Tribute to late former student leader Paul Rumema Chimhosva

By Sibanengi Dube

l met Paul Rumema Chimhosva for the first time in 2001 in Johannesburg’s high-rise suburb of Hillbrow. Chimhosva was tracking Munyaradzi Gwisai who I had just dropped at a hotel in Johannesburg after a meeting.

Former student leader Paul Chimhosva dies in South Africa
Former student leader Paul Chimhosva dies in South Africa

I initially did not even bother to look at his face when he walked to my car window to inquire where Gwisai was. I thought it was a security risk to disclose the location of the then controversial MDC legislator to a stranger.

It was only after he disclosed his identity as Paul Chimhosva that I enthusiastically entertained him. I had read about his heroic clashes with Zanu PF which led to his expulsion from the University of Zimbabwe.

He was the kind of character I was looking up to when I was a student leader in Harare. His bravery inspired us to stand up in defense of the student interests. I and Dhewa have been loyal drinking mates from then until this morning.

Today (Sunday) Dhewa collapsed and died in Johannesburg at his mountainous home of Bassonia Suburb in Johannesburg South. Needless to mention that Zimbabwe is more poorer without Chimhosva. It is a pity that he kicked the bucket before Zimbabwe could utilise his leadership skills.

I used to meet him over the weekends at Time Square, Momgos, Columbine Square and Tintis for debates over a few cold ones. Of course he did most of the buying as he was too generous with his fat wallet, while I gulp.

I am not the only one who had access to his calabash, but a lot of other Yeoville fellows who used to guzzle the nights away from his purse. 

He had a flair and aura of respectability and likability. His presence was difficult to ignore. His oratorical eloquence was second to none. This explains why he managed to snatch the SRC Presidency of the University of Zimbabwe in 1990-1. 

The former student leader was passionately known as Dhewa at his favourite watering holes, Times Square or kwaGumede. Dhewa was a free spirited bird who enjoyed socializing at all levels. Apart from his undisputed love for the green bottle (Heineken), the man had his country at heart.

The charismatic Dhewa would not shy away from declaring his interest in running for the highest office in Zimbabwe. He had no faith in the leadership of the opposition parties in Zimbabwe, who he view with skepticism.

Dhewa was fiercely independent and open minded. Although he was not a cry baby, but he felt betrayed by a number of prominent characters in Zimbabwe.

He once confided in me that his Secretary General, Martin Dinha, now a Governor in one of Mashonaland Province deceived him. He also had unkind words for Professor Welshman Ncube, whom he accused of unfairly expelling him from the University of Zimbabwe.

The late engineer had a good taste for fine things in life. He used to drive swanky cars on the fast lane with personalised number plates. Although mwana wamai Peter enjoyed an opulent life style, Dhewa remained humble and down to earth.

The former Joburg Water engineer, who used to cruise around in a black Jeep Commander, rarely looked down upon anyone. He would fraternize with anyone including this lowly newsman. Go well Dhewa and rest in peace.

Sibanengi Dube is veteran Zimbabwean journalist based in South Africa.