HomeOpinionZANLA’s revenge in Murehwa

ZANLA’s revenge in Murehwa

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The story of Cde Chrispen Samuel

MY name is Chrispen Samuel and this is my story.
I was born at Harare Hospital, now Sally Mugabe Hospital, in Harare, the then Salisbury, in 1953.
I grew up in Dzivarasekwa, then known as Gillingham  and went to Gillingham Primary School.
Upon completion of my primary education in 1967, I relocated to Chiweshe where I stayed with my grandfather, John Chamboko.
I was 14-years-old.
It was on the farms of Chiweshe that I first witnessed the cruelty of Rhodesians.
Africans were treated like toddlers; they were often beaten with sjamboks for minor mistakes and subjected to poor working conditions.
It was slavery indeed.
In 1973, I relocated to Goromonzi after my aunt had secured a job for me at Boaderlands Farm.
In July 1973, my friends Tinashe Magorimbo, Tapiwa Muzerengwa and Takundwa Rusike and I met freedom fighters on our way from Rusike Village.
It was on a Friday, around midnight.
I will forever vividly remember this day.
We had gone for a drink in the village and had had more than enough of home brewed beer.
I was struck with fear when I realised that our interceptors were armed with guns.
We had heard about freedom fighters but had not yet seen them.
It was their first appearance in Goromonzi.
They introduced themselves to us and told us not to be scared because their mission was to liberate us from the unbearable yoke of British imperialism.
Among them were Cdes Mudanhazvuru, Masweets, Shungu, Takesure and Nhamo yeZimbabwe.
They gave us political orientation which sparked my zeal to fight the Rhodies.
They instructed us to inform all the farmworkers to come to Manjonjo Village just across Nyaguwe River the following night for political orientation, popularly known as pungwe.
We managed to secretly mobilise people from our farm and two other farms as well as villagers from Rusike and Manjonjo villages, little did we know that among the people were sellouts.
Things went according to plan, people turned out for the pungwe in their numbers.
The meeting started around 10pm in the cold night of July.
Political orientation was carried out by Cde Madanhazvuru.
I cannot explain the euphoria when Cde Masweets started singing Chimurenga songs.
Everyone danced until until late in the night.
We dispersed around 3am.
The following day Rhodesian soldiers launched an operation to arrest everyone who attended the meeting.
I smelt a rat when I saw two Rhodesian military jeeps approaching our farm.
I had gone to relieve myself in the bush.
I whistled to my friends who were still sleeping in the compound. Fortunately they swiftly responded and we managed to escape.
I escaped with Tinashe, Tapiwa and Tangundwa because we knew we were the targets.
The freedom fighters had told us to escape the moment we sensed danger.
As collaborators, we did not have guns, our feet and senses were our weapons.
Freedom fighters had established a base along Chivake River in Murehwa and we were the only people who knew that base.
We were lucky to reach the base unnoticed since Rhodies carried out their operations during the day.
We reported this operation to the freedom fighters who told us to stay with them since going back would be signing our death warrant.
At around midday, we were shocked to see a huge cloud of smoke in Manjonjo Village.
Rhodies had seized all suspects who had attended the pungwe and set their huts on fire.
All captives, we were later told, were taken to a Rhodesian military base at Gomonzi business centre.
This did not go down well with freedom fighters.
They had to prove to the masses their ability to protect and liberate them.
They had an obligation to instill confidence in the masses.
Takundwa and I were sent with a letter to a base in Uzumba, in Mandebvu Village, seeking reinforcement to attack the Rhodies.
The journey took us two days.
We safely arrived at the base and handed over the letter.
We returned safely.
Freedom fighters from Uzumba arrived after two days.
A meeting was conducted and we were excluded from that meeting.
We were sent to Manjonjo Village to tell people not to use the main road the following day because freedom fighters were going to plant landmines on that road during the night.
Landmines were planted as freedom fighters wanted to ambush Rhodies along the main road.
They patiently waited for them.
We were told to go to another base 10km away along Chivake River and wait for vanamukoma.
At around 2pm we heard a loud blast.
The Rhodesian trucks were blasted by the mines followed by heavy gunfire.
In no time, the sky was filled with ugly killing machines.
We could see heavy bombardment from a distance and we feared for the lives of our comrades.
I panicked because my life was in the hands of the freedom fighters since the Rhodies were hunting us.
The battle lasted until sunset.
I will live to remember the feeling of relief I felt when vanamukoma started arriving at the base.
We lost four comrades from the Uzumba section in that battle.
Cde Masweets and Cde Shungu escaped with minor injuries.
That night we walked towards Mutoko.
We established a base in a Mountain in Muswe Village.
I will forever live to celebrate that revenge attack.
It gave us confidence in the strength of freedom fighters and their ability to protect us.
Compiled by Emergencey Mwale-Kamtande.

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