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Morgan Tsvangirai Funeral: A Personal Account

Harare – To fully comprehend the late father of democracy – Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, one had to encounter the larger-than-life character i...

Harare – To fully comprehend the late father of democracy – Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, one had to encounter the larger-than-life character in person.

Sadly, not everyone was blessed with such rare moments, so it becomes compulsory to interact with those that he led.

By @Comic24Derick

Four days after Tsvangirai’s death – a burden to understand him unleashed my journalism curiosity. At noon, I left for Harvest House – the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) headquarters along Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare.

Tsvangirai’s remains were passing through the offices as a final salute to enthusiasts that he nurtured into a formidable opposition entity. The sky was promising a generous outpour – but an umbrella was an obstructive option.

Come rain or thunder
Upon arrival, undeterred crowds assembled, as the rain congregated its potency. Already, some innovative sections – mainly the youths had strategically stationed themselves on building tops, seeking a constant view of the action. Oblivious of the crowd dangers, I surged onwards – and suddenly, the temperature soared.

Moments later, the heavens loosened their outlets – unyielding, the crowds stepped their uproars. Ditching my journalism ethics, I joined the singing, mumbling some chants, while ignoring the pouring rain vehemently.
The Reporter at Freedom Square

Deafening applause signaled the arrival of the MDC leadership. Richard Tsvangirai Junior ascended to the makeshift stage to pronounce what the multitudes had awaited.

Future leader
“Nelson Chamisa, you know the heart of our late father – and it is now your time to lead the people into the Promised Land,” he pronounced, putting to bed the contentious succession debate that had threatened to derail the 18-year-old formation.

Before Chamisa assumed the podium, a drunken man was in a scuffle with a group of women behind me. My earlier attempts to save him were futile. Such moments were my main reason for avoiding similar gatherings. By the time the youthful leader-in-waiting came, he did not disappoint.

“We as the youths, we will not let the vision of Tsvangirai die. We will bury him but not the ideas that he stood for,” said Chamisa to a roaring ovation.

As people dispersed, I joined a band of MDC youth clad in complete red insignia. Along Enterprise Road, we got a free lift. And soon the party choruses were revived. The white mammoth dwelling at 49 Kew Derive in Highlands is as gigantic as the late MDC leader’s ego and robust appeal.

Freedom fighter
Entering the gate gave me a sense of obligation that had burdened my conscience since his death on 14 February 2018. Every inch of the vast open ground was occupied – youths gyrated to their favourate tunes, in dedication to their departed icon.

When the clock hit 9:00pm, the rain resumed – but the drum never ceased, as youths continued to wriggle in jubilation. Still, the convoy of cars trooped in as the night aged. At 12:30am, I left Highlands, getting ready for the final sendoff scheduled for Freedom Square the following day.

As anticipated, the subsequent day multitudes assembled to observe the final ceremony. MDC red regalia dominated the gathering – party choruses were unleashed as dancers whirled rhythmically with reckless abandon. Vendors peddled wares, employees sneaked in to join – everything was free, just as Tsvangirai had struggled for.

Final goodbye
After the scheduled speeches, punctuated by more family hostilities, the hero’s cadaver proceeded to Humanikwa village in Buhera – Tsvangirai’s home to be planted beside his first wife – Susan. Edwin – Tsvangirai's family first born dully concluded his father’s journey with an apt tribute.

“I want to honour my late father Morgan and mother, Susan Tsvangirai. The legacy they have left is a rich footprint,” said Edwin in presence of various dignitaries, including the Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

As you read this, my soul is at peace for being part of the estimated 750 000 people who paid homage to Tsvangirai. I feel I had finally met – the democracy doyen in person.

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