Clive Malunga

Love Knows No Colour nor Creed

After retiring from the army I worked briefly for an organisation called Germany Volunteer Services (GVS). The organization was led by a Germany national called Mr. Helmut Oban. I had met Mr. Oban at Chapman Golf Club where diplomats would meet to socialize. I worked as a receptionist. It was during the formative days of GVS, so Mr. Oban and I were the only workers of the organisation at that time. I spent most of my time seated waiting for phone calls or filing newspaper cuttings. The job routine was very monotonous and boring. Things got worse when the organisation offered me a car when I couldn’t drive. I was ashamed of myself and quit the job. Those days it was not easy to pass a provisional driver’s licence, let alone a driver’s licence.

During the 80s Zimbabwe was viable. It was easy to hop from one job to another if you were connected. I was a hunter of upmarket places. I started attending cricket training sessions at Mountbatten Social Club. It had been an all-Indian social club. Very few blacks attended the training sessions. This is the place where I met one of Zimbabwe ‘s finest boxers called Flash Chisango. He used to work at Jarzin Supermarket. We ended up becoming great friends. Flash emigrated to Australia in the late eighties to pursue boxing at an international level. I love boxing a lot. It is one of my hobbies. At my house in Warren Park, I even stayed with a boxer called Victor Frank before he relocated to Bulawayo.

I frequented upmarket areas because of the opportunities that they would avail. I was very quick to overcome the fear of being segregated. I also paid several visits to my senior Comrade Nesangano at the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO offices were at Corner Harare Street and Samora Machel Avenue next to Rixi Taxis. Comrade Nesangano who has since emigrated to Namibia was one of the top officials at the ILO offices. I was very proud of his achievement and felt inspired to study hard. He had shown that it was possible to reach a very high level and I wanted to emulate him.

One evening I attended a music concert at Club Hideout 99 in Southerton Suburbs. By chance, I met Comrade Nesangano with his workmates at the concert. Most of Cde Nesangano ‘s workmates were Swedish citizens. I had met most of them at ILO but had never talked to any of them. On this occasion Cde Nesangano introduced me to his colleagues and together we had a very good night. We danced and drank all night long.

Among Cde Nesangano ‘s workmates who attended the Club Hideout 99 concert was a lady called Lisbet. Lisbet and I talked and quickly clicked. Lisbet showed interest in knowing more about me and, in a short time we became great friends. Lisbet was one of the top officials at ILO. One day she invited me and my musical group to perform to a few invited guests at a function at her residency. The musical group I was promoting and managing then comprised the crème de la crème of Zimbabwean music namely Sekuru Gora, Mbuya Beaular Dyoko, Jonah Sithole and Kuda Henry Matimba all performing in a single group.  After the performance, I had a lot of time to talk to Lisbet. She became my first love as far as cross-cultural relationships are concerned. Our relationship did not last long because she was transferred to another country and I could not go with her since I was studying at Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA College).

What I learned from my short affair with Lisbet was that it was possible to love someone for whom they are, not what they have. She knew very well that I was financially retarded and came from a disadvantaged background. But what she treasured most was love and values of honesty and commitment.  I experienced genuine love.

My mentor and fellow musician, the late Tobias Areketa of the Shazi Band had introduced me to multicultural and multiracial interactions. He used to take me to many all-night parties in the low density suburbs of Harare and would introduce me to his many female and male white friends. It took me some time to get accustomed to relating to the white community as we were just emerging from the Rhodesian era of segregation, apartheid and discrimination. Brother Tobias worked very hard to kill the inferiority complex that was in me. He helped me to carry myself confidently and with dignity.

The Rhodesian white settlers had oppressed the black majority during their heavy handed rule. Being born black meant being born to be a servant of the whites. Most blacks ended up believing that we were second class citizens and inherently inferior to the white race and it was not easy to overcome that mindset.

When I started Jenaguru Arts Centre with Tomoko Takahashi in 1990 many up-coming and seasoned musicians used to spend time at my office, Grassroots Building, Kaguvi Street. Some of the musicians who started their careers at Jenaguru are Maxwell Chikowore (popularly known as Changa(mire) Nyamatsatse) of the popular song Memo, David Mangena, popularly known as Muzi of the Tombofara hit song and many others.

