Harare, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) – LAST week, Cde Joseph Khumalo, whose birth name was Cde Joel Samuel Siyangapi Muzhamba narrated how he was among the first group of Zanu comrades to receive military training in Ghana in 1964. He spoke about the sellouts in Zanu’s Dare ReChimurenga who sold information to the Smith regime leading to the arrest of many comrades during the 1960s.
Cde Khumalo ended his narration last week, when he was speaking about preparations to visit Mbuya Nehanda before the start of the liberation struggle. This week, he picks up the narration from the time they went to meet the spirit medium of Sekuru Chipfeni.
He spoke to the Sunday Mail team in Harare comprising Munyaradzi Huni and Tendai Manzvanzvika in graphic details about the meeting between Mbuya Nehanda and the Zanu leadership that was based in Zambia at the time. Cde Tongogara was told why, despite being the leader of the fighters, he would not see a free Zimababwe. Cde Chimurenga and Cde Chitepo were told of their fate in chilling ways.
But before all this, Mbuya Nehanda had told the Zanu leaders about the leader who was to lead the country after independence. This is the stuff for believers and not those who question anything that they can’t prove.
The interview is below:
SM: Last week, you were talking about going to see Sekuru Chipfeni as you prepared to go and see Mbuya Nehanda. Take us through this journey.
Cde Khumalo: So Sekuru Chipfeni took us to Sekuru Chidyamauyu who told us the same thing to go and see Nehanda Nyakasikana. He told us that chinofa pamunhu inyama but mweya haufi. So mweya waMbuya Nehanda wakanogara pamuchembere uyu Nehanda Nyakasikana. Sekuru Chidyamauyu took us to Sekuru Chiodzamamera. These three spirit mediums then took us to Mambo Chiweshe who told us the same story. He said before taenda kunoona Nehanda Nyakasikana panodiwa fodya. We said we don’t have even a cent to buy fodya yacho. Mambo Chiweshe vakanotsvaga zvambwa zvavo zvefodya, nemachira aidiwa – jira jena nejira dema, nere blue about one metre each.
SM: Tell us now how you eventually went to see Mbuya Nehanda.
Cde Khumalo: Cde Joseph Chimurenga, Cde Kenny Ridzai and a few others were the ones who went to her homestead first. They were told about everything that was needed before we could all meet her. We were told to come nefodya inonzi chambwa chematare. As we arrived, we were told to leave all our guns outside the homestead because vakati havadi kunhuhwirwa neunga hwepfuti. The homestead was in Musengezi very close to the Mozambican border. The place is actually called Nyakazikana.
When we got into matare acho, Mbuya vakati kuno kwandiri hakusiri iko kwandichataurira matare angu ese nekuti ndikasara kuno tapedza zvandiri kuda kuita, varungu vanenge vondivhima. She said you are supposed to carry me over to the Mozambican side where I want to meet all your leaders.
I need to tell you that in the beginning we had lots of doubts about Mbuya Nehanda. We were saying Mbuya Nehanda vakasungurirwa vakafa saka uyu ndiNehanda upi? But we later understood the whole story.
To begin with, Mbuya Nehanda vakati tine mhiko yatakarangana nemhondoro dzemhiri kwaZambezi dzekuMozambique. Saka inini handichayambuki mhiri kwaZambezi. Kuti ndiyambuke kunge matotaura nemhondoro dzemhiri kuMozambique kuti vanditendere kuyambuka.
Vakabva vandisimudza inini vachiti “Nyamuzihwa simukai. Iwewe Nyamuzihwa wakapfeka maziso mana.” I was wearing glasses. She said you don’t believe what I am saying here. I stammered saying ahhh, yes. Then she said to Joseph Chimurenga, “mwana uyu urikumuona?” Chimurenga then said yes, I see him. She then said, “I will talk more about this boy kana tabira mhiri.”
She turned to me saying “Nyamuzihwa, kuti mutende zvandiri kutaura, ndati parwizi apo pane mhiko. Mhondoro yaMbuya Nehanda iyeye wamunoziva kusvika pandiri dzaitonga kubva munyika ino kusvika kunyika yemaPortuguese inonzi Beira. Kwese kwana Tete, yanga iri mumaoko angu. Mhondoro dzese dzeikoko dzakanga dziri mumaoko angu.
Saka chinzwai Nyamuzihwa, nenyaya yekuti hamusi kutenda, kuti ndini Nehanda, ndava kukupa basa. Basa randiri kukupa, kana mayambuka Zambezi, pane gomo rakadai, rakadai. Mochienda ikoko Nyamuzihwa kana masvika ikoko vachakuratidzai zvakaita kuti pave nemhiko yekuti ini ndisayambuki Zambezi.
