Testimonies of a former Rhodesian prison officer


IN December 1974 a group of 10 boys from Mahusekwa went to Marondera Prison where they met Sergeant Gwamah and Sergeant Chorira, prison staff who supported ZAPU.
The two officers convinced the group to join the prisons in order to assist the political detainees and prisoners who were being captured by the Rhodesians.
Although the mission was to assist the freedom fighters, the African prison warders were forced by their Rhodesian superiors to torture, brutalise and at times beat to death their fellow countrymen fighting for freedom.
The Patriot managed to track down some of the surviving prison warders who were coerced by the Rhodesians to torture and murder freedom fighters.
Charles Mudokwani who is one of the survivors was the first to give his account.
The traumatised Mudokwani said upon completing his training at Chikurubi Prison he was posted to Hwahwa Prison near Gweru in 1975.
Mudokwani says he fought with his Rhodesian superiors after the arrival of his father with other arrested nationalists at the prison in 1975.
The African warder was thoroughly beaten and later assigned to guard, one Farai Uzumba, a businessman from Mutoko Tribal Lands who was admitted at Gweru Central Hospital due to serious injuries he sustained from the torture by members of the Rhodesian notorious Special Branch.
Uzumba was arrested for supporting guerrillas who operated in his area with food and clothes.
At the hospital, Mudokwani smuggled letters and allowed Uzumba’s wife and children to visit him, violating the prison protocol.
The two, Mudokwani and Uzumba, were captured and thoroughly beaten and detained in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) cells for two weeks.
Unfortunately Uzumba died in the cells.
Mudokwani said African warders were forced to beat freedom fighters who were caught crossing the border for military training.
Sadly Mudokwani now claims that he is being haunted by the spirits of the freedom fighters he killed in prison.
“It was painful to beat a fellow African who was fighting for your freedom, but we had no choice,” Mudokwani said.
“Taivarova zvakaomarara kutoita kafira mberi.
“Vamwe vacho vaizofa dzinova ngozi dzava kutinetsa nhasi.”
At Khami Prison, Mudokwani said they severely tortured freedom fighters.
“Taivabvisa hembe tovaisa mumakomba vakarara nemusana vakatarisa mudenga,” he said.
“Varimumakomba umu taivafushira tongosiya musoro chete.
“Makororo taizoati amhanye nemabhara pamusoro pavo.
“The freedom fighters were also put in big deep holes where they would spend the whole day hammering huge stones to small concrete stones.
“This was torture as they were subjected to severe heat of the sun and would be affected by the sparks from the stones they would be hammering.”
According to Mudokwani, a prisoner who misbehaved was put in isolation which was called a dark cell.
In the dark cell, prisoners at times had water poured over them and given little food for survival.
Mudokwani who once worked in the Condemn Section (death row) said the condemned prisoners used to shout at them when warders came to take prisoners for the hangman.
“Vaienda kunouraiwa vaitituka vachiti sei uchiuraya hama dzenyu?,” he said.
“Kushandiswa nevarungu kuuraya varwi verusununguko.”
The warders, said Mudokwani, were instructed to destroy the manhood of the hanged fighters so as to avoid avenging spirits.
“The hanging of the guerrillas was the most traumatising part of my profession as I am being haunted today,” he said.
“I am being haunted by the spirits of those guerrillas.
“They come to me in dreams asking why I killed them.
“At times I struggle in the dreams and end up beating up my wife who was also a prison officer in Rhodesia.”
The former Rhodesian prison warder said he is now surviving on mental illness tablets which he gets from Parirenyatwa Hospital, Annex Department.
He said he is looking after two of his former workmates in Rhodesia who he said are also mentally disturbed because they also tortured and killed liberation fighters.
“I am looking after two of my friends in Mahusekwa,” said Mudokwani.
“Both of them are traumatised by what they saw and did to the liberation fighters in prison.
“My friends’ situation is even worse than mine as they are really mad now.
“I am taking care of them because they are my friends and I feel that we are in the same predicament.”


  1. What a whole bunch of bull, I was at the Salisbury Maximum Prison at that time and none of this happened, this guy just made up this crap.


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