Source: When motorcade finally heads to Mapanzure – Sunday News November 26, 2017
Freedom Mupanedemo/Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Bureau
A PROPER rural set up in all facets where goats bleat, cows moo and birds chirp carefree in the forest as if to announce that they own it, while neighbouring families in the spirit of unity and cohesion still sent for salt and mealie meal at dusk, Mapanzure community sits placidly, humbly and comfortably well in the Midlands Province of the country.
And to imagine that it is the land in whose bosom the umbilical cord of the President of Zimbabwe His Excellency, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was buried might seem unthinkable but that is the reality.
The road to Mapanzure rural community in the Zvishavane area where the President hails is somewhat a treacherous path which is unavoidable especially when one is coming from Gweru, via Shurugwi town.
Soon after passing the Central Business District of the dull, but rather busy mining town of Shurugwi, its cracked structures and ancient buildings on either side, the road escapes southwards.
Suddenly it steeps, meanders, blinds and strikingly drops, twisting and turning before bursting into a straight stretch, tearing apart Mapanzure communal lands on either side.
One has to drive aa vehicle that is in good condition in order to negotiate the unforgiving 6km stretch of steeping neckline of undulating mountains aptly called Boterekwa (meandering).
Steeping further, the gradient becomes even more dangerous and daring but with neatly carved mountain side lay-byes for emergency stops. At the foot of the mountain, the road rips through large swathes of land which forms Mapanzure communal lands.
These are communal lands where the newly inaugurated President, Cde Mnangagwa spent the better part of his boyhood tethering goats and cattle.
Here is home to President Mnangagwa’s only remaining aunt Gogo Deliwe Mpofu nee Mnangagwa who grew up with the boy Emmerson.
Affectionately known in Mapanzure as Gogo Dhedhere, she cannot wait to see her old boy, rolling in Presidential motorcade negotiating the hair-raising Boterekwa pass to his roots to relay to her the good news that he is now President of the land between Zambezi and Limpopo – Zimbabwe.
She is pretty sure it would be a matter of weeks if not days before the Presidential motorcade puffed and huffed, as it serpentines the Boterekwa pass to her homestead, the same homestead where President Mnangagwa’s father was born and bred, to talk to his “father”.
“I know it will be a matter of some days before he comes. It has been the norm, when he left home to join the liberation struggle, he came to me and told me that he was joining the liberation war. When he later became a minister in an independent Zimbabwe, he also came to me and told me of the development, when he was appointed Vice President of Zimbabwe he again came to me. I know now that he is the President, he will come to just say “father,” I am now the President,” said Gogo Dhedhere emphasising with gestures.
As one of the only remaining elderly close relatives to President Mnangagwa, Gogo Dhedhere said the President now regards her as his “father”.
“His father who was my brother died long back in Zambia where he had relocated to and I remained in the country and became the father figure. When (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses me, he refers to me as Baba (father). He doesn’t see me as his aunt but father,” said Gogo Dhedhere with an elderly grin.
She said she was sure President Mnangagwa would soon come to get her blessings. She described him as a humble man, very hard working during his childhood days, adding that she was confident he would deliver the mandate given to him by the nation.
“He was very hard working even when he was still a boy. I don’t remember having beaten him any day for an errant behaviour and I am confident he will work for the good of the people who gave him the throne and mandate to rule the country,” she said.
But Gogo Dhedhere had some kind word of advice for her “son”.
“He has been given the mandate to work for the people not for us the Mnangagwa family. He has the task to work for the whole nation so he must not loathe anyone. He must listen to people without keeping grudges. We know in politics there are long time grudges but when you have been given the mandate to work for the nation you work for everyone,” she said.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa’s neighbours said they were very happy that one of their own has been elevated to lead the country. President Mnangagwa’s neighbour Mrs Remember Mafunga said the President should uplift the livelihoods of rural people.
“Cde Mnangagwa had a rural upbringing and I remember him herding cattle with my late husband, Mr David Mafunga. They were best of friends before his family relocated to Zambia. We used to call his father VaMafidhi.
Our hope is that considering that he is aware of the plight of the rural people since he grew up in the same setup he should uplift our livelihoods.
“He must not focus on us because we are from the same area but should transform the livelihoods of all rural people in the country,” she said.
Another villager, Mr Evans Tafirei said he was proud of President Mnangagwa, adding that he had no doubt that he would deliver the nation to the Promised Land.
“Cde Mnangagwa is a soft spoken and principled man. As his neighbours, we are very proud of him. We walk tall today because we share the same rural home with the President.
‘We have no doubt that as a man who grew humble, respectful and intelligent, the country will prosper under his stewardship,” he said.