Farewell Comrade

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I WILL not claim to have detailed knowledge of Comrade Edgar Tekere. I only saw him briefly behind the battle-lines in 1977, but that is another story for another day. The long and short about him is that he was never far from controversy. He was consistent about one thing right up to his death. He was a patriot, a liberator who devoted his whole life to the nation. I cannot write any better than all that has been said about him. What I reflect on here is a collection of gems, pure elixir, distortions and detritus around the passing on of Cde Tekere affectionately known as Two-Boy, Murambatsvina Tekere. This is the beginning of many narratives that will roll off the pens of many who will claim they hold a bit of the past of this son of the soil. Everyone claims to know something about him. Everyone seems to be trying to bring him to their side. Others seem to be carving political capital out of his death by measuring his status against others. I am not quite sure whether we should measure him in terms of others unless we want to create diversions. Why don’t we talk of Cde Edgar and Cde Edgar only? This is his moment of glory as he passes on. Why should we drag him into the mud of our failures and incompetencies? After all, we are all mere mortals. Our brief in this moment of grief is to celebrate the life of a patriot. Some say he had a charismatic appeal that brought calm when he walked into the streets of Highfield at the height of Zanu/Zapu rivalry in 1963-64. Others claim they were with him along with President Mugabe and the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena when they crossed into Mozambique to resume the armed struggle. After independence, he was always in the thick of things and after the death of one ibhunu, amabhunu always gave him a wide berth. Some say at his funeral politicians of certain political parties were not given space to mourn because they wine and dine with our adversaries. Some say they were actually chased from the funeral wake not by some bouncers or agents, but village womenfolk who were infuriated by their presence. I was not there, I do not really know what transpired, it’s just that the Shona say pafa munhu hapashaikwi mashoko. Some say a whole nation waited with bated breath to hear the announcement of his status. Narrow regionalists say a whole province was most concerned. All I can say is we cannot belittle Two- Boy to provincial status. It goes without saying that he was a national figure. Others say why grant him such status when others in the past were not. But it is always difficult and often improper to measure one in terms of another. We achieve nothing, but open up old sores. The weird writer Oscar Wilde once said something to the effect that the truth is a rare commodity. I am not quite sure where to place the multiplicity of stories around the fallen hero in terms of that elusive phenomenon called the truth. Some say Mugabe ‘hated’ Tekere. If this is a simple truth, why did the writer(s) have to put it in quotes? Is it some theory or some speculation by the writer about people who travelled shoulder to shoulder on the long walk to liberation? Some clandestinely sneaked into some high-level meetings and carved out juicy titbits such as that some politicians did not want Two-Boy to be a national hero. Some said he is a hero because he is a hero and others said he is a hero personified. The accolades are endless and will require volumes and these are sure to come. Some claim to have read his book and extracted little portions of it to suit their own arguments. Maybe a full review would do it justice. We will look into this matter in the near future One thing is clear, his national stature and heroic status are undisputable. His history is our pride and our heritage. Controversial in life, regal in repose, he will always have a special place in our chronicles. Everyone tried to be identified with him, liberators, pseudo-liberators, patriots, traitors, villains and probably this is the best thing that has come out of the painful loss of another gallant son of the soil. He was just the typical war veteran, true to himself and to the world, lived an honest life and ultimately earned the nation’s respect … Hambakahle comrade.

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