He fought the war from Mbare: Part one

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By Sylvester Ruzive

THOUSANDS of people sacrificed their lives for Zimbabwe to gain independence in 1980.
My grandfather together with his children that included my father Raphael Ruzive, were among those that were heavily involved in the Second Chimurenga.
The involvement of my grandfather in the politics of the day in the 60s influenced my own father and his brothers to join the liberation struggle.
The Ruzive family was made up of seven boys and two girls and through narrations by my uncle, Pio Homo Ruzive, I came to know of their contribution to the liberation struggle.
Uncle Pio says their father was the reason they got involved in the struggle to dislodge colonial rule.
From a tender age, they got to know of the cruelty and injustice of the white man.
They were told how the invaders had usurped power taking everything that rightfully belonged to Africans and turning them into third class citizens who had no rights in their own country.
The black men were taught to understand that animals had rights and were to be treated better than blacks.
My grandfather was among black people who suffered after their land and cattle had been forcefully taken away by the white man.
After getting an education, my grandfather was among the first residents of Mbare then known as Harare.
His house was number 72 Zata Street where Uncle Pio is currently staying.
But he never viewed this chance, of being in Harare as a benefit as he felt and experienced the brutality and unfairness of the colonial system.
He was a teacher by profession.
It is important to note that before coming to the then Salisbury, now Harare as a teacher, my grandfather had taught the late Vice-President Dr Simon Vengesai Muzenda in Masvingo, then Fort Victoria.
Grandfather used the classroom as a platform to conscientise African children, teaching them how the Rhodesians had stolen their land.
As a family, they started to participate in politics by attending National Democratic Party (NDP) and ZAPU meetings and then later on ZANU.
During these meetings, they got to understand that the white man could only be removed by the barrel of the gun and that Mbuya Nehanda’s prophecy would be fulfilled.
In 1963, my uncle Pio was among those who attended the inaugural ZANU Congress held in Gweru.
He attended as a representative of the youths from Salisbury and that crucial congress was the only one held in the country before independence.
Uncle Pio remembers how grandfather and other cadres began bringing weapons into the country from Zambia.
Unfortunately, grandfather and his friend Dr Taderera who was a university lecturer were arrested by the Rhodesian police.
Dr Taderera managed to apply for bail and after his release skipped the border.
Knowing that Dr Taderera had left the country and was safe, grandfather changed his statement to the police putting all the blame on his friend in order to be released.
Although freed, my grandfather was restricted to his house.
But grandfather never lost his zeal to spread the revolution to others.
He encouraged his children to take part in the struggle.
Thus my father Raphael, uncles Alouis, Hieroyno and Pio became highly active in politics.
As brothers, they participated in the liberation struggle in different ways.

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