The story of Tafirenyeka Munaka
MY name is Tafirenyeka Munaka and I am 85 years old.
I was born at Makumbe Mission hospital in Chinamhora and this is my story.
I grew up very close to my uncle Tobias Munaka in my home village of Munemo in Chinamhora, Domboshava.
I liked my uncle because he used to tell me a lot of stories about my great great-grandfather Munaka Gumboreshumba, the murdered hero Sekuru Kaguvi.
I am proud of him and my heart bleeds for his remains which are being kept in a British museum.
My uncle was good at playing the mbira and I was quick to learn and master the Zimbabwe-invented instrument when I was 14 years.
I was in Standard Two at Makumbe Primary School.
I was good at playing the mbira such that I started playing at traditional ceremonies.
My aunt Matinanga Tsvanhu, nee Munaka, was a spirit medium of Sekuru Kaguvi’s spirit.
Freedom fighters first came to our area in 1977 and they would come to our homestead for spiritual guidance.
During the liberation struggle, vanamukoma (freedom fighters) consulted our own African sprit mediums in areas of their operations.
That was the first port of call before settling in an area.
I was present when the first group of freedom fighters came.
It was in December, I remember, because it was raining and we were working on the fields.
Only two came into our traditional hut, Cde Musorowenzomba and Cde Jimmie Macrook.
They were told about the rules they were to abide by and were promised that victory will come after two years, 1979.
They were told it was here in Chinhamora where guerillas who were to destroy the enemy in the capital, then then Salisbury, were going to be anointed by Zimbiru, a spirit medium in Zimbiru Village here in Chinamhora.
They left and then another group arrived.
This group was led by Cde Farai.
Word reached the Auxiliary Forces that my aunt was assisting freedom fighters spiritually.
A raid was organised on a rainy night in December 1977. The spirit medium had warned us of the raid but somehow we took it for granted.
Chinamhora was heavily infested with Abel Muzorewa’s infamous Auxiliary Forces and unlike guerillas who operated far away from their homes, Auxiliary Forces or Madzakutsaku, as they were known, operated from their home areas.
They were foolishly convinced that liberation forces were poorly trained and were going to lose the war.
Muzorewa’s soldiers gave us a hard time here.
They raped girls and terrorised us.
They were criminals terrorising their own kith and kin because they had guns.
True to the spirit medium’s prediction, Madzakutsaku pounced on our village in the middle of the night.
Some girls managed to hide others, about eight, were taken together with me, my aunt the spirit medium as well as my uncle Tobias.
We were force-marched for about 4km to their base which was in Makuti.
The rains stopped when we were still on our way.
We were thoroughly beaten and they took turns to sexually assault the girls.
When they raided us, they told us to carry our mbira instruments.
They later forced us to play mbira music for them after they got drunk.
We played and they sang along until the spirit of Sekuru Kaguvi descended on its medium, my aunt.
Although they were armed and drunk, they all listened attentively when my aunt started speaking.
They were told they were going to be punished and some cursed for life for their war crimes, raping and terrorising their own people.
They were told the spirits of the land were angry at them and the war was soon to be won by sons and daughters of the soil.
Their leader who had ordered the execution of the spirit medium changed his mind the following morning.
We were told we were to go back home before we were cautioned about our role of spiritually guiding vanamukoma because if we were to be caught by Rhodesian forces, we were going to be executed.
That of course was not something new to us.
Rhodesian forces had a base at Makumbe Mission Hospital which was led by the infamous Selous Scout, Roy Bennett, popularly known as ‘Muzezuru’ for his eloquence in Shona language.
Muzezuru had no mercy and no respect for Africans.
Many died by his hands at Makumbe Mission.
Although we were lucky to escape execution, the fact that Madzakutsaku were our own brothers whom we stayed with in the same villages were the ones who terrorised us and raped their own still hurts me to date.
These selfish cowards who joined the enemy for the love of money committed war crimes and never faced justice. They are walking freely yet the wounds they inflicted on their own people are still bleeding.
Compiled by Emergencey Mwale-Kamtande