Kana mhondoro dzemhiri ikoko kana dzabvuma kuti ndiyambuke, dzichakonya (kukuma). Kana dzekuno dzabvuma zvekare, idzo dzekoko dzikatanga kukonya, dzekuno dzinofanirwa kukonyawo. Kana dzakonya zvoreva kuti ndatenderwa kubira mhiri kwaZambezi. Asi mvura yemunaZambezi handidirwi.
Saka Nyamuzihwa chiendayi zvizhinji totaura ndabira mhiri. I said to myself, mhondoro, mhondoro dzipiko? I still couldn’t believe what she was saying.
So I went to this spirit medium around Kakwidze area. Vakandipa chimwadiya and some people to cross the Zambezi river. As we going this spirit medium yakandiratidza ruware vachiti kana tanoona masvikiro ekuMozambique tichadzoka paruware apa, ndipo patichapihwa mhinduro yekuti mhondoro dzatenderana. Takasvika kusvikoro rekuMozambique kwava kuda kuvira tichibva tagara kunze kwechivanze. Takapihwa chambwa nembanje zvikanzi chiendai munoona svikiro iri.
SM: How many were you?
Cde Khumalo: We were five. It was me, Cde Chinodakufa and three other comrades I can’t recall their names. Around 8pm, murume aisvikirwa nemhondoro yekuMozambique achibva asvikirwa. Takabva tapinda mumatare, then zvikanzi imimi mauya nenyaya yamuchembere ari pamhiri apo. Takaita mhiko yekuti takanga tisisa fambirane nenyaya yekuti pakaitika mashiripiti nemhondoro yakanga iripo yakare yakada kubata muchembere chibharo ichida kumuita mukadzi. Saka ndipo pakauya mhiko yedu yekuti muchembere uyu anga asisa yambuki Zambezi. Saka ini handina zvandinga taure pano apa. Zvandinotaura handei tese.” This was in the night and we started walking. We walked until we got kuruware rwuya. We slept at this place.
The next morning svikiro riya rakati mhondoro huru yekuno yakanga yoda kuchochora muchembere kuda kumuita mukadzi. Muchembere uyu akanga asingasangani nevarume. So vachirwisana chuma chaMbuya Nehanda chakadambuka chikanamira paruware apa.” Ndakachiona chuma chacho nemaziso angu aya. Matsimba aMbuya Nehanda pavainetsana nemhondoro iyoyo akanga achiri kunoneka. Huni dzaiveswa paruware ipapo nemarasha acho zvaivepo paruware ipapo.
After being told all this, mhondoro yekuMozambique yakabva yakuma iri mugomo. Nguva dikidiki dzekuZimbabwe, dzichibva dzakuma.
We later went back to Mbuya Nehanda who said, “Nyamuzihwa, ndatenderwa kuti ndiyambuke asi ndati mvura yemunaZambezi handidirwi. We made arrangements to take Mbuya Nehanda across Zambezi.
SM: Is this real or you making up stories here?
Cde Khumalo: Just wait, I am not yet done explaining things to you. Paiyambuka naMbuya Nehanda, pakanga pane mhondoro mbiri (two lions). Takaisa Mbuya Nehanda muchimwadiya. Then tave kumhiri mhondoro dzaiva kuZimbabwe dzakabva dzatanga kukuma then dzaiva on the Mozambican side dzichibva dzakumawo. Vazukuru vaMbuya Nehanda vataiva navo musikana nemukomana, musikana as we speak she is working at Parliament and the boy is at the Zanu headquarters. After crossing Zambezi, as we walked carrying Mbuya Nehanda, hapana pataka famba pasina mhondoro (lions). Mhondoro dzaifamba imwe iri ku right imwe iri kuleft kusvika tasvika naMbuya Nehanda kuChifombo. When we got to Chifombo, all the leaders like Cde Tongogara, Cde Chitepo and others were already there.
We stayed a few days mudzimu waMbuya Nehanda uchibva wasvika uchiti ndava kuda kuparutsa vazukuru vangu. Ndisati ndaparutsa ndiri kuda kusangana nevatungamiri venyu. Munhu umwe nemumwe akataurirwa zvakanga zviri paari.
SM: Tell us who was told what?
Cde Khumalo: I think you have heard so many comrades saying Tongogara aigara achitaura kuti ini pamwe handisviki kumusha kuZimbabwe. This was coming from what he had been told at this meeting with Mbuya Nehanda. All the leaders were there. Cde Chitepo was there, Cde Noel Mukono, Cde Tongo, Cde Chimurenga, Cde Dabulamanzi, Cde Chinamaropa, Cde Kadungure, Cde Chauke, Cde Mayor Urimbo and many others were there.
