By Dumisani O. Nyongolo Nkomo
The reception of the late Dumiso Dabengwa at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport in Bulawayo was electric with the young and the old present. Security agents were there in their numbers. It was touching to see former ZIPRA combatants barking their toyi toyi “ucommander” at the scene.
There were youths as well led by the energetic Ndodana Moyo doing their thing as ZAPU youths joined by Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) colleagues. Former ZIPRA guerrillas still stuck in ZANU PF were there .The enigmatic Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni was there so was charismatic former ZIPRA fighter Moses Mzila Ndlovu. Strike Mnkandla, a ZAPU Secretary General and former staff member at the United Nations looked there as well with their entire leadership.
Civil society was represented by the lanky and eloquent Effie Ncube, the irrepressible Mbuso Fuzwayo and the resilient Mike Ndiweni who were there together with hordes of reporters .When the plane arrived it was an emotional moment for me as I reflected on the arrival of the body of Dr Joshua Nkomo from Harare in 1999. I struggled to contain my tears as I reflected on 1980 when as small boys would watch “abafana” toyi toying past our house in Mpopoma with multitudes of scrawny, bare chested toddlers trailing behind the AK 47 wielding beret Clad combatants .
The service at Nyaradzo in Tshabalala was filled to the brim .The Master of Ceremonies (MC), G Sibanda was out of this world with his references to liberation theology scripture and ability to guide the mourners in powerful hymns such as “siyakudumisa”. When the African Episcopal Methodist Church took over, the congregation was uplifted to the heavenly realms.
The late Dumiso Dabengwa’s dear wife was also there together with the children including Thembie, a brave cadre from our Solusi University activism days. Bishop Sinda Ngulube preached a moving message on salvation. He had the crowd murmuring in approval when he thundered “some of you here are corrupt”. The MC rounded off by recounting how biblical Moses had demanded freedom of Israel from Pharaoh. He reminded the audience that Dumiso Dabengwa would not like Moses reach the promised land but those he fought for would end day enter the promised land.