WHITE SEPTEMBER: SYNOPSIS OF THE SCRIPT: JULIUS SAI MUTYAMBIZI-DEWA
This story is set at the height of the liberation struggle in 1978, in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West. A white member of the ZANLA guerrillas is tasked with rescuing a potential recruit who is accused of killing a white police officer. It is messy but the rescue plan has been set and once Comrade Malonglong is able to rescue the young recruit, the only surviving child in the family of incarcerated liberation time politicians, former Reverend Gwashavanhu and his school-teacher wife Agnes who have been sentenced to death on accusations of recruiting for the purposes of taking part in the liberation struggle, the objective is to get him to Wedza, a liberated zone and finally to Mozambique safely. Their other 3 children Godfrey, Tinodanyika and Freedom were all killed in cold blood.
This mission has been sanctioned from the semi-liberated Wedza, and a reconnaissance mission of a crack ZANLA unit led by Black September is stationed at the banks of River Charter just in case the secret mission goes wrong and Comrade Malonglong is detected. He has sent an advance party of 4 of his stick, Farai Mazondo, Dexter Pfumoreropa, Mutongi Murozvi and Stephen Chimbwanda and they are sheltered by the village’s most trusted collaborator Mai Muzondo. Unknown to all Farai Mazondo is working for the Selous Scouts and he gets his 3 comrades arrested but Mai Muzondo is tipped well before he reports at her homestead. She makes a timely escape to a rendezvous that Farai Mazondo is not aware of.
Intuitively Malonglong decides to go to the rendezvous first before Mai Muzondo’s house. He is hungry and tired and wanted to eat first before fulfilling the objective or regrouping with his stick. But because he is white and his deployment has always raised suspicions even with the ZANLA Command Mai Muzondo and the other team do not trust him but are not going to tell him that. When they see he has relaxed they pin him down, take his guns and ammunition and tie him and accuse him of working in cahoots with Farai Mazondo who has turned traitor. In fact they say he recruited Farai Mazondo into Selous Scouts. She refuses to cook any food for him and they vacate the rendezvous leaving him with under the guard of a young man. They make their way to Charter River to report what has happened. At the rendezvous he convinces his guard that he meant well and didn’t know what Farai Mazondo had done. He is untied and they quickly send for reinforcement from Charter River but that base has known what happened to Mai Muzondo and suspect Malonglong so they refuse to come. Infact they make a haste escape to Wedza without Raymond Gwashavanhu and report mission abandoned on the basis of contamination.
Malonglong is then forced to look for Raymond alone and he is not even in Chief Mashayamombe’s area but he is in Mbudzirume at the opposite end which means he has to find a way of passing through territory held by the enemy and also untrusting comrades. The ZANLA units in the area have caught word of a traitor on the loose but there has been no proper briefing and because of preconception they hunt for the white guerrilla whom they never trusted in the first place instead of Farai Mazondo. So Malonglong is now faced with friendly fire and enemy fire from all directions.
He manages to reach Raymond but even after he locates him he still faces the problem of a Raymond who is not so keen to join him but who does so after coming under immense enemy fire. Even so he is briefly held on arrival at Wedza as the commanders too do not believe him anymore.
MALONGLONG: MAIN CHARACTER, A WHITE ZANLA GUERILLA WHO FIGHTS ALONGSIDE BLACK COMRADES IN WHITE-LED RHODESIA[NOW ZIMBABWE]. IN THE PLAY HE WILL ENCOUNTER SOME PREJUDICES IN WHAT OTHERS CONFUSE FOR A WHITE-MAN BLACK WAR BUT ENDS ON A HIGH. HE IS A WIDOW IN THE PLAY, HIS WHITE WIFE HAVING BEEN EXECUTED FOR HER ROLE IN SUPPORTING HIM. AT THE END HE APPEARS AS IF HE IS PROPOSING TO HILDA A BLACK WIDOW. HE IS LATER GIVEN THE NOM DE GUERRE; WHITE SEPTEMBER.
BLACK SEPTEMBER: PLAYS THE MAIN SUPPORTING ROLE TO MALOLONG. HE IS THE LEADER OF THE DETACHMENT AND STANDS BY HIS COMRADE, MALONGLONG THROUGH THICK AND THIN AS THEY WERE TRAINED TOGETHER. HE HAS EARNED THE TRUST AND RESPECT OF BOTH HIS TROOPS AND THE COMMUNITY BUT DOES NOT REALISE HIS UNIT HAS BEEN INFILTRATED BY FARAI, A MEMBER OF THE SELOUS SCOUTS. HE ALMOST GETS KILLED AT THE END AS HE FAILS TO EXPLAIN THE WHEREABOUTS OF HIS COMRADE.
FARAI MAZONDO: A MEMBER OF THE SELOUS SCOUTS WHO INFILTRATES BLACK SEPTEMBER’S UNIT. HE DEFECTS AND HIS DEFECTION GIVES RISE TO THE CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT BECOMES THE PLAY. HE IS NOT CAUGHT IN THE PLAY, CREATING THE SUSPENSE.
MAI MUZONDO: A VERY IMPORTANT COMMUNITY LEADER. IN THE PLAY HER HUSBAND’S WHEREABOUTS ARE NOT KNOWN AND IS PRESUMED DEAD. SHE IS THE LEADER OF ALL THE CIVILAINS AND IS RESPECTED BY ALL GUERRILLAS AND OTHER CIVILIANS.
HILDA: SHE IS A YOUNG WIDOW. HER HUSBAND WAS MURDERED BY RHODESIAN FORCES. SHE SUPPORTS THE GUERRILLAS BUT IS A VERY URGY CHARACTER. A WHITE POLICEMAN ATTEMPTS TO RAPE HER AND THAT SORTS OF FURTHER STEALS HER CONFIDENCE. THROUGHOUT THE PLAY SHE SHOWS THIS URGINESS AND MORESO WHEN THEY ARE BEING INTERROGATED. AT THE END OF THE PLAY SHE GETS AN IMPLIED PROPOSITION FROM MALONGLONG/WHITE SEPTEMBER.
BERNITA: ANOTHER YOUNG WIDOW. SHE IS INTELLIGENT AND MORE RESOLUTE THAN HILDA. SHE AND MAI MUZONDO KILL THE WHITE POLICEMAN WHO ATTEMPTS TO RAPE HILDA.HOWEVER SHE TOO PANICS DURING INTERROGATION. GODFREY GWASHAVANU, A GUERRILLA LEADER FROM HER NEIGHBOURHOOD PROPOSES TO HER AT THE END OF THE PLAY.
MUTONGI MUROZVI: GUERRILLA WHO IS PRESENT WHEN FARAI DEFECTS. HE SURVIVES THE ORDEAL AND REPORTS BACK. HE IS WITH BLACK SEPTEMBER AT THE WEDZA INTERROGATION.
BAZOOKA: ANOTHER GUERRILLA
COMRADE TAPFUMA: HE IS WITH MALONGLONG WHEN THEY GO TO LOOK FOR RAYMOND GWASHAVANHU. HIS INITIAL REACTION IS TO KILL MALONGLONG WHEN HE HEARS HE IS A TRAITOR BUT MALONGLONG CONVINCES HIM OF AN INCIDENT WHERE THEY FOUGHT TOGETHER AND COVERED EACH OTHER. HE IS SHOWN IN THE PLAY AS A BRAVE SOLDIER. HE IS WITH MALONGLONG ALL THE WAY.