The first thing that Mbuya Nehanda said that I remember up to this day was to say, “vana vangu, dai zviri zvekuti musati marwa hondo, musati mambobatana nevasikana, dai makatanga mauya kwatiri makataura nesu, hondo yenyu yanga isingatori three months or three weeks. Zvino hondo yenyu ichamboenderera mberi nekuti makatanga matora vasikana mukapinza munyika. Vasikana vaya vachibva vabata utate hwenyu (guns). Vasikana vakanga vasingafanirwi kubata pfuti dzenyu.” By this time, the first group of women recruits was now in Zambia and was helping to carry materiel to Zambezi in preparation for war.
Mbuya continued saying “vasikana ava were not supposed kubata pfuti dzenyu nekuti vanoenda kumakore.”
SM: Which year are you talking about here?
Cde Khumalo: That was around 1972-1973. So she said, anyway now that vasikana vatobata pfuti, tichazovagadzira kuti vagokwanisa kubata zvombo zvenyu vakachena vasisaende kumakore.
Chechipiri, mungandivenge asi ndichataura chokwadi. Mutungamiri wamuinaye iyezvino, Ndabaningi Sithole, haasi iye achatungamirira nyika yeZimbabwe. Hongu mungarambe zvenyu, nekuti kunevamwe venyu ndiri kuita sendinopenga. Zuva iri rakaora rimwe gore nekuti pakaita kusviba ari masikati. Zuva rakanga risina kuora.” Indeed this happened in June 1964. “Akanga ari matare emhepo dzenyika ino neenyika dzeganda dema. Ndiri kutaura izvi nekuti mutungamiri wamuinaye haasi iye achatungamirira nyika yeZimbabwe. Mutungamiri achatungamirira nyika iyi, mutungamiri akagarirwa pasi nemhepo dzeganda dema dzikasarudza mutungamiri achatungamirira veganda dema. Gare, gare mutungamiri uyu muchamuona.
Muchamuona mutungamiri uyu achibva kumabvazuva. Anouya aina mambo wendoro chena akaiswa nemudzimu. Saka munhu uyu achakutungamirai akaiswa nemhepo dzeganda dema. Asi handikupiyi zita rake. Imi mega muchamuona. Achabva nekumabvazuva aine umwe mutungamiri pamwe chete namambo wendoro chena.
Saka mutungamiri wamuri kupihwa, vamwe venyu ipo pano muchamuvenga. Vamwe muchamumukira pamwe nekumupandukira. Asi mutungamiriri iyeye akasarudzwa nemhepo hamumubvisi. Anobva nekufa kwake. Anobva chete kana mudzimu yepasi rose yagarazve pasi kutsvaga umwe anowonekwa kuti anepfungwa dzekuvaka veganda dema uye anoti amira vasina mabvi vese vanodedera.”
Ambuya vakabvunza, “mandinzwisisa here, vanhu vese vakati zii.” Joseph Chimurenga then rhetorically said, “ahh, imi makatitakurisawo chembere yapera basa. Chii chayava kutaura ichi?”
Mbuya vachibva vati, “aahhh, sewe zvako simuka. Tora utate hwako ndimire apo tione kuti unogona kundipfura here. Iwewe, hauna kwauri kuenda nokuti wanyanyisa mate ako avakubuda kuti ndatove nechigaro chikuru. Uri kuti wava mambo mukuru. Ndiwe wakazviisa here? Zvino hauna kwaunoenda. Uchanopinda zvako muZimbabwe, asi unenge usisina pauri.” Indeed this happened. We came into a free Zimbabwe and Chimurenga was now just an ordinary person.
Mbuya vakati haubvumi zvandiri kutaura. Mukati menyu vanangu mune rumwe, rumwe. Iwewe, meaning Tongogara, ndiwe wanzi uchabata pfumo richasunungura nyika, asi hamuna kubatana nevamwe vako. Zvino chinzwa, nyika yavakuenda kumapeto, tavakupetera nyika, mumvuri wako unotsakatika. Hauzosviki munyika uri mupenyu.”
Cde Tongo stood up and said “Mbuya tsanangurai zvamunoreva.” Mbuya vakamboti ndozotaura kwasara vatungamiri vega, but Cde Tongo asked her to go ahead and explain. Cde Chitepo actually said, no, no let’s talk about this tavatega vatungamiri but Cde Tongo insisted.