I first met Tomoko at the Japanese Embassy in Harare in 1990. I was busy trying to raise money to start the Jenaguru Musical Festival which would have its first performance in 1992.  Tomoko was a diplomat at that time. I applied for sponsorship to the Embassy.  In fact, I had applied to many embassies for sponsorship hoping that one of them would back my proposal. I met Tomoko when I went to support my application. She was in charge of the arts department at the embassy.

I told her my dream that I would want to use Jenaguru Musical Festival to unite musicians because during those days there was no unity among musicians. I also told her that I would want to create a fund that would support musicians in their times of need. I wanted to change the music industry by promoting Zimbabwe ‘s unique types of rhythms. My presentation touched the hearts and minds of all those who were in the meeting.

Tomoko was convinced as well as shocked to see an African patriot who was eager to work for his nation. Mine was a national agenda which later benefited many local musicians, fans and the media. The international musical landscape also benefited as we ended up inviting international artists to the Jenaguru Music Festival.

When I met Tomoko for the second time, she assured me that she would assist me financially as an individual minus the Embassy of Japan. We started having meetings in Harare Gardens. Back then Harare Gardens was a beautiful well looked after place. We usually met during her lunch time. By then I was 30 years old.

As our friendship grew, we started changing places. We would meet at Wimpy, Le-Pari Restaurant, Barbous Restaurant and Meikles Restaurant. Between 1990 and 1991 our friendship had grown so strong that we started planning for the Harare Gardens Concert in 1992 together. She was impressed by the magnitude of what I wanted to achieve and she enjoyed sharing my vision. I had sold the project to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture as well as the National Arts Council. They had thought I was proposing a ridiculous project.

We started exchanging personal information. She wanted to know more about me just as I also wanted to know more about her including her family. In 1991 Tomoko and I drove to Malbereign Outdoor Drive-in Cinema to watch a film called Mississippi Masala which was about a love affair between an African American man and an Indian girl. I learned a lot from the film which was centred on multiracial relationships. There were only two places in Harare where you could go and watch a movie on an outdoor movie screen. We had Malbereign Drive-in and Jaggers Masasa Drive-in. I was exposed to many good things which I had never expected to happen in my life time.

I was on the forefront of organising the First Jenaguru Musical Festival in 1992 while Tomoko remained in the background. The show was a resounding success. Harare Gardens was packed to capacity. That Harare Gardens concert was the ice-breaker which brought us even much closer. We started dating in 1992.

Tomoko is from a well up family. Her brother is a well-known lawyer in Tokyo who studied in Japan and the USA. The family runs a family merchandise shop. Clive being from a poor family background, I wondered how I would handle situations in this relationship. Tomoko assured me that her family is not racist and would accept her choice. Indeed, I was accepted into her family. Tomoko’s brother, mother and aunt even came to visit Zimbabwe. I enjoyed their company.

Tomoko then bought me a Mercedes Benz 230 E model. I was the first musician in Harare to drive a Mercedes Benz. At that time a Benz was only chauffeur driven for the President of the Republic and his cabinet ministers. So my car created a lot of heat waves in Harare and elsewhere. Tomoko wanted to change my life for the better. My first flight was to Victoria Falls. From then on I started flying to Japan and South Korea on music and dance cultural exchange programmes.

I have travelled in Japan extensively.  I have realised that the Japanese are very patriotic and proud of their country. They invest heavily in its development. The South Koreans are also like that. If I compare with my motherland Zimbabwe, we are 200-300 years behind in terms of development.

Tomoko taught me to desist from lying and cheating. She told me that honesty is an indispensable attribute of a good human being. I am not claiming that in European and Asian races there are no dishonest men and women. However, I think the ratio or percentage is far lower when compared with relationships in black communities.  In my life I have learned true love through personal experience.

I cannot forget that Tomoko assisted me with the burial of my father from start to end. She became not only a part of my life but also a backbone of it. She encouraged me to build Jenaguru Arts Centre as well as build a Jenaguru Village with 16 residential houses in Greendale suburbs. I am humbled and I cannot afford to disappoint her in whichever way.

Jenaguru Village

I have realised that there is more to life than just having money. One needs a clean heart, a clean lifestyle and a clean spirit. Achieving these is not easy but they are values worth pursuing. There are angels out there – sent by our almighty heavenly Father to guide and to love.

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