By Thulani Kutsanza
AT the age of 15 in 1968 my late father Patrick Mapune aka Cde Tendai Mudzimu left his Mutoko rural home to look for work in the city.
He told me that he could not proceed to secondary school because his father did not have sufficient funds to pay for his tuition fees.
His father fought the Second World and only received a wrist watch upon completion of service.
When his grandfather returned his ‘wealth’ had been destroyed since no one was taking care of it.
Since he returned home with only a wrist watch as payment for his services, he could not look after his family properly.
He joined the army and worked at Llewellyn Barracks where he was later fired for allegedly disrespecting his white superiors.
When my father arrived in Salisbury (Harare) he found employment as a gardener in Borrowdale.
He would walk from Mbare hostels to Borrowdale.
One day my grandfather visited my father at the hostels.
Since grandfather arrived in the evening there was no time to inform the authorities since they were supposed to book every visitor.
A raid was conducted at 11pm that evening.
My father was thoroughly beaten for accommodating his father without informing the authorities.
My grandfather was clapped and made to spend the rest of the night in a drum full of dirty water in the common bathroom.
He was under the guard of an African policeman.
This enraged my father.
In the morning my father quit his job and returned to Mutoko with my grandfather.
When he arrived in Mutoko he went to a pungwe that very night.
At the pungwe he narrated his story to Cde Dzivareropa who was the political commissar.
He told him that he wanted to go to Mozambique to join ZANLA forces.
His main objective was to fight the Rhodesians and do away with colonial rule.
He wanted to destroy the Ian Smith regime which had tormented him for accommodating his father in Mbare hostels without informing the so-called authorities.
After the pungwe he left with the guerillas.
At the guerrillas’ base my father met other boys who were also in transit to Mozambique.
The young cadres were escorted to the Nyamapanda border by Cdes Hamadziripi and Dzivareropa.
At the boarder they met a group of eight cadres who had come from Murehwa.
They were handed over to four ZANLA guerrillas.
He passed through many ZANLA bases.
He left Mozambique to receive military training in Tanzania.
From Tanzania he went to Romania for further training.
My father returned from Romania and was deployed to Doroi Base Four where he headed the commissariat and was deputised by Cde Chinx.
Chimurenga music was an integral part of the struggle and with people like Cde Chinx’s they helped to keep morale high.
He served at Doroi until independence.
After Independence he was integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army.
While in the army he went to Mozambique to fight the RENAMO rebels.
He also went to Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He died in 2007 and was buried in Mutoko.
He left behind three children.
My father’s boldness and courage to fight the Rhodesians continues to inspire me.
It taught me that whites are not in any way superior to black people.
I salute my late father for taking up arms to fight the Rhodies.
It pains me when people disrespect and abuse war veterans.
Some might view them as insane but they are just people passionate about their country for they know first hand the pain experienced and endured to free the country from colonial bondage.
If it was not for the sacrifice of these people we would be staying in hostels while our families lived in the rural areas.
I urge war veterans to tell their children their stories so that they are not lost.
Rhodesians are busy distorting our history, it is important that we also tell the liberation struggle from our perspective.