Chimurenga Tales

The war was painful. Villagers suffered. Villagers died.
It is said that when the Rhodesian Army soldiers came, they beat up parents. They beat up parents for fun and for various ‘crimes’. One of the most common crimes was cooking for ‘terrorists’. Some parents were accused of encouraging their sons of becoming terrorists. A father had to account for his sons. If your son disappears, you would find yourself up to the neck in trouble.
One tale that is told is of one headman whose son ran away into exile to train as a guerrilla fighter. No one knows how the soldiers got wind of the fact but they quickly swarmed the village, rounded up the people at the headman’s house. The headman was beaten to death with a pestle. It is said the soldiers who beat him up were black. They did so under the supervision of white soldiers. Some say as the pestle pounded the head of the bound-up captive, blood and brains flew like sparks off an anvil, and scattered on to the faces of people who sat at the front. They were not allowed to wipe it off. They were not allowed to cry or wince. That, it was said, was to teach them a lesson for letting their sons go into exile to train as terrorists. Also, this would teach a lesson to those contemplating to go into exile what would happen to their parents once they disappear.
Soon as the army cars sped off and the dust barely settled, ‘vanamukoma’, as the guerillas were called, would round up the very same villagers; Who called the soldiers? Who told them what? Who is the sellout? And the beating and killing would continue. One innocent man was pointed out as a sellout. Everyone knew he was innocent. Out of fear, people kept quiet. He was burnt with drippings of burning plastic until he died. Parents were told to queue up, plastic in hand, you dip your plastic in the fire then rush to where the bound up ‘sellout’ was. Only pregnant women and those with suckling babies were spared the ordeal of torturing the bound up ‘m’tengesi’. Many people who were there say they can still detect the pungent smell of burning human flesh in the village air up until today.
This is one of the many Chimurenga tales. Tell me the one(s) you heard.


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