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Dhewa: My other brother

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It was with great shock, on what seemed to have been a fine Saturday evening, that I learnt that the nation had been robbed of one of its greatest sungura giants, Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.

Dhewa was not an ordinary cancer patient, he was a brave fighter. He told me that he had to fight this chronic condition simply because his children still needed him.

The Muchina Muhombe hitmaker fought so hard, defying his doctors’ orders at times to go ahead with shows.

I recall when he phoned me a few weeks ago after a while without getting in touch.

“I was not calling you because you feel too much pity for me and I don’t like that. I’m strong and I can do anything, my sister, I will come and see you, but promise not to show any pity for me,” he said.

Besides being an ordinary arts writer, my relationship with Moyo was deeper. He was like a brother to me. We grew up in the same neighbourhood and he saw me through my schooling years.

To him I was that kid from the hood who had turned into an arts writer, writing about him. He loved to joke about it.

What made the relationship stronger was the fact that he shared the same totem with my mother who constantly called him “brother”. I ended up calling him “Uncle TM”.

Most of the time when he came to Harare for his chemotherapy sessions he would call me to see him either at his doctor’s surgery or at the hospital.
Although he looked pale and weak most of the time, he always had the voice of a strong man.

“I was raised in a Christian family and I am a very lucky man so all the misfortunes that have happened to me and my immediate family since year 2000 including deaths, accidents and my deteriorating health, are not bad luck at all,” he said one day when I went to see him in hospital.

“I am more than a man because a lot of things could have pulled me down.”

One morning he sent me a message saying: “I feel like giving up now, there is nothing to live for anymore, I am tired, the love of life is gone.”

I knew he must have had a bad day. Two days later he sent me another message saying: “Today I feel so happy, my friend, I feel like my ancestors, my God and my late wife are all looking after me.”

I always shed tears whenever I spoke to him because I could see him deteriorating but he never saw that at all, I was sure he was strong.

He loved to tell me about his fashion preferences. One day he told me that he had bought a Louis Vuitton T-shirt and he passed through my workplace just to give me a glimpse of it.

I’m sure my relationship with him led to a lot of suspicions, but I knew he needed me to be that sister who had time to listen to him.

He confided in me and trusted me.

The sungura giant was never worried about what the papers or anyone said about him, but whenever it touched his family it made him angry because he always said their hearts were not as strong as his.

“My doctors have told me to slow down on performances and that they fear for my health if ever I decide to perform, but I know I am strong and will definitely perform at any show,” he said during one of his numerous admissions at St Anne’s Hospital.

He always had goals to accomplish especially concerning his six children Peter (23), Nyasha (22), Tongai (11), Tanaka (8), Natasha (5) and Nicole (5).

I thank God for all the entertainment he gave to the nation until his 43rd year on earth, I’m sure God knew it was time for him to rest, but his legacy will never die.

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