Mbuya vakati, “chiri pauri inyaya, yehu toboutobo. Nyaya yehu toboutobo.” Nyaya yairehwa apa ndeye vasikana. Kwanzi, “ukapinda munyika nenyaya yako iyoyi, umwe achati ini ndini, umwe achati ini ndini chaiye waTongogara. Unenge uchiri nechimiro here?
Asi uchange waita basa guru kwazvo uye mhepo dzese dzenyika dzichange dzichikuombera. Asi zvatisingadi ndezvekuti uzove munhu anoiswa pasi nevana vauchange uchitungamirira. Saka tichasevenza tiinewe mumhepo asi hausviki uko. Ndasiidzira zvimwe.”
People went silent. Mbuya Nehanda turned to Cde Chitepo and said handisi kuona zvakanaka, ndiri kuona pane mhepo ichapinda.”
All the leaders who were there were told something about their fate on this day.
SM: What did she say about you?
Cde Khumalo: She said, “Nyamuzihwa simukai zvakare. Zvikanzi muri kuona mwana uyu,” vakanokora ivhu, and said, “Nyamuzihwa, ivhu iri.” People started asking what that meant and she continued saying, “mwana uyu achakuvara, asi achanosvika kunyika yeZimbabwe. Ivhu randamupa ndamupa kuti azodzosera ivhu kuvanhu. Achakuvadziswa nemunhu achabata hutate hwake abva kunoita hutobo hutobo nemusikana. Asi mwana uyu haafi ane zvake zviri paari.” She turned to me and said, “I know hamutendi Nyamuzihwa, asi muchabvuma henyu.”
She then spoke about this leader in the new Zimbabwe saying, “mutungamiri iyeyu, asati agadzwa nebook rechingerengere anofanirwa kugadzwa pachivanhu. Chivanhu ichocho chinoitwa nemadzimambo endoro. Mudzimu yemunyika imomo inobva kumativi mana anofanirwa kunge iripo panogadzwa mutungamiri uyu pachivanhu. Mutungamiri uyu haafanirwi kugadzwa nemadzimambo ezuva akagadzwa nevangerengere.
She said “musati magadza mutungamiri uyu vana vachazofira munyika dzimwe, madzimambo endoro anofanirwa kuenda pese pakafira mwana vono tora ivhu racho. Ivhu iri rinotakurwa nechembere and harifanirwi kusvika kumatawindi. Rinofanirwa kuenda kumasango kuchange kwaungana Madzimambo anobva kumativi mana enyika. Madzimambo aya anofanirwa kutambira vana ava nekuti vachange vachibvawo kumativi mana enyika.
Musi unoitwa mutambo uyu kudzora mhepo dzevana ndiwo unofanirwa kuzokosheswa munyika yese. Ndiro richava zuva rechisi. Mukaita izvi nyika yenyu inodekara. Mukasaita kudaro, mhepo dzevana vachange vari musango dzichange dzichimuka muchirwisana.
She said kuchava nana Mbuya Nehanda vekunyepa vakawanda asi kana vobouda Mbuya Nehanda vanobuda pamwana asati oziva varume. Kamwana aka kachange kachizora mafuta eruhomba. Kana kwamwana aka kamuka, ndipo pachamuka Chaminuka nekuti vaviri ava vaive tsika nditsikewo.
After this she said ini ndava kuparutsa. Chief Chiweshe pamwe chete nemamwe masvikiro vakadaidzwa padhuze and they were told what was supposed to be done after her death.
SM: Quite a mouthful. We will take you back a bit. This homwe yaMbuya Nehanda, how old was she?
Cde Khumalo: She was about 103 years. She was possessed by the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda at a young age and she grew up like that. She was never married. Muzukuru wavo Nzou is still alive. He is at the Zanu-PF Headquarters. He is the boy who stayed with Mbuya Nehanda for years. Even when we had meetings with Mbuya Nehanda, this boy was there but now he must be a grown up man.
SM: When some people read what you have just said, they can conclude that you are saying this because this is what went on to happen, like Cde Tongo’s death in 1979 and so on. What is your comment?
Cde Khumalo: There is no need for me to make this up. Like I said Cde Tongo used to say havasviki in a free Zimbabwe, where do you think he got this? I have spoken about this to many people and many comrades from my era know what I am talking about. I know people can doubt but I will continue talking.
SM: You said Mbuya Nehanda said you will lead in the return of land to the black majority. After independence what did you do in this regard?
Cde Khumalo: When I resigned from the army, I wrote a letter to Mai Mujuru when she was still the governor around 1989 saying I wanted land to start farming. Mai Mujuru called me and I went to her office. She said to me, “Cde Khumalo maita zvakanaka. You are applying for land but Dydmus Mutasa is the one responsible for land for now. I will however assist you.” She then said, “during the war you Cde Khumalo and others are the ones who were giving people orientation that after independence, we want to take back our land. Those people you promised this still don’t have their land. How do you explain this?”