COMRADE: DISASTER: THE BASE COMMANDER AT MANHIZE. HE INITIALLY RESISTS MALONGLONG BUT FIGHT TOGETHER AND GETS INJURED. THEY ATTEND WEDZA TOGETHER.
GODFREY GWASHAVANU: THE MOST SENIOR AND THE COMMANDER OF WHOLE OF THE LIBERATED ZONE OF WEDZA. HE IS RAYMOND’S BROTHER AND LATER PROPOSES TO BERNITA.
RAYMOND GWASHAVANU: A YOUNG MAN WHOSE WHOLE FAMILY IS PARTICIPATING IN THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE AND HIS PARENTS ARE IMPRISONED. HE IS PROTECTED BY BLACK SEPTEMBER’S TRUCE BUT THEY LOSE GUARD ONCE. HE THINKS HE HAS KILLED A WHITE POLICE OFFICER NOT KNOWING HE WAS ALREADY DEAD WHEN HE ATTACKED HIM. HE IS THE SUBJECT OF MALONGLONG’S MISSION. AT THE END HE IS HAPPY TO MEET HIS OLDER BROTHER.
JINDWI: INTERROGATING OFFICER1 AT WEDZA.
RUSUNUNGUKO BHINJABHINJA: FEMALE INTERROGATING OFFICER AT WEDZA.
WHITE POLICEMAN: TRIES TO FORCE HIMSELF ON HILDA AND GETS KILLED.
BLACK POLICEMAN: HE IS SUBMISSIVE TOWARDS WHITES AND MALONGLONG CAPITALISES ON THAT AT THE CHECKPOINT.
WHITE SOLDIER: HE IS BIASED TOWARDS WHITES AND MALONGLONG CAPITALISES ON THAT AT THE CHECKPOINT.
SCENE ONE ACT 1:
This scene is shown at a semi-base, a hideout and we see guerrillas from the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army relaxing and playing a game of checkers. The striking thing is the presence of a white guerrilla Comrade Malonglong who was given that name because of his height. His presence in the Charter District [now Manyame] is already sending nerves as it is rare to see a white person fighting against the Rhodesia Front. But he seems to have the trust of his comrades and he is not the point of focus. He is shown with an AK assault rifle but he is very relaxed although some of them are keeping watch and remain very alert.
Black September: [he is clearly the most revered here, a heavily built man who nurtures beard. He is clad in a blue beret, green fatigue and dangles an AK47 on his left shoulder. He also has a pistol but this sits in a pouch in his waist-belt. The boot size tells it all] Comrade Malonglong you really can’t play. Now what’s your next move?
Malonglong: [moving a bottle top over the board] Hahaha Komu, it’s you who is gone if I move this what will be your next step?
Black September: [pausing for a moment clearly reminiscing] Hiya I never thought you would go that way but ummm, I will do this.....and this!
[There is an interjection] Hhaha Comrade Malonglong you are finished. You can’t move anyhow now. [This is the voice of a short, alert young man in his mid-twenties. Although not on attention he is still stood up and clearly providing cover for the Commander Black September]
Black September: [chuckling] Vaudzeyi komu ava Comrade. Yafa tsoro yavo. [Tell him Comrade, its game over]
Malonglong: Hahaha mandibata nhasi Mkoma, hiya handisisina kwekuenda nako: [Hahaha today is your day, yes I can’t move anymore]
Black September: Yes that’s what we want, those who admit when they lose. Not Comrade Farai he insists even where he is losing. Isn’t that true Comrade Dexter? [He addresses that question to Comrade Dexter Pfumoreropa, the man who had interjected earlier who seems to be keeping close guard of him].
Dexter Pfumoreropa: Hahaha, Comrade Farai will never say die.....
Malonglong: [interjecting] But he is the worst player among all of us
[An interjection from about 2metres away. It is Farai Mazondo, a middle-aged man with an athletic built] Comrade but not that bad you know I am better than at least two of us here.
Black September: Aha komu, come give it a try, you don’t seem yourself today what’s the matter?
Farai Mazondo: [a bit embarrassed by that] Kana mukoma, kutongonyarara chaiko[No commander, just being reserved that’s all].
Black September: Hiya but ndozviziva tagara tisina kumbomhanyisa ropa pakuda morari mbijana wena. Muvengi arikure handiti here Mujibha Raymond, hapana chekumirira tomboimba mbijana. Yes I know it is a long time since we had a morale booster. The enemy is at bay so let’s sing and enjoy ourselves].
Mujibha Raymond: [a lanky teenager clad in jeans and tending the fire place] Yava Moza mukoma musha wakatambanuka hapana chekumirira [It’s now a liberated zone just like Mozambique there is nothing to stop us]
Black September: Okay Mujibha, saka todaidza pungwezve musha uwuye? How about that? I think it will be safe to do so because the enemy has been on the receiving end this year and he is scared to deploy here.
Malonglong: Yes we will destroy him if he dares us here.
Black September: Yes Comrade something tells me this is the year the war will end. Can you see how ready he is to engage with us on the negotiating table? We have Smith and Peter Walls running but we also have stupid stooges among us. Just why is that Muzorewa, Sithole and Chikerema are talking to Smith without the others? Pasi naMuzorewa Macomrades!
[all of them together “Pasi pasi naye Comrade!”
Malonglong: Muzorewa anorwadza wena just what does he think he is doing? We have Smith on the back-foot and one of the nationalists gives him a lease of life.
Black September: Imagine Comrade!
Farai Mazondo: That man deserves to die Comrades, with all his family.
Black September: Hiya Comrade, but remember we are fighting a principled war. When we are free, which will be soon.........
[He is interjected again chorally: “This year Mkoma!”
Black September: Yes by this time next year Muzorewa, Sithole, Smith, Chirau, Chikerema and Peter Walls will stand trial for the crimes they are committing against Zimbabweans. But we will not do anything to their innocent families.”
Farai Mazondo: Pasi naChirau naChikerema MaComrades!
Malonglong: NaSmith, Peter Walls naDupont maComrades!
Dexter Pfumoreropa: NaSithole naMuzorewa maComrades!
[chorally] Pasi navo!”
Black September: It’s really disgusting Comrades but anyway its pungwe today. Mujibha Isaac, and Mujibha Tichaona you will do that okay. Mujibha Raymond I don’t want you to go anywhere you know your situation. But don’t worry though about our father and mother they are still there nothing has happened to them yet. They are now at Khami, one thing that Muzorewa did better was at least to tell Smith to stop hanging our leaders.
Malonglong: It’s not even him it’s the Frontline States Comrade. Because of the flames of war that we are fanning Smith has to listen.
Black September: The enemy will have to listen Comrades and our country will come in fact is coming![looking at Mujibha Raymond] What’s the matter Mujibha?
Mujibha Raymond: Mkoma I want to go with the others. I have to do my duty, please!
Black September: But Mujibha, we all know what mum and daddy have done and all our brothers in your family who perished. They have done their part for you.
Mujibha Raymond: But they are not me Mukoma. They did their part, I want mine.
Black September: Okay Mujibha I will let you go but promise me you will be careful?
Mujibha Raymond: I will be Mukoma, you know me.
Black September: I hope so! Pamberi nekuzvipira muChimurenga Macomrades! [chorally Pamberi!]
[and they sing Chimurenga songs].
