I HAVE just finished reading the autobiography of the legendary former Dynamos captain Memory Mucherahowa and thought I should humbly pay tribute to an eminently readable and outstanding piece of literature.
By Enock Muchinjo
Soul of Seven Million Dreams is a thoroughly enjoyable book of sport, money, loyalty, conflicts, drugs, and sex — a life story told by a true icon of the game of football in Zimbabwe.
Memory Mucherahowa won six of Dynamos’ record 22 Zimbabwean league titles, three of them as the captain, in addition to countless other silverware over a glittering career spanning almost two decades — with the same club. He is without doubt a champion, a serial winner through and through. But Mucherahowa, with brutal candidness, also opens up about — among other things — his marijuana-smoking jaunts, his practice of Juju and an extramarital affair that broke his lovely and faithful wife’s heart, and produced a child.
Quite unfortunate, the book also contains a fair amount of errors. This is somewhat expected of the first edition of any debutant author’s book.
And knowing the calibre of the two journalists behind the book, I have no doubt they are the most annoyed by those mistakes. Thankfully, the errors — mostly typos, spellings and punctuation — do not overly affect the flow of the book, nor distort in any way Mucherahowa’s hugely exciting story.
The author of the book, Albert Marufu, is a star of the trade when it comes to these types of stories. Perhaps more than describing what is happening on the field of play, Marufu prefers and thrives in the “people story”, the story behind the athletes, the officials and the bureaucrats of sports.
It was for this reason that I was quite excited when Berto, as we call him, told me some time ago that he had caught up with Mucherahowa in England — where both live now — and they were planning on doing a book on the iconic ex-DeMbare skipper.
I finally laid my hands on a copy.
I am sure this is just an oversight; the short profile of Marufu in the book does not make mention of his stint at The Daily News on Sunday (which had a separate editorial team from the Daily News back then), where I first met him 14 years ago.
It was there that Berto began his internship around 2003 before crossing over to The Sunday Mail — having graduated from Harare Polytechnic’s journalism school.
It so happened that I was in my second year of leaving high school, some months before I would begin my journalism training at a college in central Harare.
Confident of my knowledge of different sports, and fancying my writing skills, raw as it was, I found myself at the desk of the Daily News on Sunday Sports editor, Stanley Gama — having been directed by a buddy of his. Seven years later, Gama — until recently the editor of the Daily News — would make me the paper’s sports editor!
But back to 2003: With not much space in the newsroom to accommodate an untrained budding journalist, Gama asked me to put my stuff on paper and he would have it typed, assumedly by a secretary.
But as it was, it was the intern Marufu who had the unenviable task of typing it out, under instruction from Gama.
You can imagine his great displeasure, a staff reporter having to type out a young contributor’s work! But no. Not Berto.
Those who know the man will testify of his modesty and unassuming nature, and true to character, he took the task in his stride.
This is the Marufu I would get to know over the years. What you see is what you get.
With the Daily News on Sunday’s sports desk made up of just Gama, deputy sports editor Simba Rushwaya and reporter Marufu, more of my copy made its way into the paper.
The sports reporters on the daily paper, Eddie Chikamhi, Nzwanayi Nyandoro (Gama’s classmate at college) and Gabriel Masvora, helped out when not busy with their own schedule — working out from the floor below.
So with the two papers being closed down that year, Marufu completed his internship at the Sunday Mail and I landed on the Zimbabwe Independent.
I can safely say Marufu’s work after that has been in preparation for this book, which in full measure captures his writing skills and storytelling ability.
And because of that modesty I spoke of earlier, he does not always take liberty in his own work. Which, I think, is a good quality.
How often, in our different professions, do you rate your workmanship so highly, only to realise how, in actual fact, it is below par in the eyes of people.
So with this in mind, Marufu engaged the services of another wordsmith, Robert Mukondiwa, to be the book’s editor.
The two have combined Mucherahowa’s frankness and their ability on the keyboard to produce an awe-inspiring book that is worth a read for most sports fans in this country and beyond.
Well done, boys.
There is a lot of juicy stuff in this book to share with those who will not be able to read it. Fellow journalists have already done so. I shall do the same time allowing.