By Grace Mugebe
The 24th of January 2017 began like a normal day with a bit of the much needed sunshine after last week’s downpour of the rains. I got to the office merrily only to be dampened within seconds, our dear colleague and fellow comrade in the social and economic justice movement Comrade Ludwig Chizarura was no more!!! He was the Country Coordinator for the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information Negotiation Institute in Zimbabwe (SEATINI). What a bombshell! Comrade as I affectionately called him as a war veteran and also because of his warm, friendly, fatherly and compassionate persona… May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Comrade Chizarura or Mudhara Chiz as we would sometimes call him was the Country Coordinator for the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information Negotiation Institute in Zimbabwe (SEATINI). We shared the same office complex and for the 2 years that I have known him I can say I have lost a mentor and father figure. Comrade Chizarura never missed a smile on his face, he was a good listener. I will miss the occasional smell of his cigarettes and I would tease “Comrade tanzwa ne passive smoking” his reply was always gentle “ Sorry sorry comrade let me move to that other side”.
I will miss those tea break and lunch time conversations where we could talk about anything from your experiences as a Zimbabwe liberation war freedom fighter , to the black tea which you strongly dispised, the sadza and vegetables relish which was not your favourite and I would tease you again “Comrade Zimbabwe yaoma zvenyu zvekuti Gandanga haridye derere zvakapera nguva yehondo“. One day when it was sadza and vegetables he just checked and sai “izvi zvamava kuita izvi ndizvo zvakakonzera Chikurubi Prison riots!” Someone said zviri healthy izvi and its African dish. Cde Chizarura jibed “ don’t Africanise poverty….”. You were a humble Comrade who never boasted about your war credentials or demanded privileges.
You were gentle and humble in your conduct, my first days of working with you in January 2015 it took me more than a month to realize that you were the Director for SEATINI because of your down to earth nature. Most high office occupants do not waste time throwing their title weight around but not you Comrade. As a true Comrade humility was your middle name. Thank you for imparting that wisdom to me.
As we were on the long trip to Swaziland and back for the 2016 Southern Africa People’s Summit (SADC People’s Summit) you made that trip amazing. He always had stories to talk about. I recall how affectionately you told me of your lovely granddaughter how she sometimes made you angry and how your anger quickly vanishes at the sight of her innocent face. The youngest granddaughter ( 5 year old) once told him “ imi sekuru munedzungu but hamurove zvenyu!” he shared that story as he was buying clothes in Messina for them he promised that hehad a trick up his sleeve to get back at her. She was privileged to have you as her Grandfather. Go well Comrade.
Words may fail me, emotions overtake me…Its painful that you are gone forever. You are already missed Comrade. And that is not a “Hyena’s lie” as you once accused someone of telling a hyena’s lie as we were about to depart Swaziland.
To your daughters, grandchildren, family and fellow comrades in social and economic justice, deepest condolences.
Fare thee well Comrade Chizarura!!!