By Staff Reporter
“His remains might be interred in the bowels of Hurungwe, but his spirit cannot be erased from the face of the earth,” an aide to late Kwekwe Central Legislator said about the burial of Masango Matambanadzo. Blackman as Matambanadzo was known because of his skin pigment was buried last week in Hurungwe. However, the illustrious 56 years he has been on the face of the earth, which was panctuated last week after a battle with illness for quite some time will not be easily forgotten as he left a permanent imprint in Kwekwe. With a limited educational background, which saw him dropping from school at an elementary level of education, “grade 2,” the late Blackman according to Kwekwe residents was simply a “phenomenal,” human being. He breathed his last at his Amaveni home. The Amaveni home was found behind one of his properties the Amaveni Shops. “This is his home and office. The Honourable has the money to stay in a big house, since he have houses in Kwekwe’s leafy surbubs but he chose this backyard so as to connect with his passion, the people. His representation for the people. He chose this place so that he would be accessible to everyone from all social walks of life despite their political background, religious affiliation or anything,” Angela Nyathi a long time aide to Matambanadzo once told this reporter. It was this modest place that blackman breathed his last.”My passion lies in the people. I have a dream someday to see not only youths in Kwekwe but youths in the country live better lives. I am striving towards that path, for now i want to put a smile on someone’s face,” Matambanadzo said in one of the interviews. Rising from the gutter, Blackman rose not only to be an influential business man but an astute politician. Blackman, a street photographer turned, businessman, and a politician first attempt at representing Kwekwe in 2008 suffered a set back after he was trounced by Blessing Chebundo. This however, did not stop the determined Blackman to build support amongst modest members of the society in the mould of street vendors, artisinal miners, small scale traders, and the unemployed amongst others. In 2013 he was given the mandate to represent Kwekwe as an MP after again beating his political nemesis Chebundo. “Its quite a heartbreak loosing such a fellow colleague in the political arena at a time Zimbabweans need each other most to address our local and national challenges collectively! Unlike with others, I and him contested each other amicably like sports men does in a soccer game. We would mix easily outside of political party boxes. He was like my young brother,” Chebundo said of the death of Matambanadzo.
Even his Zanu PF rival Kandros Mugabe also offered his condolences. In his representation for the downtrodden Matambanadzo stunned many after he approached Kwekwe City in 2016 in the company of vendors and demanded that the now retired Town Clerk Emmanuel Musara gave vendors free reign to the city. “Allow them (vendors to trade) they have families to feed. We expect you to be practical as the educated in the society but i was wrong. With my grade 2 qualification i know people have to survive,” Matambanadzo said then. After falling out of favour with Zanu PF leading to his subsequent expulsion from Zanu PF, Matambanadzo went on to join the National Patriotic Front (NPF) a party aligned to the late President Robert Mugabe. “President Mugabe is like a father to me. He is leader par excellence, a man with qualities a few would match. I have much respect of him and will remain loyal to him,” he said in one of the interviews. Matambanadzo’s loyalty to the country’s founding President saw him amongst a few individuals attending the burial of Mugabe in Zvimba. Matambanadzo, would bounce back to parliament in 2018 under the NPF ticket-the only NPF candidate to be elected to Parliament, after the Zanu PF sack. NPF spokesperson Jealous Mawarire in confirming Blackman’s death emphasised that he was the only parliamentary candidate for the party. “Our only, MP Masango Matambanadzo is no more, its a very sad day for us as a party,” he said. Blackman’s popularity transcended the party which he represented. This was witnessed with the NPF launch in 2018 at Amaveni Stadium in Kwekwe were thousands thronged the venue. However, his second parliamentary term was dogged by health complications after he is suspected to have been poisoned late last year, a situation which saw him being flown to China. MDC Alliance Gweru Urban Legislator Brian Dube described his relationship with Matambanadzo. “I met Honourable Matambabadzo in 2008 when he was referred to my office when he wanted to Challenge his election loss in Kwekwe Central. I however could not represent him on professional grounds and he understood that and accepted my stand point. Since then, we have been having a cordial relationship. Although we differerd much on politics, we respected each other. From 2018 we met in Parliament as MPs and shared notes,” Dube said before describing Matambanadzo as a straight talker. “He was generally a straight talker, who always debated from an honest perspective and always told the truth. I had not seen him for a while in the last part of 2019, and we then met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. He did not look well. We had a long discussion and he told me that he was coming from China for medicals and insisted that I was never to tell anyone. “He explained how he suspected that he had been poisoned by political enemies. He could not disclose the names but just said, “Munin’ina vavengi vakawana ndakavarairwa ndikadya.” I kept the promise and did not tell anyone that I had met him. Although he might have done certain things wrong in both his political and personal life, he also did a lot of other things right. I want to remember him as the MP for Kwekwe Central who loved the people he represented and always represented them well in Parliament through sound and meaningful debate, as the Parliament Hansard will testify. May His dearest sole rest in eternal peace,” Dube said. In Kwekwe in defiance of lockdown regulations thousands thronged Amaveni to bid farewell to Matambanadzo a man who deligently represented all without discrimination. Many families will remember him of how he saved lives after selling mealie meal in 2008 at his Amaveni shops to anyone despite their political inclination. He immortalised his philanthropy on the packaging of the mealie meal packages which had a strong looking blackaman and the packets inscribed, “Blackman.”