Zimbabwe Diverse, But One


SOMETIME in 1969 I, together with other comrades like Joshua Mahlathini Mpofu, Bhekuzulu Khumalo, Sinyoro, Sharpshoot and Livingstone Mashengele, was based at the Nkomo Camp, Mahlenyika Farm, west of Lusaka, Zambia. This was a ZIPRA camp. The camp commander was Cde Mafu and the commander responsible for our further military training was Cde Khezwana. Our group had just returned from Moscow and other parts of the Soviet Union where we had undergone military, military communications and military intelligence training. Other groups at our camp, including Cde Sinyoro’s, had just come back from military operations in Zimbabwe. At the time, the Commander of ZIPRA was Cde Akim Ndlovu, and Cde Robson Manyika his deputy, was also ZIPRA’s Chief of Staff. Cde Roma Nyathi was ZIPRA’s National Commissar, with Cde Tshinga Dube as Chief of Communications (that was the department I belonged to), Abraham Nkiwane was the Chief of Personnel, Dumiso Dabengwa was the Chief of Intelligence, with Cde Cornius Nhloko (burried on 17th February 2011 as a national hero) already one of the most senior comrades in that department, Cde Phelekezela Mphoko was the Chief of Logistics and Cde John Dube was the Chief of Operations. When I was at this camp, Cdes Nikita Mangena, Ambrose Mutinhiri, Lookout Masauku, C. Cele and A. Nxele were the senior commanders at Morogoro in Tanzania and other places where the Party had deployed them as people in charge of training. Cde Ethan Dube was the comrade in charge in Dar-es-Salaam. Cdes Solomon Mujuru and Elijah Mugabe had left us behind in the USSR to join another group that was sent for further military training in Bulgaria. Cde Owen Tshabangu was also a member of this group. It was one afternoon when I was reading revolutionary literature written by and about revolutionaries and philosophers like Karl Marx, Frederic Engels, V. I. Lenin, Mao tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Amilcar Cabral, Che Guevara, Agostinho Neto, Ho Chi Minh, Stalin and others, when I wrote the following poem entitled A MAZE OF BLOOD. The poem was eventually published in 1981 in Zimbabwe by Mambo Press in the poetry anthology: And Now The Poets Speak: A MAZE OF BLOOD A Shona married a Ndebele, Children were born. A Ndebele married a Khalanga Children were born. A Suthu married a Shona, Children were born. A Tonga-Ndebele child Married a Shona-Ndebele child, Children were born. A Shona-English child Married a Shona-Ndebele child Who married a Tonga-Suthu child Who married a Khalanga-English child Who married a Shona-Ndebele- Suthu child Who married a Tonga child Who married a Ndebele child Who married a Khalanga child Who married an English-Ndebele- Nyanja-Tonga child Who married a Ndebele-Shona- Khalanga child Who married a Shona child Who married Tonga-Khalanga child And Zimbabwe was born. The main message of the poem is that Zimbabweans are one, they are a maze of blood that makes it impossible for anyone to start dividing the people along tribal grounds as Rhodes and his hordes of settlers, egged on by the British ruling class, tried to do. The poem is one small way of fighting tribalism. The liberation struggle was national, the first war of liberation in 1893 against British colonialism and white racism was national, it involved all the tribes in Zimbabwe, though the Rhodesians tried their best to make it a Ndebele-only war against British colonialism, and many of our history books on this war have also followed the same trend, a false mind- set based on the non-existent tribal antagonism between the Shonas and the Ndebeles. There was never hatred between these two tribes because the Ndebele people were already over 80 percent Shona at the time. The subsequent wars of liberation in the country took the cue from this first war as they were all national, they all went against the schemes of divide and rule that Rhodes and his hordes tried to use against the colonised people of Zimbabwe. When the British invaded the country in 1890, they said they had done so in order to “liberate the Mashona from the Matabele”. Of course the people rejected this right up to the end of the liberation struggle as they fought as one until the country became independent on April 18 1980. Of course, the enemy had its black collaborators right up to the end. The enemy is still licking its wounds inflicted on it by that war, and it is still fighting the people as it is still trying to prevent the country from achieving genuine independence and sovereignty, that is, as the country is moving full steam ahead with the programme of indigenisation and economic empowerment. Political power without economic power is meaningless, the people know this. That is why now our land is back to us, and on the ground in all our provinces it is clear that the land reform programme is very successful in spite of the fact that the financial sector is still dominated by Cecil John Rhodes’ banks, that is, the British banks that funded his venture to colonise the country. Part of that venture were the agreements and instructions to all financial institutions never to give loans to black people, those agreements and instructions have continued up to today, that is why it is virtually impossible for black people, except an insignificant number, to access loans in the country today, the rules are still very much Rhodesian – for instance, banks want security or collateral in the form of title deeds. But how do citizens of Bulawayo provide that kind of security when 70 percent of houses in the city have no title deeds? These are houses in the high density suburbs, the former African Townships whose main purpose was to house black labour that normally resided in the African Reserves. And how do communal farmers raise this security when they have no title deed for anything in the communal lands. And how do graduates from our universities have the required security when their parents or guardians do not have it? The economy therefore is still a neo-colonial one. It has to be totally changed through blacks owning it and controlling it, if by so doing there are economic disruptions, let it be, we went to war, after all, and we disrupted the economy by engaging in that war. Martin Kadzere (Business Herald, Harare, Thursday, 17th February 2011 noted that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was complaining that some banks did not want to lend money to the people. “The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently indicated that some multinational banks operating in the country were sitting on huge deposits while the economy continued to face liquidity constraints. Foreign-controlled banks Barclays Bank, Stanbic and Standard Chartered were among the banking institutions with the lowest loans to deposit ratios (LDR) last year. Statistics released by the central bank showed that Barclays had the lowest LDR of 25,23 percent, having advanced US$43,6 million from deposits of US$172,9 million. LDR for Stanbic stood at 33, 9 percent as the bank advanced US$100,5 million from deposits of US$296,6 million.” (Standard Chartered Bank came to the country with Rhodes). Our black farmers need bank loans, so do blacks in all the sectors of the economy, blacks do not want to continue any more to be employees of racist British companies, they want to own the economy themselves, they want to be employers themselves.


  1. My name is George Sithole from Bulawayo Public Library, working under the department of historic reference collection. I need your assistance on a number of books that you have published, if you can donate one for the library

    Hope i will get a favorable response from you

    George Sithole (Archivist)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here