[This scene is set in the village. It is a normal day as villagers go through their daily chores. This village has in the past received inspection visits from government forces but for more than a year now the village has been largely peaceful owing partly to the activities and permanent presence of a ZANLA guerrilla unit led by Black September and also because government forces are stretched since the war is has become hot everywhere. However the village is alert as there have been killings and arrests in the past with a lot of the teenagers here forced by circumstances to abandon the village for recruitment as guerrillas. We join them at Mai Muzondo’s homestead. She is an influential widow whose headman husband’s whereabouts are not known after being picked up by suspected members of the Special Branch].
Mai Muzondo: So you hear what I have been saying. In the end Sithole will abandon Muzorewa and rejoin the others; I feel it is just a trick by the leadership to see how far the enemy can go in his stupor.
Chimbwido Bernita: [she is a very beautiful, light-skinned young woman of medium height. Her head is in braids but she loves covering it in a floral head scarf, which is the same colour with a matching dress] Do you think so? We have to hope that the split or whatever it is does not have any impact on the struggle. The enemy must flee. Well to me the departure of Sithole is sad but what can we do. We just hope. The good thing is that the boys are together once more; ZANLA and ZIPRA together, and our salvation is truly on track!
Mai Muzondo: Yes my daughter, the Reverend is clever. Not with that former headmaster at Dadaya! In any case we have capable comrades to push the struggle forward. Do you know his name yet?
Chimbwido Bernita: [not so sure] Comrade Mazorodze; ah Makore no I am forgetting but he is from Victoria and his name begins with M?
Mai Muzondo: Hahaha you are on the right track but not correct; hey girls motokundwa neni chembere? Hilda, how about you?
Chimbwido Hilda: [she is visibly slightly older than Bernita but younger than Mai Muzondo. She is equally exquisite]Mama hahaha I am not sure but his wife is from an African country; the country where Comrade Nkrumah came from, Ghana. Isn’t it? I think his name is Mugomba ah well I don’t know.
Mai Muzondo: Nice try Hilda yes the wife is Comrade Sally Mugabe!
Chimbwido Hilda and Bernita [together] Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, how could we forget? Yes he is and together with Comrades Tongogara and Rex Nhongo they are waging the war well.
Mai Muzondo: Comrade Mugabe, yes women will have a firm word in the running of the country so he says. I am going back to school once our country comes back and I will train as a mechanic.
Chimbwido Bernita: We are all waiting for that time mama. Look at what the war has done to all of us. We are now widows at this age.
[There is silence as they shake their heads in contemplation].
Mai Muzondo: Yes widows Comrades, but we cannot feel pity for ourselves can we? I guess there always was a price to pay for our freedom. Nehanda, Kaguvi and Lobengula paid with their lives comrades.
Chimbwido Bernita: Mapondera, my own great grand uncle, Mkwati, Chinengundu, Chingaira, Takawira and Chitepo all paid with their lives.
Mai Muzondo: Even here my daughters, I guess this is a price we are all willing to pay. The white men came to our country and we accepted them but before we knew it they were taking our land and settling us in arid places. Tell me what do I do with these 4 acres of sand that they gave me here?
Chimbwido Hilda: And they were forcing us to work for them and killing us, in our own country. Now they live in comfort and eat good food while we starve. In our own country!
Chimbwido Bernita: Akajaidzwa mabhunu kani Macomrades honestly here? In our own country! We will see their back I swear on my husband’s grave!
Chimbido Hilda: but we should never forget this war is not about race but liberation. Father James, Sister Barbra, Comrade Clutton-Brock, and many others, all of them white but assisting the liberation effort. Our liberation! Together!
Mai Muzondo: Yes Chimbwido, Sweden, Soviet Union, Finland, the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, even some in Britain and America who are standing with us.
Chimbwido Bernita: Father Ribeiro, all of them, comrades!
Chimbwido Hilda: Oh hiya, comrade but only that Father Ribeiro is not white, he is black. But Comrade Malonglong!
Chimbwido Bernita: I don’t trust any Rhodesian in our ranks but let’s just trust the judgment of our leaders. Our whites here don’t like blacks and I don’t know if he is genuinely fighting with us.
Chimbwido Hilda: But Guy Clutton-Brock, Father James, Judith Todd, Garfield Todd and that bearded one, Ranger are all from here aren’t they?
Chimbwido Bernita: [sceptical] Hiya that’s true comrade. And that’s what I heard the other day on Voice of Zimbabwe when Comrade Tongo was talking about our war not being revenge against whites. That wise commander of ours!
Mai Muzondo: By the way the sad news about Comrade Nikita comrades!
Chimbwido Hilda: Oh no, when? How? What happened? The enemy is a liar!
Chimbwido Bernita: Oh hiya, I heard it happened the day before yesterday parcel bomb again. Our leaders are killing each other.
Mai Muzondo: Hey it’s sad, just like what happened to Comrades Chitepo and Ziyaphapha. But to me the blame lies with Chikerema and Muzorewa, why are they with the enemy?
Chimbwido Hilda: You can say that again. Shame on Smith, and if there is God, why can’t he stop this war?
Mai Muzondo: There is God my daughters and the war is coming to an end. We all have to do our part. What we are doing, our cooking, our sheltering of the boys is a big contribution to the war effort. Just listen to this. [she reaches for a transistor radio from the shelf and puts the battery and switches on to Voice of Zimbabwe. Chimbwido Hilda and Bernita do not say a word but move closer and start listening attentively]
Mai Muzondo[shutting the door]You can never be sure of who comes by you know.
Chimbwido Hilda and Bernita [together] That is so true mum. Well let us listen to real news!
[They listen to the radio until dusk when they start to hear from a distance some booted feet thudding. The noise grows louder and louder and the steps closer and closer as they look at each other in silent confrontation. As the steps come closer they first turn the volume of the radio down at Mai Muzondo’s whispered instigation, and further down until they turn it off altogether. Then she slowly dismantles the battery and felinely takes the transistor radio and reaches for the shelf where she noiselessly places it in a corner and covers it neatly in a blanket. But the steps continue to grow thicker and closer by and now they can pick suppressed voices. Their silent confrontation evolves into panic, then fear, then total fear and near paralysis and at that time a heavy knock. Subconsciously Bernita drops the mug she has been holding spilling the contents on Mai Muzondo who is next to her. The tea is hot but she cannot scream. A heavier knock follows. Hilda does not even notice she has soaked her pants].
Hey, open the door! Or I will search by fire what are doing there?
The door is kicked open from outside. A tall, armed white policeman forcefully enters the room bragging. Bernita and Mai Muzondo manage to push him and flee the place. Hilda is completely overcome by fear and still shaking, does not even feel the weight of the policeman when she is pushed to the floor. The door is pushed again, this time from inside as it is forcibly closed. Hilda is still crying as the policeman beckons to silence her:
White Policeman: Hey sshh! Shush up!
His big arms reach first for her sweating arms, clutch them and envelop them in a grip. For a time she thinks it is a lock to sound as a precursor for her arrest. It seems even the policeman is not sure too, he even dabbles his handcuffs pouch but then in a sudden change of mind his grip tightens but changes the position of grip and reaches for Hilda’s palpitating chest which is sweating too. Suddenly she realises what is about to happen and quickly she recovers from her fright but does not react impromptu. She notices that the policeman is trained and armed and although he is about to attempt to violate her, she must have both energy and tactics to overcome. But in the middle of her thoughts, the door is forced open again and for the second time from outside. Mai Muzondo clutching a wooden club, and Bernita a metal pole. Mai Muzondo hits the policeman first on his right arm and Bernita goes for his head. He groans in agony and writhes in pain on the floor but his misery is not over as club and pole take turns to lend on his spited body; wood and metal, blow after blow, spite, revenge, philosophy, pursuit for justice, suppressed anger, conscious delusion all combine as two women deprived by history and oppression, take their turns to vent their anger on the cornered enforcer of hated laws. Blow by blow, minute by minute, they take turns in committing treason and murder, yet even as their seemingly unending attacks land on a lifeless body, and his blood drenches the floor, the smell of death does not stop them from the satisfaction of having fulfilled an accepted philosophy; that the killing of the enforcers of oppression is not murder but an immense contribution to a common cause that they all share.
