Murehwa man will not give up

MUREHWA - Amid all the gloom and doom that is Zimbabwe today it is sometimes hard to find anything to cheer about. When you do, it is like finding a diamond in a dung heap. To discover a man of extra-ordinary courage and intelligence, not a leader or 'big man' in a prominent pos

ition, but an ordinary working man who day in and day out provides living proof of what it means to be a true Zimbabwean, that is a treasure worth finding.
I shall call him Murehwa Man because that is where he comes from though it is not his original home area. Despite very limited education he is one of the most intelligent and insightful young men I have ever met. He reads everything he can lay his hands on; he thinks deeply about issues and is utterly committed to helping bring about change in Zimbabwe.
Murehwa Man has already served his time in a Zimbabwean jail, not for criminal activity but for daring to march in protest against bread prices back in the days when bread was still available – let alone affordable. Murehwa Man knows what it is like to suffer for his beliefs. He has twice been visited at his home by local bully-boys threatening him with all sorts of punishment if he continues with his ‘dissident’ activities.
Just a week ago he received another such visit, this time form the local Political Commissar and his followers. More threats, more harassment and intimidation but Murehwa Man will not give up. And what was he doing that so angered the local party bigwigs? Distributing a newspaper that is what he is doing.Can there be any other country in the world, always excepting China and North Korea, where a simple thing like a newspaper can provoke such rage? But this is Zimbabwe and the newspaper was The Zimbabwean.
And after the bully boys had gone leaving Murehwa Man’s wife and family distraught, he comforted and reassured them because he is a loving family man and, undeterred, went straight back out to the bus station to organize the distribution of more copies of The Zimbabwean. Copies that will eventually find their way to the remotest villages deep in the rural areas where people get no news other than the drivel served up by Dead BC and maybe not even that if they have no radio or cannot afford batteries.
Murehwa Man talks to people, explains to them what the issues are, tells them their vote is their secret and that with the Council elections coming up they must exercise their democratic right and vote. Times are hard for Murehwa Man too, like everybody else, and work is hard to find. In the old days he could make a reasonable living as a sign painter but there is no work these days. He used to earn money writing names and addresses on school trunks but that business has disappeared as fewer parents can afford to send their children to boarding schools. And who needs signs for shops any more when the local council charges such exorbitant licence fees that shopkeepers are driven out of business. Even house painting is no longer an option when it is regarded as a luxury by the average householder who has more pressing issues to think about than a fresh coat of paint on his house.
Life is a constant struggle for Murehwa Man and his family and now with the threats hanging over them all he is worried about ‘going out’ to get work elsewhere Not many people realise that Murambatsvina last year stretched its tentacles right out from the cities to places like Murehwa. My friend lost his home while his hard-working, wonderful wife lost her sewing business stand at the musika. But despite all this, Murehwa Man will not give up. He will go on doing what he believes to be right. And it is making a difference, he says. People are better informed; they are more aware of the real reason why things are as bad as they are. Will their votes once again be rigged in the Council Elections; only time will tell.
Murehwa Man is a true hero, a true man of the people. We could do with thousands more like him in Zimbabwe.

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