Death of a national hero: RIP ZESA
Warren Hills Heroes Acre – the resting place of multiple farm owners – had never seen a crowd of this magnitude since the burial of fallen hero, General Solomon Mujuru. – Jera reports for Ilizwi263
Thousands of mourners crawled, like ants, up the slope of the legendary hill to pay their last respects to a son of the soil who will never be forgotten. The Warren Park sky was suitably grey, reflecting the sombre mood of the occasion. The air was still. The Zimbabwe flag hung, without moving, midway up its mast; even the wind did not dare disturb the sleeping cadres.
President Robert Mugabe, the first lady – Dr Amai Grace Philanthropist – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, token former Zipra Vice President Phelekezela Hotel Dweller Mphoko, government ministers and service chiefs were all present.
After his obligatory anti British and homophobic tirade, the President spoke at length about the fallen hero, Zesa, whose liberation war name was Motomuzhinji – more fire.
Comrade Motomuzhinji received military training in Kariba and Hwange, where he excelled in the modules of Light-giving, Electrocution and Food-warming. After independence, Comrade Zesa Motomuzhinji worked in the President’s office – a euphemism for the dreaded CIO – where he assisted in the interrogation department.
The secret service owe a great deal to Comrade Zesa, who could always be trusted to persuade enemies of the state – sell-outs, collaborating with the British to destabilise the country – to divulge their deepest secrets, once a pair of electric wires were attached to their lower extremities.
A son of the soil
Zimbabwe’s thousands of unemployed graduates also owe thanks to Comrade Zesa, without whom they could never have studied for the Bachelors in Selling Airtime or their Masters in Border Jumping. President Mugabe spoke evocatively about how Comrade Motomuzhinji lit every home in the country with his warm smile.
The President’s rallies and the enlightening discussions between Comrades Tafataona Mahoso and Vimbai Chivaura came to our living rooms, thanks to Comrade Zesa. Comrade Zesa was ever present at Mpilo, Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospital, showing the way for the doctors’ scalpel, in the operating theatre and was ubiquitous in the townships, shining down on the potholed streets from the vantage point of his watchtower.
We placed him high up there because he was loved and respected by all. Across the countryside, he could be seen with his long limbs outstretched and not even flinching when birds sat and relieved themselves upon him.
When the Zimbabwe National Army band played that moving song, Nzira Dzemasoja, there was not a dry eye at the Heroes Acre. Tears streamed from behind the frameless Gucci glasses of first lady Dr Amai Philanthropist. Comrade Oppah who knew him – no Biblical innuendo – from the liberation struggle – was inconsolable.
The sullen features of Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube hung even lower than normal, and the sisters of the late hero, Zupco, Tel One, GMB, CSC were visibly grief-stricken. It took the spirited efforts of Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwengwa and police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri – who this time did not collapse in public – to restrain GMB, who was determined to fling herself into the grave after her dead brother.
The eldest sister, CSC, who has been struggling with a very long illness, looked emaciated, doubtless from a shortage of European Union aid. There was not a moment when her sunken eyes and hollow cheeks were dry.
Due to jet fuel shortage, there was no military flypast. But even that could not ruin this hero’s send off. Party boy, Chatunga Bellarmine, proving that he can do more than light up strange looking cigarettes, connected his iPad to the PA system and played aeroplane noises which gave an almost believable impression of air force jets flying past.
There was no food for the thousands gathered, because all the fridges could not function without Comrade Zesa. Health Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa, who is no doubt troubled by the 6,000 cholera deaths of 2008, discouraged the consumption of the rice, chicken and coleslaw which had been prepared the day before.
Zesa Motomuzhinji united the nation. Now he is gone. His electrifying presence will never be forgotten. He is survived by his wife Load Shedding and two sons Geyser-Ban and Black-out.
Lala kahle, zorora murugare, rest in peace comrade Zesa.
My pen is capped.
Jerà is a blogger for Waza Online, a newspaper columnist and prize winning poet with a passion for natural African hair, Arsenal Football Club and an intense dislike for Ryan Giggs. Twitter: @JeraZW
This article was first published on Ilizwi263