The Sunday Mail
“I have a lot of mouths to feed and right now I do not have any peace of mind. I have to wonder where my children and grandchildren will get their next meal. I’m appealing to anyone out there who can help me in this regard. As soon as I’m fit I will be back at work.”
This was the late Dickson “Cde Chinx” Chingaira’s cry for help when he spoke to this writer for an article published in this paper on December 4 2016. That was six months before the liberation war hero succumbed to cancer.
After the story was published, scores of well-wishers flocked to Cde Chinx’s Chitungwiza home with all kinds of goodies. Some offered medical help while others gave him money.
However, a few weeks later, his condition deteriorated.
He was in and out of hospital for the next few months until his lifeless body eventually headed to the morgue.
A six-year battle with leukaemia had come to an end.
In-between, the “Roger Confirm” singer had been dragged out of his hospital bed in a wheelchair to receive his gift — a three-bedroomed house in Sentosa, Mabelreign, built by well-wishers led by Zimbabwe Music Awards chairman Joseph Nyadzayo.
It has been two years since Cde Chinx died, on this exact day, June 16.
Sadly, his family has a similar cry to the one this publication carried in December 2016 as they faced a bleak Christmas. The first of his two widows, Patricia, spoke to The Sunday Mail Society last Thursday ahead of the two-year commemoration of the liberation war hero’s death.
While the family has moved from Chitungwiza to the affluent suburb of Mabelreign, their fortunes have not improved. Patricia said she is asking for a fishing rod and some bait as she already knows how to do the fishing on her own.
“Before his death, Cde Chinx told us that this land is wealth. He told us that if we want to prosper, to live a good life, then we should use our land. He reminded us that we fought and some died for this land. Therefore, we should respect the land by working on it,” she said.
Cde Chinx’s widow, who has an 80-hectare farm in Marondera, said she lost her tractor because of a debt.
Therefore she was unable to put her land to good use this past farming season.
“When Cde Chinx was in hospital, we had a US$500 debt and these guys came and took away our tractor. After a week, we went to pay them so that we could get the tractor back but we were told that it had already been sold. Imagine, such cannibalism,” she said.
Patricia said had it not been the fact that her husband was incapacitated, that would not have happened.
The widow really feels her husband’s absence, saying that there are certain doors that she cannot open on her own.
“We have irrigation equipment and electricity. We used to take our produce to the Grain Marketing Board when Cde Chinx was well and we were able to operate normally. If I get a tractor and a few other farm implements to start again, I can assure you I will be able to fully take care of my family,” said Patricia.
She added: “I’m so hurt. I managed to get fertiliser and seed maize but I could not plant. I could not find anyone to help me cultivate the land. The inputs remain unused as we speak and I’ll try again this year. My husband and l used to practice farming therefore l have the experience. l can still be a successful farmer.”
Patricia, who met Cde Chinx during Zimbabwe’s war of liberation in Mozambique in 1976, said she was grateful for the beautiful home she now lives in but misses her husband, who only enjoyed it very briefly.
“I want to thank Mr (Joseph) Nyadzayo for this house. It is so comfortable. The neighbours are good to us and we love it here. Nguva shoma yavakauya (Cde Chinx), vaibuda panze voenda pachivezwa panze apo vosvikoti ndokushata kwandakaita here uku? Aive ma jokes zvawo semunhu aingogara achitamba zvake (The little time he spent here, he would go out to the sculpture and would say, is this how ugly I am? Of course, he would be joking – he was a jocular person),” she reminisced.
During the entire interview with The Sunday Mail Society, on and off record, Patricia skirted the issue of Cde Chinx’s music legacy.
In the 2016 interview, Cde Chinx spoke about a seven-track album he had recorded and was ready to be released.
However, his widow seems to know very little about that; nor does she seem to have any interest on the subject.
One of Cde Chinx’s sons sang some of his father’s popular songs at his funeral and was seen as the one to carry on with his father’s legacy. However, he has been quiet ever since.
In his heyday, Cde Chinx scooped two awards from M-Net Africa in the 1990s for his role in the movie “Flame”. In 2005, he received a Silver Jubilee Award at the National Arts Merit Awards (Most Inspiring Song of the Liberation War) for the song “Vanhu Vese Vemu Africa”.
In 2014, he scooped the Chairman’s Award at the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima), which came with a special gift of a three-bedroomed house.