THE nation’s soul, guardian and revolutionary spirit, late Vice President Dr Simon Muzenda had a great interest in poetry and story telling.
During his spare time at his rural home in ZvavaHera Village in Gutu District, Dr Muzenda would invite children from the local community for story telling sessions at his home.
At public gatherings he would sometimes recite one of his favourite poems, Nehanda Nyakasikana, which was written by Professor Solomon Mutsvairo in his blockbuster novel, Feso.
The poem also had a great nostalgic influence on Dr Muzenda because some time before independence, he was arrested in Zvishavane after he recited it in public.
The poem denounces social injustice, white misrule and oppression so Ian Smith’s regime believed that anyone who recited it was acting in a subversive manner.
Dr Muzenda was tried for that and convicted by the High Court and sentenced to a 12-year jail term although he successfully appealed against the jail term, which was reduced to two years.
Below is the poem in full:
O Nehanda Nehanda! Kunozove riniko
Isu vanyai tichitambudzika
Mweya unoera kunozove riniko
Isu vanyai tichidzvinyirirwa
Ko toshingirira kudzamara kuve riniko?
Ko inga panguva yechando miti
Inokuhumuka mashizha yombowana
Mashizha yovawo nenhenhere
Shiri nemhuka nenyuchi dzokwezwa
Ko isu rugare ruchatisvika riniko?
Vana vacheche vatinobereka
Iwe samasimba vanova ndivo vadyi
Venhaka dzedu, nhasi vokura
Munyika yavo; voshaya nzvimbo
Nokuzvidekadza? Apa nepapo pazere
Makumbo avo ava nematazu
Neriripfumojena. Ko vosvikepiko?
Mudzimba dzose nomumisha yose
Vari kutandwa pamwe nokurohwa
Munzvimbo dzose nomumatare mose
Avanotongerwa, vari kungourayiwa
Pasina chikonzero, pasina mhosva
Pfuma yenyika nhasi yakatorwa
Vakagovana pahukama hwavo
Nhasi vari kudya mafuta ayo nyika
Isu tichidya nhoko dzvezvironda
Nhasi vari kudya vakora sehochi
Isu todzipwa toondoroka sembwa ine
Nhasi vagere murusununguko
Isu todzipwa huro nemajoto
Rusununguko Nehanda ndorupi?
Hamungaburukirewo kwatiri here?
Harahwa dzedu dzobatwa sepwere
Munyika yawavapa, musiki mugoni!
Havasisina rukudzo panyika;
Dambudziko guru ndiro ravawira
Baba mutsvene Gomo rine ngoni
Hamungotinzwawo kuchema kwedu here
Tine chitadzo chakakura sei
Chokubva matiramwa zvakadai?
Isu vaNyai tichidzinyirirwa
Neriri Pfumojena rasvika munyika
(Adapted from Feso, by Solomon Mutswairo, 1956)