Paul Brickhill speaks on his constant clash with authorities

Book Café Director, Paul Brickhill has defined his continued clash with authorities as a case of government’s departure from the founding principles of nationalism.

Paul Brickhill
Paul Brickhill

This follows the recent closure of Harare’s popular arts hangout by the police under mysterious circumstances.

Brickhill said the tension between him and authorities is a result of his continued fight against fascism.

“I believe the tension is a result of the departure from the nationalist principles that guided us during the struggle for a free Zimbabwe.

“Year by year we are moving deeper into repression and oppression which we fought against”, he said.

A foot soldier in the ZAPU military wing (ZIPRA) during the armed struggle against fascism in the then Rhodesia, Brickhill fought against his own race for the liberation of Zimbabwe.

His life has been of struggle after struggle to free the voice of black people.

He joined the liberation struggle at the age of seventeen in Mozambique, to be later station in the UK where he worked as a spy for the liberation movement.

Being born of white parents made him a great asset which was used to infiltrate the underground Scorpion group which had great links with the Rhodesian army.

Brickhill said he tried to join the ruling ZANU PF then but it had no place for a white men as it did not accept white membership.

After the attainment of independence, Paul moved back home to start a bookshop in 1981(Grassroots Books) which sold material banned and censored under Rhodesian governance.

Brickhill said he received the money from fellow Cdes in the liberation to start the book shop.

“From their first pay as ZNA soldiers, Cdes came together and donated $4000 and was firmly instructed to start a bookshop and a publishing house that would change a cultural error of oppression”, he said.

He said these are the principles he is still holding so dearly that’s the reason why authorities who have departed from these ideologies are constantly fighting him.

Brickhill’s profound love of music and realization that the history of Zimbabwe was not captured much in print but spoken word led to the formation Book Café in 1997.

A self-taught saxophone player, Paul was a member of the Solidarity band which was of mixed races, the fore-runners of the Bundu Boys.

They recorded two singles; one of them entitled Ngatibatane which spoke of uniting all races.

After its split, the Luckstreet Blues came into the picture in 1994 which he described as formed as an ‘accident of history’.

Named after a street in Harare, this group became a regular Saturday afternoon feature at the Book Café.

Paul Brickhill was first arrested in 1984 for selling late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s biography.

Since that time he has constantly clashed with authorities and has promised to soldier on till the voice of every Zimbabwean is emancipated.

Post published in: Arts

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