I later wrote a letter to Cde Mutasa applying for land and he said he would assist me if I was applying for the farm as a cooperative. I was with Cde Ganda and so we started coming up with a cooperative but midway through this, Ganda went to speak to Mambo Svosve and as you know, Chimurenga cheland started kwaSvosve.
Before the country knew about this, we had taken a few farms around the Svosve area. Cde Black Jesus later joined from Mash West and the land reform exercise gathered momentum.
SM: How honesty are you being here?
Cde Khumalo: What do you mean honesty?
SM: One is tempted to think you are making up all this?
Cde Khumalo: I have the letters and the documents to prove the role that I played in the initial states of the land reform exercise. Go and ask Mai Mujuru she will confirm what I am talking about. I have no reason to make this up. What for?
SM: You have spoken at length about the spiritual side before the start of the liberation struggle. We will visit this area as we go, but for now lets turn to other preparations before the war started, like what guns were you using during these early years?
Cde Khumalo: It was only around 1973 that we started using AK 47. All along we were using mapepesha. We also got some guns from Frelimo then China started giving us ammunition around 1973. Then Yugoslavia, Cuba, Libya – these were the first countries to assist us with ammunition. Other countries like Romania joined later after seeing that we were making progress in fighting the Smith regime. As for training, Ghana was the first African country to offer us training camps, then came Tanzania. By this time, Mozambique was still fighting for its freedom so it could not offer us training bases. Same with Angola.
In Zambia we had Luangwa and Kafue training camps, but taitoita zvekubira because Zambia didn’t want us to set up bases there. They were afraid of the Rhodesian forces. In Zambia we were only supposed to have refugees camps due to that country’s proximity to Rhodesia.
The Rhodesians really wanted to come and bomb our training camps in Tanzania but they failed. Our bases in Tanzania started from Intumbi, to Mbeya, Dodoma Dosdos (as negotiations to bring together Zanu and Zapu started) before the opening of Kongwa camp around 1968. The negotiations failed due to lots of suspicion between the two parties. The Zanu camp was then moved to Kongwa from 1968 to 1970. There were freedom fighters from Mozambique also and that’s where Samora Machel was. Mondlane was still alive by this time.
In 1970, we left Kongwa and went to Zambia where we started carrying materiel to Zambezi River in preparation for war.
It’s important here to note that all our training in China, Yugoslavia, Cuba and so on, we got socialist ideology because these countries at this time were preaching socialism. That’s why after the attainment of independence we were preaching the gospel of socialism.
SM: We understand that before and during the liberation struggle, you were also in charge of all the ammunition. Tell us a bit more about this role and why you specifically?
Cde Khumalo: I was in the commissariat department as the head after taking over from Cde John Mataure. I had been appointed to the commissariat by Cde Chitepo. So in 1970, together with the group of 45 we decided to carry lots of materiel (weapons) into Rhodesia before starting the war. So we started carrying materiel into Rhodesia and this was supposed to be a very secretive operation because we couldn’t afford any mistakes otherwise the war would not start.
That’s the time I was made the deputy secretary in charge of materiel. The head of this department at this time was Mdara Homba. Later Homba was transferred to another department and I was left in charge. Materiel ose akasunungura nyika ini akanga ari mumaoko angu. When I got injured, that’s when Shef Daulamanzi came to take over this responsibility.
The Rhodesia regime knew about me and because of this I was one of the most wanted man by the regime. The Rhodesians knew about me after they had captured one of our comrades around Kakwidze area who revealed my name.
I used to work with Mdara Shakeshake who was from Mozambique. He was based at Mapapai. There was also Cde John. The Rhodesians were hunting for the three of us because they knew that arresting one of us would derail the struggle in a big way.
You asked me why me? I really don’t know but when we went to meet Mbuya Nehanda she said something about me and I think it was from that that I was chosen to look after materiel. Mbuya Nehanda said a lot about Tongogara, about Chitepo and many other Zanu leaders at that time. After meeting Mbuya Nehanda that’s when I was moved from the commissariat to be deputy of Homba. Like I said Homba was later moved away from this department after he was involved in the issues dzana Badza. Fortunately, he didn’t have much information about where we were hiding the materiel.
It took about three days to interview Cde Khumalo about his role during the liberation struggle and due to space, we wont be able to publish everything that he said. However, next week, we will publish another piece from him where he will narrate his role as the person in charge of all materiel.
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