By Kenneth Matimaire
Popular sungura musician Hosiah Chipanga says he was once detained in Mozambique when he attempted to join other liberation war fighters who were undergoing training in the neighbouring country.
The hilarious Mutare based chanter was speaking in an exclusive interview with RadioVOP where he said he was detained for eight months by military intelligence who suspected him to be a spy for the Rhodesian forces.
Chipanga, a satirical musician, said the incident happened in November 1977 where he was released the following year.
The veteran musician said he suffered traumatic stress during his detention in an overcrowded and poorly ventilated holding cell located in an unidentified area just after Chimoio.
“On 13 September 1977, I received a (prophetic) vision to go and join the war to give spiritual guidance to the comrades. I was in Sheba at that time and crossed into Villa De Manica (Mozambique). But things did not turn out well,” Chipanga said.
Chipanga said when he got to Mozambique, there were many people who volunteered to join the struggle at the height of the war.
He said in as much as it was a positive turn out, it had created its own fair share of problems within ZANLA and ZIPRA controlled bases, which were overcrowded and hit by food shortages.
“Some war volunteers were running away because there was no food,” Chipanga said.
“The bases were overcrowded such that when new volunteers came, they were being asked to squat at their relatives or friends’ residents. That was the case for me. I went to live with my uncle who stayed in Mozambique. We were asked to come and check at the bases to see whether there was any room to accommodate us, every Wednesdays.
“It is at one of these routine checks were I was in the company of a friend, Armando Dharaga, that I was asked to wait for feedback by Clever Manema who welcomed people coming to join the war.
“Many people who came before me were served before other armed comrades came. They asked for me and ordered me to get in a vehicle they were driving. My friend tried to assist me and was also ordered into the vehicle,” he said.
Chipanga said the armed comrades failed to secure a place to detain them in Manica and Chimoio as most of them were overcrowded.
“They managed to secure a place for one individual at a place just outside Chimoio and I was left there while my friend was taken further away.
“The holding cell was one big room which was overcrowded and had no air ventilation. You could not tell whether it was day or night while inside. I suffered mentally during my stay; I could not eat or sleep and they had to look for a doctor but nothing changed,” he said.
Chipanga, who was never informed of the reason behind his detention, later discovered that most people who were there were either sell-outs or foreigners.
Upon his release in 1978, Chipanga returned back to Zimbabwe through Burma Valley now donning his trademark black and white spiritual garment for the first time.
The Pharaoh hitmaker further revealed that he went on to write a book titled Kuuya KweMweya Mutsvene detailing his calling and motive to join the war, as well as his unfortunate ordeal.
He said that the book was signed by the late James Chikerema who kept it in his personal library. Radio VOP