SCENE TWO, ACT1
[The hate filled attacks go on with insults being hailed at the lifeless body until Mai Muzondo breaks the ice]
Mai Muzondo: [now composed and in low voice almost whispering] He is dead comrades. The enemy is dead. Come my daughter, has he done anything to you? Did the enemy touch you? [she says as she extends her arm to Hilda].
Hilda: [still in shock and sobbing lightly she only shakes her head. Both Bernita and Mai Muzondo hug her].
Mai Muzondo: [repeating the question] Has he done anything?
Hilda: [in a low voice] No. He didn’t, you came at the right time.
Bernita: [looking at the dead body and panickingly] He’s dead! He’s dead, what will we do?
Mai Muzondo: [calmly and cooling their nerves] Come Comrades. Yes, let’s get out of here. Let’s leave this place; at once!
[Mai Muzondo pulls them gently and closes the door. Both Hilda and Bernita keep on looking back at the house]
Mai Muzondo: [clearly reminiscing] He is dead. He is gone. The deed is done. Let’s go!
Bernita: [panicking] Where to? Where do we go from here?
[Hilda is still sobbing lightly]
Mai Muzondo: Calm down Comrades ! The deed is done. An enemy lies on the ground, this is no murder and we are not guilty. He tormented us and wanted to force himself on Hilda. He killed our husbands. We are widows because of him!
[She stops and studies their reactions. Both listen attentively. She proceeds and says the same thing]
We are widows because of him. He deserved to die!
Bernita: [now recovered] Yes mama but where are we headed?
Mai Muzondo: To our safety. To the base! We won’t be here anymore. Let’s leave this village with all its stories. Let’s leave everything, we will leave our plates and pots behind. We will leave all that we strove for, all that has meaning to us. We will abandon the cattle and goats that we worked night and day to buy. We will leave behind the houses that we built, the products of our toil, the bricks we moulded with our hands and the thatching that represent those days we went deep into those bushes[pointing in the direction of the neighbouring forest] to collect the grass we used for thatching our roofs. We are leaving behind everything, the graves of our fathers and mothers and our husbands. We are abandoning our cemeteries with all the history they have. But lest we forget that we never wanted to abandon our precious possessions. This has been forced on us!
[Bernita and Hilda keep quiet as she talks, she studies their reactions and proceeds]
Liberation is expensive. You pay the highest price for it. And only those who dare will see their liberation. But Smith should never forget we will be free!
[Bernita and Hilda nod and then respond at the same time] He is a liar! We shall be free!
Hilda: [On her own] He is a liar!
[That was the voice of a woman fighting on. Trauma gone in minutes, nowhere to report to and no-one to assess the levels of affection! A widow who had faced off with a representative of the same system that murdered her husband braving her forced departure from the village where all her memories lie, memories good and bad. There she had been born, educated, met her future husband and married. There, in those beautifully thatched houses she had been kissed for the first time and sadly she had been kissed for the last time! There in that village she had dreamt of a future, dreamt of children and family. She had seen her dreams disappear, robbed from her. It is where out of violence she became a widow].
Hilda: [she turns her head to look back once more] He is a liar!
Bernita: [she joins in] He is a liar!
[Mai Muzondo takes both of them in her arms and suddenly]
Mai Muzondo: We are there!
[They both find themselves staring at the rendezvous. A young man who is keeping guard welcomes them]
[In this act we are taken back to where the guerrillas are. They dispatch Mujibhas Isaac, Tichaona and Raymond together with Comrade Farai as they prepare for pungwe. Unfortunately the calmness they had hoped to find in the village is no longer there and the village turns upside down]
Black September: [commanding] So Mujibha Raymond, Mujibha Tichaona and Mujibha Isaac you know what to do. I want a big thing today. We have to shake the enemy in case he has his spies in the village. They have to tell him the impact of our work.
[He pauses and then proceeds again] Do we think they need cover?
Comrade Malonglong: Yes they will mkoma. We cannot afford to be complacent. We can never be sure what’s lurking in the bushes, we have to prepare.
Black September: Oh yes komu. Comrade Farai you are the Commissar and so you and Comrade Dexter will go with them. Mujibha Tichaona will handle an AK he is now okay with weapons. Goodluck Comrades!
[Dexter, Farai, Tichaona, Raymond and Isaac together] Keep the faith comrades. See you soon. [They say that as they brandish their rifles and begin the careful walk into the village. They are quiet and on the ready as they move until they reach Mai Muzondo’s homestead. Raymond is instructed to knock by Comrade Farai but after there is no response they ready their weapons as Raymond is ordered to force the door to open by Farai. The door is forced open and they meet with the horrific scene of a bleeding white policeman in the house. In a state of panic, as he tries to make heads and tail over where Hilda, Bernita and Mai Muzondo are, Raymond tripe himself and falls on top of the white policeman’s lifeless body. He believes it is the policeman who has tripped him and in that state of panic he notices the gun, an FN, takes it and sprays bullets on the dead body. Farai yells at him to stop, he does but as he stops Farai aims his rifle at the unsuspecting Dexter, Tichaona and Isaac and guns all of them down. In the chaos Raymond rolls away, into the maize field and runs for dear life. He is clearly oblivious of what he is doing as rifle fire pursues him for sometime but suddenly goes quiet. When he recollects he heads straight for the rendezvous still in sprint and suddenly realises that he is throwing himself before the amazed quartet of Mai Muzondo, Chimbwido Hilda, Chimbwido Bernita and the guard, Comrade Tapfuma].
[This scene is set at the rendezvous. We first see Mujibha Raymond arriving and still in a state of shock, narrates the events back at Mai Muzondo’s homestead. In the acceding acts we then see them leave the rendezvous and the confusion and chaos that follows the escape from a village that is suddenly engulfed in confusion]
Mai Muzondo[amazed] Calm down mujibha, what is it?
[Hilda and Bernita look on, immersed in the moment of amazement]
Mujibha Raymond: I killed a policeman at your house and, but Comrade Farai turned his gun on us. Comrades Dexter, Tichaona and Isaac are all down [he is panting as he speaks]
Comrade Tapfuma: [taking him by his arm] Calm down Comrade, calm down. Now tell us slowly what happened. You didn’t kill anyone it is a bad day already.
Mujibha Raymond: No no, I shot the policeman......papapapa and he is gone! I killed him.
Comrade Tapfuma: Calm down, Komu. [he pauses a bit and then continues] Now listen carefully all of you. Mama and my sisters you go straight to the base and tell them what happened. Comrade Farai pasi navo! He has defected. Tell mukoma that Farai has defected and has killed his own. Raymond you stay with me here and we will see how we can settle the situation, okay?
[They are interrupted by gunfire, followed by teeming villagers who are running for cover]
Comrade Tapfuma: Right, that was not an AK obviously. It is an Uzi-machine gun no doubting it. That’s enemy fire. Mother please go now and do as I told you!
