The Sunday Mail
HE was incarcerated, he once tried to commit suicide and was at one time involved in a near fatal head on collision but Arifonso Zvenyika survived it all. Nicknamed “Mosquito” during the peak of his boxing career, fame and fortune fell on Zvenyika when he won the coveted Commonwealth Flyweight championship in 1998. That is when it all began. Today, Religion and Sport dwells on the lifestyle of the Mbare bred former boxing champion Zvenyika whose life changed when he got hold of thousands of dollars.
We also look at how his life changed again when he found himself with nothing after blowing it all. The 41-year-old Zvenyika invited us to his house in Mushongandebvu Street in Mbare as part of our series on prominent sports personalities whose lifestyles changed after giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
“I did all sorts of things with the money I got from that fight. All sorts of women were after me and I blew my money. “I was jailed for theft and whilst at Harare Central Prison, I suffered a minor stroke. “Do you know that I once tried to take my life by taking an overdose of pills,” said Zvenyika with a Bible in his hand.
Yes, a Bible in his left hand and preaching to this reporter on how current sport stars can build their careers on God. Zvenyika is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and recently wedded his wife Jesman at a colourful ceremony that stunned the high density suburb of Mbare.
“My brother you are talking to a changed Zvenyika, I do not go out so often because I spend more time with my family. I have realised that people will use you but God will not. The God I pray to had a way to communicate with me, He came to me through trials and tribulations.
“The message I have is that God has a special way of talking to you.” Quoting verses from the Bible, mainly from the book of Matthew, Zvenyika articulated the word of God.
Zvenyika served 18 months in jail after having been convicted of stealing. He had brushes with the law for driving without a licence and he was known for causing all sorts of trouble in Mbare.
“I feel pained if I realise how much time I lost doing those things. I also feel sorry for current sports personalities who shun Jesus because they are going nowhere. “No matter how good a footballer or boxer you are, without God’s guidance you are going nowhere,” declared the former boxing champion.
“A lot of sports people think it is their talent when they are at the top of their game, no, it is God who is behind it all. So pray to him. “Listen to the elders, take their advice, use your opportunity and above all do not forget to thank God.” Mosquito has seven children, some of whom he sired with the wife he separated from when he was jailed.
His new wife — Jesman — is expecting another child. “A wife comes from God, I had a previous marriage but you see it ended painfully because they couldn’t stand with me in trying times. “So my advice is please find a wife who will be with you in good or bad times,” said Zvenyika.
Zvenyika is now a bus conductor at Kukura Kurerwa Bus Services and in his spare time, he trains budding boxers at his Mosquito Boxing Gym at Stodart Hall in Mbare. He also has plans to release a music album soon and promised this publication a copy of his work once it is released.
Indeed, life has not been easy for Mosquito but through God, he has survived.
“I only went up to Grade One at St Michaels here in Mbare. My mother wanted to school me but I was a naughty boy who wanted to sell cigarettes in beer halls. “But that is not nice, kids should go to school,” Zvenyika preached as he waved us goodbye.
The Sunday Mail Religion invites renowned sports personalities who have given their life to Jesus to contact us and give us their testimonies.
By the way, it was a blessing to hear from The Roman Catholic of Chitungwiza whose members are now followers of this column. They have a Family Fun and Sports Day at Seke 6 High School next Sunday and we hope to be there to witness the action. “We read your column every Sunday and would like to invite you to our special day. We feel we have to encourage family unit in sports and prayer,” wrote Mr Muwunganirwa.
We invite those with church sports news to contact Langton Nyakwenda on 0773 298 522 or email feedback to [email protected]