WHEN he used to share a bed with President Mnangagwa back in time, Cde Sylas Takawira Mashupiko Masawi never dreamt that one day he would be a guest at State House meeting his old pal, who is now the country’s first citizen.
Yesterday, was therefore an emotional day for the 83-year-old man who now stays in Mazowe and has had a fulfilling life.
Like his old friend the President, Cde Masawi was arrested during the country’s liberation struggle days but before that, the two were bosom buddies.
“I stayed with the sitting President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa in Highfield at his uncle Michael Mawema’s house, which was located opposite Mtanga Night Club. We used to cook together on the two-plate paraffin stove. We used the same room and same bed.
“I met Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa soon after he came from China where he was trained. Michael Mawema left the house for us. We were the only two people who were given the house by Michael Mawema,” said Cde Masawi.
When the former comrades met at State House yesterday, they shook hands and behind closed doors reminisced on the paths that destiny has chosen for them.
Speaking after the closed door meeting, an emotional Cde Masawi said he needed some time to savour the reunion before he could delve into the past when he used to share a bed with the man who rose to become President.
Turning the hands of time to January 1965, Cde Masawi said President Mnangagwa was arrested by police inspectors at Michael Mawema’s house in Highfield in connection with blowing up a train in the then Fort Victoria now Masvingo.
“His Excellency who is now the President of the Second Republic became the first one to be imprisoned and soon after that, I was also captured. This was the time we were separated because we were placed in different prisons,” he said.
A veteran nationalist, Cde Masawi was locked up between 1973 and 1978 and again in 1978, he was picked up only to be released after independence in 1980. Afterwards, he became a teacher.
The two comrades-in-arms continued to communicate, with Cde Masawi in 2002 knocking on the then Minister’s door for assistance in the construction of a school.
“In 2002, I went to meet my friend Emmerson and made a request for assistance to build a secondary school I had initiated (Shutu Adventist Secondary School). I was assisted in the construction of the secondary school. The school is there and complete now,” he said.
When the Second Republic was born in 2017, Cde Masawi supported its birth and today he is playing his part in the development of the country through agriculture.