[They are interrupted again. This time it is Malonglong].
Malonglong: It’s me don’t worry! We heard the gunshots and Mkoma sent me immediately. He told me to come here straight because he guessed you would be here.
Comrade Tapfuma: Okay, have you heard already?
Malonglong: Heard what komu?
Comrade Tapfuma: Comrades Dexter, Isaac and Tichaona are down. Farai turned his gun on them. We are compromised!
Malonglong: Oh no! [But suddenly Comrade Tapfuma points his gun at Malonglong and orders him to surrender. All the others look amused].
Comrade Tapfuma: Mikono juu, now! Mama and Mujibha tie him up!
Malonglong: [puzzled and protesting but lifts his hands up as ordered in their Swahili signal language] Now what do you think you are doing?
Comrade Tapfuma: I am taking no chances here? I said mikono juu Comrade. I am not joking. Why are you with us and not them? Who do you work for? What are your interests? Who recruited Farai?
Malonglong: Comrade I cannot answer your questions but you are making a mistake.
Comrade Tapfuma: This is no mistake. What will you benefit if a black government comes to power? You will lose your parents’ farm and all the privileges you have now so it doesn’t make sense that you fight on our side. We are not stupid, Malonglong.
Mai Muzondo: I said it before, girls didn’t I?
Comrade Tapfuma: Mama and you my sisters, do what I have told you to. Thanks for capturing this spy. We will go with him to the dungeon in Mozambique. Mujibha Raymond you will go to Manhize there is a base there and it is a liberated zone. Mkoma Cheropa knows you he is the Detachment Commander there. I will deal with this spy here! Go now comrades.
[Mai Muzondo, Hilda and Bernita take a road leading to the east, Raymond takes the road to the south. Comrade Tapfuma remains behind with a pleading Malonglong]
[The interrogation of Malonglong continues. We see Malonglong finally succeeding in convincing Comrade Tapfuma that he is not a traitor and together they forge ahead trying to catch up with Raymond who they are now protecting]
Malonglong: [not agitated at all] Comrade take my pistol from the left pocket of my fatigues. If I am to die you better kill me than have the enemy capture and humiliate me. And instead of you being arraigned by leadership that you killed me you can always tell them I took my own life before being dishonoured.
[There is a complete lull].
Malonglong: [continuing] Politics of colour is exactly what we are fighting against. The oppressor is not oppressing colour but he oppresses humanity. His assertion that there is racial inferiority and superiority seeks to defeat our belief in equality.
Comrade Tapfuma: [he ponders and then forces himself to talk] It is always difficult, comrade!
Malonglong: Comrade, who was with you at Chemuchena? Those of Chemuchena were at work and we didn’t realise did we? We trusted their word and colour didn’t we? And so they were too good and we were naive, Comrade! We requested from them hospitality and they gave it to us beyond our expectations didn’t they Comrade? There were ten of us Comrade, they brought ten chickens, we could have been okay with only one chicken comrade. They fed us from a generosity we had never seen anywhere before and we never suspected anything. Weren’t we fighting for their freedom, for the liberation of them too? Weren’t we fighting for the independence of the nation and the liberation of all its humanity? We welcomed their generosity and when they gave us beer we cautioned it but they were too good to be rejected, Comrade!
Comrade Tapfuma: [poignantly] VekuChemuchena vaiva pabasa Comrade !
Malonglong : Vaiva pabasa Comrade but we never suspected did we? Comrade Stalin Changamire was the first to die, betrayed by traitors we had trusted. The enemy shot at our undefended line with the audible encouragement of people who had fed us generously only a few minutes before. Comrade in that confusion, when our deaths seemed certain and our torment brought laughter to people we had trusted, wasn’t it me who picked you up and shot at the enemy? Wasn’t it you who covered me as we escaped from the death trap of Chemuchena, where eight of our fellow comrades were swallowed by enemy fire? Didn’t we cry as their dead bodies were not buried but were paraded as testimony of the enemy’s victory?
Comrade Tapfuma: [he is shaking his head] You did Comrade. They were at work comrade. Those at Chemuchena were clearly at work. We didn’t realise.
Malonglong: If I was a traitor or a spy, why didn’t I kill you on that day, in that confusion? If you didn’t believe me why didn’t you shoot me right there, in that confusion? There was a bullet that was clearly meant for you, somehow it missed you, I was next in the line of fire and again somehow it missed me. Death flying past us, fate favouring you and me! You covered me Comrade, shot by shot, step by step, as we tactically withdrew from enemy fire!
Comrade Tapfuma: [sobbing and clearly shaken] My apologies Comrade. I promise I will never suspect you again this war is far from over. Comrade, Chemuchena pains me. [He unties Malonglong. They hug after that and Tapfuma hands Malonglong the rifle he had confiscated].
Malonglong: Let’s put that behind us Comrade. All prejudice is now behind; race, religion all behind and let’s refocus our efforts towards the freedom of everyone. We don’t have much time, let’s be on the move Comrade!
Comrade Tapfuma: On an empty stomach? I have some food there, I couldn’t finish it! [He goes to a shrub and brings a basin].
Malonglong: [eating on the stroll] Thanks Komu I was almost dying. But I will eat on the stroll. Let’s track Comrade Raymond. He is not stable, he thinks he has killed a policeman and may even brag about it in his innocence. Obvious they are now looking for him especially now that he escaped Farai’s fire and he knows his cover is blown.
Comrade Tapfuma: Yes Komu, we have to protect him. The family has lost a lot already and the young man is not stable. It’s Mai Muzondo and our sisters Hilda and Bernita who did it though.
Malonglong: Job well done to them Komu. But now the priority is not to lose anyone of us. Let’s be on the way.
Comrade Tapfuma: Let’s be on our way, Komu!
SCENE THREE, ACT1
[Mai Muzondiwa, Comrades Hilda and Bernita are at the ‘base’ meeting with Black September and other Comrades. They are narrating their experiences]
Mai Muzondiwa: So that’s what happened my sons! The enemy came and tried to pounce on us. But the spirits of freedom seized us and we fought back.
Black September: That was great mama and you comrades. Now that the deed is done our plan moves to the security of all of us. There is no need to lose any of our lives. And Comrade Malonglong?
Mai Muzondiwa: I told you before didn’t I, son? Sometimes you boys have to listen when we the masses are talking. We know things far beyond your knowledge.
Black September[whimsical] I agree mother, and we will never turn against the judgments of you the masses. You are the owners of the struggle and we are doing this for you. You are the true commanders and leaders our only role is to carry and use the weapons, but surely without you who hide us, cook for us, cloth us and gather intelligence which battles would we win? A true freedom fighter will forever owe it to his support; the masses for his victories.
[He pauses and continues].
And I understand your concerns. Wasn’t it you mama who gave up her only surviving family, her sons to the struggle? Isn’t it that all of you, including my young sisters here, are widowed because of the struggle? We see it, the products of your toil, you feed us every day and you take immense risks for us. And today, we turned you into killers for the first time. This is your struggle and yes it will be your victory!
Mai Muzondiwa: I hear you my son. And we all respect the love that we all share, the passion for the struggle that we all have. My daughters!
Hilda: Yes mother. Yes.
Bernita: That’s so true. This is our struggle together and we will excel together!
Black September: Comrade Hilda, my sister, don’t worry. The enemy will be defeated and brought to justice. Your wounds will heal and all this will be history. We will reclaim our country. But Comrade Malonglong!
