The day before Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga’s grandfather died, he called the future general to his bedside and said: “What I wanted to achieve I could not achieve, but you are going to do it. Iwe ndiwe Nyikadzino. Ndiwe Nyikadzino, zita randakakupa uchiberekwa, you are going to fulfil this destiny.”
That was back in 1965. Gen Chiwenga was just nine-years-old, and he says he did not understand what his granddad was talking about.
Today, not only does the former Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces appreciate those oracle-like words, so does the rest of Zimbabwe and — indeed — the whole world.
Let’s go back to an interview he had with The Sunday Mail in August 2016 to better grasp who Gen Chiwenga is he, where he came from, and why he does the things he does.
“My joining the struggle was because of my grandfather. He was a nationalist of his own kind and I don’t think even the late Rekayi Tangwena equalled him.
“In 1930 he addressed an all-white meeting at what was then called Market Square to say, ‘You whites, you didn’t bring any soil. Did you bring any soil in your hands and sprinkle it around and create Zimbabwe? This is our land.’
“And from 1930 right up to the time when he died in 1965, my grandfather was in and out of prison. Because of the background of our family, we had guns we called gidi remutsindirwa, which we got from the Portuguese through trading with the Portuguese during the Mutapa Empire. My great-grandfather, Matangira, had five wives. The fifth wife was a Portuguese. The family history says a lot of gold and ivory — we don’t know the quantum — was given as lobola for her.
“When the King of Portugal heard that the people in birthday suits had married a white, the Portuguese governor, who was then in Tete, was told ‘take our daughter back’.
“When the Portuguese came, they said they had come to see their new son-in-law. There was a big feast for two weeks, seven-days beer was brewed, a lot of cattle were slaughtered. The Portuguese had their strong liquor, which was mixed with the seven-days, and everyone went to sleep. By the time they woke up the following morning around 11, the Portuguese were nowhere to be found. Our soldiers ran to the royal hut where the youngest queen was supposed to be, but she was not there. They sent a messenger to our allies to say ‘as a friend, can you send a blocking force, the Portuguese have taken the king’s wife’. Makombe did not co-operate.
“Guveya was given an army to follow up the Portuguese and Guveya was killed at Villa Guveya, which is now Katandika in Mozambique. The rifle he used was taken (from our family) by the whites after the Battle of Chinhoyi in 1966.
“It was taken from my mother when people said this woman was keeping automatic rifles. It was an antique and they took it. I have tried until now to track it but I think it is already out of Zimbabwe.
“When my great-grandfather Chiwenga died, my grandfather was about 15 or 16 and he could not be made chief because he was under-age. So they took his uncle and they married his uncle to his mother, but with the condition that my uncle will never get into the house of my grandmother.
“Later they said to my grandfather ‘take the chieftainship’, but he could not be chief because the whites wanted him to wear the modern red gowns and he refused. That’s when he started fighting the whites.
“When nationalist politics started in 1956 he was in the ANC, then the National Democratic Party and then he was arrested as a member of Zapu. When (Zapu) split he remained in Zapu together with the late Vice-Presidents Joshua Nkomo and Joseph Msika.
“They were the first ones to be sent to Gonakudzingwa. He was only released from Gonakudzingwa 1965 because he was now aged. He was the oldest prisoner at that time. He was released in February 1965 and he died on October 11, 1965.”
That is Gen Chiwenga for you.
In that August 2016 interview with myself and Tinashe Farawo, who is now with Zimparks, the world was given a glimpse into the fire of revolution that courses through Gen Chiwenga’s veins.
We saw a man who loves his country and has proven time and again that he will put his life on the line for it. Which is why he warned the politicians so long ago not to take this nation and its Constitution for granted.
Evidently restraining himself, he advised, “We have been watching and people should not make the mistake of crossing the Rubicon . . . Vanhu ngavaende kudzimba vanodya sadza ravo vakazvigarira . . .
“Do you think God is going to create another Zimbabwe? This is the only Zimbabwe which was created by God and therefore we must protect it. Let’s speak with one voice and pull in one direction; that’s what we should do.
“. . . vanhu ngavapute mbanje dzavo zvakanaka, hazvirambidzwi. Kana ririshave rekumusha kwenyu it’s ok, putayi ikoko — don’t disturb us because we have lost thousands of innocent sons and daughters.
“And please don’t move around muchifukunyura vanhu and you start thinking that you are war veterans. What kind of nonsense is that? Vamwe takasvika kuvaona muno vachipfeka manapukeni yet now they claim they are more revolutionary than the real comrades. Ndochii ichocho? It must stop. Hazviitwe.
“We were reading mapepa paakatanga kuti ‘when you want to destroy Zanu-PF you need to do it from within’. Vaitiudza kuti kuchazoita vamwe vechidiki vanofanirwa kutonga. Hazvina kunyorwa here? Munoti tanga tisingazvioni? Hazvisizvo here zvirikuitika? Ngatidye sadza zvakanaka.”
His counsel went unheeded by the criminals who had surrounded Cde Mugabe as they recklessly crossed the Rubicon.
And with his statement on November 13, 2017, Gen Chiwenga fulfilled the Nyikadzino Prophecy his legendary grandfather made on October 10, 1965.