By Margaret Kamba
We have heard so many accounts of the liberation struggle with many similarities to them. Each man and or woman shares their story from their eyes and each feeding into one ultimately huge account. They are all sad, fear gripping, full of drama and edge sitting accounts of how death was narrowly escaped. The war was not easy and any attempt to trivialize it should be met with some form of ridicule as the death and maiming of men and women is no child’s play.
What many of us are happy about is that these men and women have lived to tell the tale of how cruel the enemy is. Tales of how we must remain vigilant in fighting the enemy and how we need to remain resolute and fight the next war of economic emancipation of our people.
These stories are part of our history and information that we must cherish and document for future generations.
The story of Cde Kid Chazunza is yet another story that we write today, which tells an account of how he escaped the Nyadzonia attack thanks to the basic training given to the young men and women when they got to the camp.
“I had just finished my Form Two and had been waiting for my results when I left along with three of my friends for the war. We crossed through Katiyo because it is a stone’s throw with the Mozambican border. Then we went to base 5 of the Camaradas where we spent about a week before we were transported to Villa Katandika which is now Villa Guvheya where we spent three weeks. We were then transported to Nyadzonia camp.
When I got to the Nyadzonia camp I was just a civilian and we were part of the first people that arrived here. We built the camp from scratch putting up the barracks, guzinya, the Command and the hospital because it was all bush. It was later that the camp began to fill up with a lot of people who were coming from home for the liberation struggle.
We managed to get basic training. Cde Dzamatsama would blow his emergency whistle at a distance early in the morning or in the evening and everyone was expected to be up and run following the whistle. He would whistle again from different points and we were still expected to be following the whistle. It was one of the things that actually saved many people during the Nyadzonia attack because when he began to blow the whistle when the attack began saving a lot of comrades in the process.
The camp was full of civilians who were not trained and by then we were still refugees. It was only the Command that had trained personnel."
On the day that the attack Cde Chazunza said the armoured trucks came in and many ran towards them because they thought they were going for training.
“When the armoured trucks came that day, many people ran towards them. Me and my friends almost got close to the trucks when we heard one of the men ask Nyathi where the Command was. He pointed towards the Command, the guzinya and the barracks. After this that is when the firing started and surprisingly the bateleur eagles is shona the chapungu birds in the eagle family started hovering above the camp and a whirlwind engulfed the camp.
The bullets were coming hip level and missing a lot of people until Nyathi said ‘no the people are crawling, lower the barrels.’ That's when the bullets started coming on the ground.
I appreciate the basic tactics that we got at Nyadzonia because it saved my life and that of many comrades.
We had been told to lie on ground and crawl when firing started so most of us went flat on the ground and started crawling away from the armored trucks.
Some of us were crawling towards the Nyadzonia River while others were running on a low position. That is when I saw that my brother who was running on a low position had been hit on his leg by an armored bullet. You could tell that it was an amoured bullet because the leg was hit and fragmented.
I had to carry him until he said to me that I should leave him behind and save my life. I refused but he kept on insisting that I needed to go, since the enemy was in hot pursuit. Grudgingly I left him pretending to be dead.
With each depression you could see the bullets digging across the Nyadzonia river. The Nyadzonia River was red in blood and full of dead bodies. When the firing would stop, that when we would cross in order to save our lives. When we got to the Pungwe River, it was swarmed with crocodiles and when the Pungwe Bridge was blasted, the comrades had panicked and jumped into the river.
The crocodiles had a party. You could see them breaking people into halves and moving onto the next person. The instructors tried to calling out to people not to cross but they were scared of enemy behind and could not hear anything.
Nyathi akaurayisa vanhu. Vanhu vakafa musi iwoyo. It is painful and maddening for me to hear today people talking about returning the country to the coloniser because many people died including my brother."