Mai Muzondiwa: Yes, Comrade Malonglong my son. I am surprised you still call him Comrade. He is the one who recruited Farai, the killer of our comrades.
Black September: Ummm mama like I said I accept your concerns. But our parents will have to trust the judgments of their sons and daughters. It is you who sent us away with the aim that we train and acquire knowledge. We have fought many battles with Comrade Malonglong and he excelled in battle. We have seen him killing white soldiers in battle. He has a deep wound in his right arm as a result of a direct hit taken in the line of fire, serving Comrade Tapfuma in Chemuchena. His wife, a white woman, was charged with treason by the enemy for not reporting the activities of her husband. She lost her life two years ago. Like I said we take your concerns, this struggle is yours through and through but we should always remember that whites are not the enemy. The system is the enemy. Whites who will accept the wrongfulness of this era, those who love their country will be part of a fair Zimbabwe in which all of us will live in harmony!
Bernita: Yes brother. That’s so true but we are your eyes. We have to be careful of who we trust. We accept your judgment too, comrade!
Mai Muzondiwa: [giving in] Well, if you say so my son!
Black September: As I said earlier on you are the struggle; our eyes and ears! You give orders so if you say we abandon Comrade Malonglong or even kill him we will do that. But what will the owners of the struggle say to independent Zimbabwe if it is later proven that they only killed Comrade Malonglong because of the colour of his skin? How will his soul and the soul of his wife judge us? How will we live day in day out with the thought of having killed the struggle by terminating the life of a comrade just because he was white? Comrades, our consciences comrades! For there was once a good pioneer that folklore tells us and today we also have a lot of whites who are on our side. Comrade Bazooka?
Bazooka: That’s true mother and my sisters. Let’s leave the politics of colour and fight for fairness, justice and equality!
[There is a lull which is broken by Black September]
Black September: Right, no more time to waste! We are on our way to Wedza, to our safety! The enemy will soon be here!
Hilda: Oh no! How about Comrade Malonglong? We tied him up and left him at the mercy of a very angry Comrade Tapfuma.
Black September: We have little time now. Both comrades will know what to do, I have given them orders to follow Mujibha Raymond and bring him with them to Wedza let’s all pray in our hearts for their safety comrades. Now, let’s all go please. We know what to do, silence, and please follow my orders!
[All of them] That’s all right Comrade!
[Black September leads the way as they start to move through the forest. The movement is choreographed as it is with the minimum noise. Step by step towards safety, step by step towards the liberated zone of Wedza].
[Black September, Comrades Bazooka, Hilda and Mai Muzondo are suddenly joined on the way by Comrade Murozvi Mutongi]
Black September: [amazed but overjoyed too] Ah, Comrade, you survived. God and the ancestors must be praised!
Murozvi Mutongi: Oh yes Comrades. But we don’t have much time. Farai shot and wounded Comrades Dexter Pfumoreropa, Tichaona and Stephen Chimbwanda. They have been arrested by the enemy but they are not dead. I escaped during the chaos but nothing happened to me.
Mai Muzondo: Thank God Comrades!
[Others] Oh thank God Comrades, we are all relieved now.
Black September: We thank God Comrade Murozvi even that they survived. How is the strength of the enemy?
Murozvi: They were still coming and I was counting but more than a whole regiment. We are by far outnumbered and with civilians it will be suicidal even to show up.
Black September [ponders and then nods his head] I agree but it’s difficult. Let’s pray the enemy will keep them alive. We say to the comrades we will meet them again. We could have mounted a challenge here and rescued them.
Bazooka: Yes I agree but our option is tactical withdrawal we are outnumbered and we have to protect the friendly civilians we have.
Black September: [he ponders again and continues] Yes, yes! Let’s move away from here with the friendly civilians. We know the enemy will definitely keep the comrades alive possibly at Mubayira Police Station. We will talk to the other detachments in Wedza and may be launch our own offensive and rescue them. But we should never forget Comrades Dexter and Stephen, the brave sons of the soil who today are in enemy hands because of a traitor. Abasha Farai Mazondo Comrades!
[All of them] Abasha!
Black September: But their arrest is not in vain. They will be tortured and humiliated in the name of the struggle. The enemy will force them to be belittled for the liberation of their country. They will take that humiliation day in, day out, minute after minute hoping that we will continue to wage the war out here. We promise to pay them back by continuing with the struggle. Comrades, we will not give up for the sake of Dexter and Stephen and all of them who are in prison and who have paid with their lives. Aluta Continua, Comrades!
[All of them] Aluta, Continua!
Black September: Now, on our way to Wedza, Comrades!
[There is singing of “Wedza Kuchamhembe kune Morari”. They move away together with Comrade Murozvi]
[Mujibha Raymond travels across the whole terrain to Manhize. He is careful in avoiding any detection until his arrival. We are shown him moving and then being finally accepted and welcomed by the base commanders in Manhize. He is being stalked by Comrades Malonglong and Tapfuma. They are not so lucky in their avoidance of detection and even though they are passing through friendly territory, they are hit by friendly fire leading Tapfuma to say they have to return fire which Malonglong categorically refuses. They have to hit a haste retreat from both enemy and friendly fire in Rwizi area en route. Finally they arrive at Manhize and we meet them here].
Malonglong: [Panic] Hey we are under attack Comrade, dodge!
Tapfuma: [panicking] Friendly fire can you hear the sound that’s an AK.
Malonglong: Yes it’s an AK, friendly fire!
Tapfuma: Should we signal them to stop. We identify ourselves and they will stop.
Malonglong: How comrade?
Tapfuma: I will shout to identify ourselves and we then come in the open!
Malonglong: Okay go ahead but I have a very strange feeling though.
Tapfuma: [shouts] Comrades, it’s us here! It’s us here. Listen to my AK, we are part of you. [He fires in the air. The attack halts a bit accompanied by a commanding voice]
Show up, both of you with your hands in the air!
[Both comply but as soon as they emerge the commander orders his troops to open fire. Malonglong is hit by shrapnel in his left arm and they again run for cover]
Malonglong: We are under attack comrade, they are after us!
Tapfuma: So let me return fire it’s blow back or we perish here!
Malonglong: Never, let’s run for it or find cover. They are our comrades but may have it wrong after what happened earlier. Let’s run for it!
Tapfuma: Okay, let’s run for it then. We look after each other as always.
[They run through the thick forest taking advantage of the tree cover and also the ensuing darkness. But suddenly they find themselves in a paved road and they hear the sound of an approaching vehicle].
Tapfuma: [whispers] Oh no, that’s an enemy car.
Malonglong: [whispers] And it’s a K-car Comrade. Let’s immobilise it and take cover.
[They ambush and open fire at the car and disappear into the thick forest again. The car stops, burning. They take advantage of the thick cover and withdraw tactically, stopping at intervals to detect if they are being pursued. Each time they do so they hear faint stamping of feet and rustling of the fresh grass an indicator of a pursuit from afar. It’s clear they are also being followed. They continue to tactically disengage from the area].
[Set at Manhize during dusk. Mujibha Raymond has been welcomed by the base commander and he has narrated his story chief among it being that some comrades have turned traitors. As Malonglong and Tapfuma approach Manhize we see people at the base scattering and Raymond being whisked away deep into the mountain range. The commander immediately shouts at them ordering them to stop]
Commander: Okay, stop, right there!
Tapfuma: [interjects] Comrades...
