ZPRA vet’s house renovated

Former ZPRA member David Moyo (97), also known as Sharp Shoot, had his house in Emganwini Suburb renovated and extended in honour of his contribution to the liberation struggle by a South African-based businessman, Mpumelelo Phiri.  

Moyo was a talented marksman and combatant, who bravely fought against the colonial forces. 

Although Moyo and other former ZPRA freedom fighters were instrumental in the country’s liberation, their contributions received little credit after independence. 

To express gratitude for Moyo’s sacrifices, Phiri, who owns a construction company in South Africa and Ngamla Professionals (Private) Limited locally, decided to renovate his Emganwini home. 

Speaking at the handover ceremony on Thursday, Phiri said he wanted to invest back home and help veterans who had participated in the struggle. 

“I am a plumber by profession and in South Africa, I own one of the biggest construction houses there. I did very well and decided to invest back home.  I registered Ngamla Professionals that runs supermarkets locally,” he said. 

Phiri said he went to the office of the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, to identify one war veteran who he could assist. 

“War veterans liberated this country for us to be able to own these businesses. I wanted to set an example, even though I cannot do everything on my own, I extended the house,” he said. 

The renovated house now comes with a special setup for people with disabilities to use. 

“This setup is next to the bedroom and Sharp Shoot is able to go into the toilet, wash and use the toilet while he is in his wheelchair without anyone helping him,” Phiri joked that he was also proving his capabilities as a plumber. 

“I thank the war veterans for liberating us. We don’t have this freedom in other countries and I also thank President Emmerson Mnangagwa who said Zimbabwe was open for business and that brick by brick we will get to the top.” 

Phiri urged other businesspeople to help war veterans “while they are still alive and enjoying the fruits of their sacrifices.”  

Other ZPRA cadres, including Moffat Hadebe (86), the first black man to fire a gunshot in the armed struggle in September 1964, attended the ceremony. 

“Sharp Shoot was our class monitor in 1952 and was strict. I was 15 at the time and he mentored me. He was a fast sprinter and even caught a rabbit when we were at school that’s why we called him Hunter. We met again in 1964 in Zambia,” he said.  

“I with other six men fought with whites in Kezi and those other six have all died. I’m the only one alive. After our group, that’s when Sharp Shoot’s group with Tshinga Dube came. We fought for this country and it’s good because Zimbabwean children are enjoying it now.”   

Former War Veterans Minister and ex-ZPRA, Tshinga Dube, narrated Moyo’s history and detailed how he was determined to defeat the colonialists. 

“He was born in Kezi and was a sprinter, who would outdo police, who patrolled in motorcycles. In Maphisa, there’s a police camp named David after Sharp Shoot before he even went to the war,” he said. 

Dube said he and Moyo were in a group of 15 who crossed back into the country but the other 13 have since died.

“We trained and stayed together in the early 1960s at Nkomo camp in Zambia next to Lusaka for some time until it was time to cross back,” he said, detailing some of their experiences while crossing the river into Zimbabwe. 

“That time it was tough to cross the river. We had no dingy boats but used makeshits used for fishing, which would be filled with water that we continuously had to scoop out so that we don’t capsize, also facing possible attacks from hippos and crocodiles.”    

Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister said the gesture shown to Moyo was in line with the president’s vision of “leaving no one behind.” 

Ncube also praised the war veteran’s office for assisting some of the elderly veterans. 

“Recently one of the war veterans, MaNdlovu known as Anya Anya was very ill and I phoned the office to assist. She had a massive growth in her head and that office ran around and managed to get her to hospital for an operation. It seems her condition is starting again and she called me three weeks ago. I called the office to assist and she was taken to hospital,” she said. 

Irene Moyo nee Mseza (70), Moyo’s wife, expressed gratitude for the family’s recognition and noted that there were many other war veterans in her husband’s situation who needed assistance. 

The Bulawayo City Council also gave the Moyo family a Certificate of Occupation for the house.

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