see the exact place where the battle that killed him took place.
This journey to Zimunya left me drained, vexed and a little bit confused because for the first time in my life, I came face to face with issues from the spiritual world.
From the Magaya family there was Joshua Magaya (young brother to Cde Soul Sadza), Dr Dennis Magaya (Cde Soul Sadza’s first born son), Cde Soul Sadza’s three sisters, Bertha Gowera, Angeline Chiwashira and Judith Makamba and muzukuru Moses Mutimbanyoka.
Also present were Cdes Bethune, Shambakumanja and Henry Chinore whose Chimurenga name was Cde John Pasipamire.
Cde Chinore has an intriguing story to tell and his interview will be published in the coming weeks.
When the team got to Zimunya, we went to announce our presence to Sabhuku Dzingirayi as per tradition.
Sabhuku Dzingirayi was not at home, his wife gave us the permission to go to the area where the battle took place.
As we walked up the mountain, the Sabhuku’s wife recounted the events of the day.
When we got to a place that is sandwiched between mountains, Cde Shambakumanja narrated how the battle started and the last time he saw Cde Soul Sadza after he had been hit by a bullet in the stomach.
Cde Shambakumanja wept like a little baby as he recounted how he saw Cde Soul Sadza “matumbu avo ese ari panze”. He tried to keep on moving in a bid to escape from the base that was reduced to a killing bag.
Other villagers who had joined us could been seen crying as well, the story was just too gripping.
After the narration by Cde Shambakumanja, I then conducted interviews with Dr Magaya, Joshua Magaya and tete Bertha Gowera.
They all wept uncontrollably and one would be forgiven to think that Cde Soul Sadza had just passed on, yet he passed away some 40 years ago.
“Cde Soul Sadza is just another comrade to other people, but to me he is a father. A father I never got to see. It’s very difficult for me. I know some people will never understand.
“From the time when we were told that he had passed on, we always thought one day he would come back. Pane vamwe tete who on receiving the news that he had passed on, tete vakatinyepera kuti baba vachauya and we believed that. We waited, and waited, and waited but he never came back.
“It’s a major milestone just knowing kuti this is where he died. Finding his remains in another thing. I can’t express how grateful I am to Cde Shambakumanja for just narrating how things happened. We want closure to this issue because for all these years, we have been waiting and hoping.
“l hear my father was in the High Command, which was a high rank. My wish is for Government and Zanu-PF just to acknowledge that he passed on. Even if he is declared a village hero, it’s fine. We want a place where we go as a family on Heroes Day to celebrate his life,” said Dr Magaya.
I then asked him what he would want to say to his father if he was listening from wherever he is.
“I want to say thank you. People take the liberation struggle for granted but to me this is what the war means. I want to tell him that what he did is now being taken for granted because some people take the liberation struggle for granted.
“We remember you and as your son I have done everything possible to bring you home. There is no bit that I have not done and I will continue to do that. We miss you so much. I am sure one day we will meet again. Remember we are talking about a person I never touched. I don’t know how he looked like. I don’t know his voice. This is the closest I can get to my father. Thanks Huni and I know you will never understand what this means to me.
“I am sure I will meet my father again. I miss him everyday,” said a weeping Dr Magaya.
Babamunini Joshua Magaya came next and the heart-rending story continued.
“Nhai mukoma muri kupi tatambura kukutsvagai? Hatina zororo vana vari kuchema. Ndirotsei mukoma ndizive pamuri, chero iri mass grave just show me kwamuri mukoma.
“Kuvana ndinoti musanete. Baba vachauya kumba. Ngatirambe tichivatsvaga. Ngatisaneta.”
Tete Bertha Gowera came next.
“Arthur anogara achiuya kuhope dzangu achinditi ndiri kuda kuuya kumusha. Ndinomurota ari mubako akachonjomara asi haataure neni.
“Mukoma Arthur itai muuye kumba. Tiratidzei pamuri tiende nemi kumusha. Vana takachengeta, Dennis na Caston and tinotenda for leaving us this lovely boys. Guide us mukoma Arthur. We want you to come home and rest mukoma. Nesuwo we will rest.”
After the interviews, Sabhuku Dzingirai’s son, Cde Panganayi Bayiso, arrived and as he sat down, his mother asked tete Bertha to narrate her dreams again.
As she did, Cde Bayiso revealed that there are remains of some comrade in a cave that looked exactly like tete Bertha was describing.
It was agreed that the next day, we would all go and have a look at the remains.
The next day, we drove to Zimunya again and before going up the mountain, Cde Bayiso suggested that we consult a local traditional healer “maybe anogona kutibatsira because he has assisted other families.”
With my skeptical mind, we went to see sekuru Gilbert Manyetu, the traditional healer.
Looking at him standing there, I said to myself this little boy will waste our time.
But when he started conducting his rituals and spoke like Cde Soul Sadza, I was taken aback.
In graphic details, he narrated how Cde Soul Sadza had been shot and he explained how for three days, he crawled along a river bank and later died. His story tallied with what Cde Shambakumanja had told me during an interview in Harare.
What really struck me was when he described that, “ndakapfurwa padumbu apa, hura hwangu hukabuda panze. Ndakagwesha kwemazuva matatu, ndichidzosera matumbu angu mukati kusvika mweya wangu wazopera. Ini mutumbi wangu hauna kutorwa nemabhunu. Ndirimo zvangu mugomo ndakamirira vekwangu vauye kuzonditora.”
After this, we went to the place where the battle took place and once again, the traditional healer narrated how Cde Soul Sadza was shot and killed.
No one had told him how Cde Soul Sadza had been killed but he spoke as if he was there on this fateful day.
From there, he took us up one of the mountains.
After conducting his ritual, he said, “Ndatenda mauya kuzonditora. Ndanga ndakangomira. Ndakarara zvangu paseri pedombo iro.”
We went around the big rock that he had pointed at and indeed we saw human remains in a cave, looking exactly the way tete Bertha had described.
After viewing the remains, the traditional healer said, “lni handiendi kumusha iye zvino nekuti kumusha ndakatsindidzwa nana baba. Tangai maenda kunochenura musha ndiko kuti ndibve kuno.”
He then turned to Cde Bethune and said, “Comrade imi taiva tese kuhondo. Ini ndichaenda hangu kumusha kwangu asi handivigwi pachuru. Ndaiva comrade mukuru kwazvo and nzvimbo yandinovigwa yakatogadzirwa kare. Endai munoudza mamwe macomrades, vanoziva kwekundiendesa.”
He concluded with a slogan.
“Pamberi nehondo! Pamberi nekurwisa vavengi! Pasi nemabhunu!”
As I write this article, the Magaya family is making frantic efforts to conduct DNA tests to ascertain whether indeed these are the remains of Cde Soul Sadza. Dr Magaya is clearly a happy and relieved son.
On the other hand, Cde Bethune is running around relaying to the relevant authorities the message he got from “Cde Soul Sadza.” It looks like we are very close to closing the Cde Soul Sadza mystery and it looks like finally, Cde Soul Sadza is coming home to rest.
The Sunday Mail will keep you posted on this issue.
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