Commander: I said stop. Don’t comrade us, traitor! In case you hadn’t been told my name is Comrade Disaster Cheropa I don’t do this comrade business with whites and their bootlickers. Bhunu ibhunu chete and don’t give us the he is on our side business. Now Mikono juu, hands up!
[All the others at the base sing Mutengesi Chenjera, vana mukoma vanorova vanorova nematanda]
Commander: Hands up, now! Jamba jecha mutengesi. [And he leads in another song: Ukatamba nemukadzi wangu Chirenje iwe ndinokutongera pakaoma. Others join him and say Chirenje Baba].
Tapfuma: Comrades we are not handing anything up, if you are going to kill us shoot us right now, here! We had enough of this for the whole day we can’t follow you now.
Malonglong: He is correct Comrades, let’s not waste unnecessary time. We are being pursued and we can easily compromise everyone it’s rather better to take our positions.
Commander: [indignantly] Shut up, traitors! By the count of 5 and I search by fire! [addressing his troops] Comrades where have you ever seen a white person fighting on our side?
[others, together] Never, it’s taboo. The ancestors will turn in their graves.
[Within a short time they start receiving fire from the direction where Malonglong and Tapfuma are standing. The commander Yells at his troops] Take your positions and return fire! [All of the guerrillas flee taking positions and start returning fire to repel the attacks. They dig in and both Malonglong and Tapfuma take their positions with their colleagues and they return fire in a collective effort to repel the attack. After an hour of the skirmish the attack is successfully repelled with heavy losses on both sides. During the attack the base commander comes face to face with Farai Mazondo who shoots him.
Farai Mazondo: [chiding] Be those gandanga! [and he laughs wickedly]The Commander is injured. Comrade Tapfuma tries to accost him but fails and Farai also shoots at him. Tapfuma takes the bullet but it’s not a severe wound.
Farai Mazondo: [again chidingly] Manzwa bhata! But he is seen by Malonglong who shoots at him. Farai falls to the ground and is presumed dead.
Malonglong: Wanyura mupanduki, sarapo!
The skirmishes continue but the attack stops as the Rhodesian soldiers hit a hasty retreat towards waiting vehicles. Farai’s body is taken in the confusion. The guerrillas pursue them for a few metres but call off the pursuit as they can see the enemy is on the run. After assessing the situation they decide to follow Raymond so as to ferry him and the injured soldiers to the liberated zone in Wedza. Tapfuma has also been hit leaving Malonglong as the sole trained guerrilla who has not taken any hit and who is now tasked with having to secure Raymond together with the injured comrades and ferry them to the safety of Wedza.
Malonglong: [panting] Now comrades we have to secure Mujibha Raymond and all of our injured comrades without wasting a minute.
Commander: There is a problem Comrade.
Tapfuma: What problem now Comrade Disaster, I think you have seen how all of us fought together and repelled the enemy’s advances.
Commander: Oh yes, yes. Well that’s not the point.
Malonglong: So what is the problem Komu?
Tapfuma: What is the problem Komu?
Commander: You know it comrades that I did not make tradition. Manhize has its owners, its spiritual, it’s not for us. The rules are that Comrade Malonglong is not allowed to go into Manhize. Whites are not allowed there.
Commander: I am not the spirit!
[They are suddenly blinded by a tall figure. He is an unworldly tall man, with unworldly dreadlocks and eyes. He has a very long walking stick. It is clear they have been visited by an apparition. They all bow down as it beckons them to stand up]
Apparition: What’s your problem, my sons?
Commander: [his voice suppressed from both the pain of injury and a mixture of respect and fear of the apparition] It’s the fur-skinned one my elder.
Apparition: [clears his throat] What hasn’t he done to show you his worth? Hasn’t he fought your wars?
Commander: Oh my Elder, yes he has done so. He has excelled in battle but we are not here to make our own rules. Manhize is holy, and you gave us the rules.
Apparition: [clears his throat again] Wars are fought to bring justice not to exert revenge my children. The war you are fighting is to liberate the mind and bring justice for all not for revenge. The white man here is your comrade, he is our son too and we allow him as we have done all of you the freedom of Manhize as long as you adhere to the strict code. Manhize ine miko yayo! Yes Manhize is holy but Manhize knows how to separate visitors from strangers, and how to differentiate explorers from thieves. We made this place with that in mind and so we grant all of you the freedom of Manhize. Your fellow comrade can proceed to take the boy. [The apparition disappears but they don’t notice]
Commander: So my elder how will do in the .......[he cannot finish his sentence as he notices the apparition is gone].
Malonglong: He is gone Comrade Disaster. So you remain here mukoma, I will rush and pick the others. You said Comrade Mboma has a car so we will drive in that car.
Commander: Ummm Comrade isn’t it risky?
Malonglong: If we are stopped I will just pretend that I am a farmer and you are all my workers. They will fall for the trick.
[He leaves to pick up Raymond and they re-enter the base with Raymond to the amazement of the whole troop]
Commander and Tapfuma and the others: Comrade Malonglong! The guerrilla farmer!
Commander[on his own]: Comrade this has been your month.
[They conceal their weapons in a tent and all get into the car and drive off wearing workman suits for disguise. They manage to travel with a few incidents. At one point they are stopped but the men manning the checkpoint are convinced at the sight of the white driver, Malonglong].
SCENE FOUR, ACT1
[As they are travelling towards Wedza, the car that is carrying some of the injured guerrillas is briefly stopped at a checkpoint. It is tense as the checkpoint is manned by both police and the army. They are all armed with assault rifles as well as guns]
Black Policeman: [sifting through the front seats] And where could you be going in this mess?
Malonglong: [feigning anger and with authority] Hey soldier, do I look like a thief to you?
Police: [trepidated] Ahhhh sorry boss, but you have black people in the back of the car.....
Malonglong: They are my workers you bastard, what’s the matter?
Black Policeman: [withdrawn] So-rry boss but......
Malonglong: [interjecting] But what? Are you arguing with me boy? Wena gandanga in police uniform haikona?
Black Policeman: Nonono boss, let me call.......
White Soldier: [interjecting] What’s the problem sergeant?
Black Policeman: [shaking] Sorry boss
Malonglong: Officer your boy yena gandanga futi?
White Soldier: [peeping through] Sorry sir, oversight but my boy is a good man. Hey all clear you may go sir. Sergeant, let him go.
Malonglong: [feigning anger] Hiya, tell the boy that next time I will shoot him straight away if he behaves like this.
Black Policeman: [shaking] Sorry sir. Thank you sir!
[They drive away but as they fade out of sight all laugh. They do not encounter anymore checkpoints].
[We see Black September arriving at the main base in Wedza. But upon being asked where the package is and failing to explain he is taken prisoner and is interrogated together with his party]
Interrogating Officer 1: Right listen very carefully ndugu, my name is Jindwi. I don’t have time to waste here. You and your party here will be held prisoner. Comrades you have not convinced us that you are not Selous Scouts together with your band of sellouts. Before the end of the day we will just kill you, you know how we deal with your kind.
Mai Mazondo: [shaking] Honest, is this why we supported you? We have gone through a lot already and we don’t deserve this?
Interrogating Officer 1: Deserve what? Hey do you think this is a joke? You know what all the comrades who fell today are my brothers in blood. We trained together and you guys come here to tell me you escaped and you were working with a white comrade? Where is he? Where is the package?
Black September: Ndugu, these are friendly civilians that you are holding prisoner here.
Interrogating Officer2: [slightly conciliatory] Pay attention Ndugu, Comrade Jindwi is not in the mood. And I know him when he is in his elements you better advise your colleagues.
