Webster Shamu influenced my father



MY father was born and bred in Mbare.

He was born in a horrible era, the Rhodesian era.

My father Charles Dumba better known as Charlie Watts left home to join the liberation struggle in 1975.

The brutal oppression of Africans by Rhodesians inspired him to join the liberation struggle.

Though still a teenager father felt the cruelty of the system and decided that only fighting would improve the lot of the black majority.

Not a single sector of the economy was open to blacks, other than menial jobs.

Africans could not assume anything significant, even socially indigenes were relegated to the worst of areas.

The various inspections and body searches carried out by Rhodesians made him feel like an animal.

The owners of the land could not freely move about in their land, they had to make notifications to the ‘authorities’ regarding where they wanted to go.

All these things riled my father.

Before receiving relatives especially from the rural areas notification had to be made stating the number of visitors and the duration of their visit.

In 1974, when he was 15, his father passed away and left the family in a dilemma.

The father of the house was regarded as the bread winner and the whites said only his existence gave his family the right to live in the city.

His death meant, to whites, the closure of his home.

My grandmother pleaded to be allowed to remain in her house.

She was allowed to remain in the house provided that my father took my grandfather’s place at Salisbury Industries where he worked.

Thus my father had no choice but to work for a Mr Richards .

The working conditions were harsh and father got his first taste of how the majority of black men were surviving.

Working meant my father had to quit school; the boy was forced to become a man before his time.

It was at this time that he came to realise the nastiness of the whiteman.

My father lived in the same neighbourhood with comrades Webster Shamu who was a radio Disc Jockey then, the late Herbert Chitepo, Bhasopo Moyo, Herbert Murerwa and the  late Rex Nhongo.

These men held meetings and discussed the liberation struggle at the then famous Blue Bar.

Having been forced to become a man, my father began to frequent bars and from there he began to understand what was happening.

He heard Cde Shamu talk about the importance of the struggle, joining the war and in no time it was all over the news that Dj Master Blaster (Cde Shamu) was missing.

Deep inside father knew that he had gone to the war and he appreciated that the man was not only as preacher but a doer.

This is the time that thoughts to leave the country took root.

Soon a majority of the people that included Marko Vheremu, Blah Petsi and Jonah were also rumoured to have joined the struggle.

And in no time father felt he also had to act, he had to join Vanamukoma.

To be continued



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