By Ken Mufuka
Activist Sister Lynette Mudehwe has asked me to give advice as to the way forward. My answer is that I can only share my own experience, while raise my hat in admiration to you as you carry the cross forward. You will find some practical vignettes which may be useful to your ever changing condition.
Your situation is more difficult than ours because the enemy was easily definable. White power was separated from black townships and one could hide, traveling from one township to another. The level of people now ready to be bought and paid for (like MDC-T) is staggering.
I must say at the beginning that I was only the smallest of the saints, at one time a youth messenger, and I had no idea how important the messages I was carrying were. I do remember, however, that in ZAPU, we became like a family. This gave us a sense of security which unfortunately will be out of your experience as agents pretend to be part of your organizations.
Nevertheless, there are a few things that can be done. Unfortunately your greatest weapon is the death of the economy. More and more, police units, as indicated by a memo smuggled from Police HQ, have difficulty in paying rents, traveling from the townships to work on time and buying bread at Z$100 a loaf.
We have to say these things over and over. Unless the money value changes, the cost of living will run ahead of the government pay scale. If bread costs Z$100 per loaf, a Z$6 000 salary, $3 000 will buy 30 loaves, which is half the policeman’s salary.
The economic policies, especially the devaluation of the dollar, are not designed to help the natives. As our government prepares to pay U$3.2 billion for their grab farm policies, and sending this money to foreign banks, our doctors are not paid and hospitals are empty of medicines.
The issue here is that you must continue to protest until government realizes it has no friends in the West and it will not find peace at home until they provide for their people first.
The police will find themselves in the same boat, even if bribed with Z$10 000 per month. With bread costing Z$100 per loaf alone, a loaf a day will eat up $3 000 of their monthly salary.
They are in the same boat as you are.
Activist groups must form a confederation both for fellowship and for spiritual sustenance. Sharing ideas and rubbing shoulders with such luminaries like Nkosana Moyo, Hopewell Chin’ono, Jacob Ngarivhume and old naughty gizzards like my brothers Andrew Moyse and Ibbo Mandaza will confirm your faith in the struggle.
As you know, I am a man of faith, and it is always exhilarating to go on retreat with Christian saints. My last spiritual tutor was a millionaire New York banker who felt emptiness when he received his first million dollar check. The federation will have procedures on what to do when a member is arrested. The nature of the beast is to pick up members one by one.
I am taking a page from Black Lives Matter. No matter what the issue may be, if a black person is killed by US police, BLM immediately charges up its cells and goes into action. They have been known to bus protesters over a thousand miles away from New York to Minneapolis.
The most important advice is to have a list of martyrs. There are families which have been destroyed by police killings or harassment.
When we were in the struggle, I came across the case of Winnie Mandela. Sometime in 1983, US President Ronald Reagan asked his long time North Carolina businessman, Brother John Brown, to find out how Winnie Mandela was surviving from day to day without her husband.
Winnie rejected all help from apartheid sympathizers, but the matter was taken up by Senator Edward Kennedy.
It came to me late in life to realize how the family of our beloved Josiah Chinamano suffered greatly while both parents were in prison. I was asked to find, rescue Josiah Junior, from JFK Airport in New York where he was detained. I bought him a ticket home.
We could have done more if we had organized a group of angels, who when such cases arose, immediately take care of the family.
This is a very crucial part of the struggle. It was in such fellowship with the saints that I was introduced by Reverend Dr. Robert Craig to Ranch House College president Ken Mew. Our guest, Reverend Dr. Beyers Naude, at the time moderator of the Dutch Kirk of South Africa, was summarily expelled for calling apartheid a sin. He and five children were immediately homeless.
Before he was called to become General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the angels had to provide for his family.
We also arranged for ZAPU members in the US to host younger members for prolonged periods, such as Christmas holidays when they had no families to go to.
Roy Bennett Foundation is awake to this problem. As a regime goes into its twilight zone, it will drown as many families and livelihoods as possible, while they prepare their own safe heavens in Dubai and South Africa.
The angels need not be activists and need not even be public figures. They should offer small scholarships to children, and perhaps summer accommodation when children are out of school.
The coalition must win some battles. I think the Free Hopewell protest can be won. The trade unions have taken this matter up. The world actors are also taking the matter up. Demonstrations must continue until Hope is returned alive.
Ken Mufuka, has lived three lives. In his second life, he was a Zipra representative in the West indies. He can be contacted at [email protected]