Bernita: [sobbing loudly] What have we done to deserve this? We expect this from Ian Smith not you.
Interrogating Officer1: But you are with Smith that’s why we are treating you like this. Here, Ndugu! [he beckons at another guerrilla who obeys indicating he is lower in rank]. [Addressing the guerrilla] Comrade, tell everyone to assemble. Justice will be meted on these sellouts in full view of the whole village. [He leaves the place. Bernita sobs even louder, Hilda joins her as panic grips Mai Muzondo who mumbles inaudibly. Black September and Mutongi Murozvi remain reserved].
Interrogating Officer 3: [A female guerrilla bursts in. She is wielding a light machine gun and is clad in green fatigues] Hey hey who is making that noise? Who is it? Is it you? [she says holding Bernita’s chin and forcefully lifting it up] You haven’t even started crying, you are laughing. We have cried rivers and dried them. Do you think we are joking here? My name is Rusununguko Bhinyabhinya, I survived Chimoio but I know one thing, there is a traitor we left on the loose called Nyati. He caused those deaths because we allowed him to. Since then I have learnt one big lesson, traitors and their children must be dealt with before they deal with you. [She turns her attention to Hilda who is still sobbing very loud] Hey I am telling you to stop your noises, bitch! [she pokes the barrel of her rifle into Hilda’s temple. Hilda sobs even louder but the interrogating officer commandeers her] I said shut up, traitor!
Interrogating Officer2: [conciliatory] Calm down Komu, she is our sister. Hey comrades, if you are, please reveal yourselves now. Konyayi varume nemihanzvadzi. Hey I know these Comrades, what they are saying is true. At Chimoio they swam in the blood of their departed comrades. These are killers and they can do so any minute now. They have collected forty-four skulls of traitors so far and still counting. [He pauses] I must confess I envy them though. [He pauses again] Now once again who are you? If you are truly some of us where is the package? You see the problem here is that some of you have defected and we can’t trust anyone now.
[Suddenly the guerrilla who had been sent to the village returns]
Guerrilla: Chef, the villagers have assembled!
Interrogating Officer2: [he whispers to both Interrogating Officers 1 and 3. Suddenly his face is sullen, his mood changes, and all of them appear more serious]. Okay, take their weapons. Comrades, disarm! Charlie, Charlie! [he is talking to Black September and Murozvi Mutongi. Both look at them and shake their heads. They surrender their weapons].
Black September: [pleading] Comrades, do this to us but please spare the friendly civilians.
Interrogating Officer1: Shut up, traitor!
[They are all bundled and dragged towards the villagers who have assembled under trees. Their mood is also sombre. On arrival Interrogating Officer2 addresses them]
[They move towards where the villagers have assembled. Black September, Bazooka. Mutongi Murozvi. Mai Muzondo, Bernita and Hilda are unceremoniously dragged to the assembly point].
Interrogating Officer2: [very serious and addressing the villagers] Fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters it’s us who have called you here. As we have already told you we have traitors here. Our experiences have taught us to deal with their kind as soon as possible. Just today in Mhondoro, which we always thought was another Moza, part of their group defected and killed our comrades. The people you see here said they survived but we have asked them where a comrade they were supposed to bring is and they said they have sent a “white comrade” to pick him up.................
Villagers: [uproar] White what? Traitors, kill them. Kill them! They must die!
[They start singing: Comrade kana pane chinhu, chinenge chakukanganisa unoshingirira kuti ubudirire. Soon after they sing “Mutengesi ucharohwa chete, Mutengesi ucharohwa chete nevakomana. Haikona kutamba neropa iro, haikona kutamba neropa revakomana].
Interrogating Officer 3: [instructive] Prone position, prone! [she is addressing Black September and his colleagues. They are being dragged to a secluded tree when suddenly from the entrance, Malonglong’s vehicle emerges and they disembark from the car. Mujibha Raymond is there and so are the injured comrades].
Interrogating Officer2: Okay stop everything forthwith! Let’s all welcome our comrades. [There is ululation and singing as they move to welcome Malonglong and Raymond. Black September and Mutongi Murozvi are untied].
Interrogating Officer2: [to Black September and his team] We are sorry comrades but we are in a war. [Upon seeing Raymond he rushes to him and they hug] Brother you are alive? I never thought I would see you again!
Raymond: I am happy too brother.
Interrogating Officer2: Would you have recognised me had I not introduced myself?
Raymond: No way brother. And you heard about father and mother?
Interrogating Officer2: Don’t worry, they are doing their part.
Mai Mazondo: Hey hey, my son Godfrey I surely had no clue it was you. Bernita, Hilda, come and greet Comrade Godfrey, Mai Gwashavanhu’s son!
Hilda and Bernita: [rushing to the scene and eventually hugging] Hey hey comrade Godfrey!
Interrogating Officer2: It’s me!
Hilda and Bernita: You almost killed us sure.
Interrogating Officer2: That’s what war does comrades!
Raymond: Brother, these comrades looked and still look after me. You have them to thank for my being alive. That white comrade, Malonglong and Black September are angels from Heaven.
Interrogating Officer2: The war is not over yet brother! One day we shall sit down and thank them properly. Comrades, please! [he beckons at Black September and Malonglong to come to him. They both oblige].
Interrogating: I am Godfrey Gwashavanhu.......
Black September [staring at Malonglong and Raymond] So you are......
Interrogating: Yes, I am his brother. My other two brothers are out there, one is in Nechavava in Gaza and the other is back at the rear he is in the Commissariat. Survived Nyadzonya and was sent for intelligence training in the GDR.
Malonglong: Ha, STACI, I was there as well.
Interrogating Officer2: Me too, 1973, with Comrade Tungamirayi.
Malonglong: 1975 with Comrade Dzino.
Black September: Hiya, STACI, 1975 with Comrades Malonglong and Dzino.
Interrogating Officer2: I am the overall Commander here, I oversee the whole liberated zone. Hey so you two are my terrible twins. And these three days of action have happened in September, Comrade Black September.
Black September: Chef.
Interrogating Officer: And you trained together and fight together, Comrade Malonglong?
Interrogating Officer2: So from today onwards Comrade Malonglong you are to be known as Comrade White September, Black September’s twin. You will fight together as always and die together if death comes, ndugu!
Malonglong and Black September: White September, Ndugu!
Interrogating Officer2: [he turns his attention to Bernita and keeps staring at her] Comrade Bernita, I heard what happened. I am sorry Comrade but you are still young Comrade.
Bernita: [slightly shy] That’s true chef.
Interrogating Officer2: The war will end one day Comrade Bernita! We need to think about that. We can’t stay like this forever you know that.
Bernita: When the time comes I will remember your words.
Malonglong: [hesitates but then proceeds] Now that you broke the ice Chef, I have the same words for Comrade Hilda. You see I am a widower too but I don’t intend it. The war will end.
Hilda: [hesitant too] I hear you Comrade. Only that this is not the right time.
Malonglong: I know comrade but with this remember my words when the right time comes. [He takes off his necklace and hands it to Hilda]Don’t worry about the photo there, it is my mum’s. My departed wife wore it, I always remember my mum through the woman I love. Keep it and remember me.
Hilda and Bernita smile, as the guerrillas look on. All the civilians join other villagers as the guerrillas move away to take their positions. [The villagers are singing: Dzima rambi tiende kwaMutare netsoka and then follow that up with Wedza kuchamhembe kune morari. Fades]