mushandirapamwe hotel.jpgBack in the 70’s when the colonial regime had banned all gatherings for black people, those who were fighting for independence devised plans to meet without being detected by the notorious Rhodesian Security Branch.

 

One of the places nationalists used to meet was Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Harare’s Highfield Suburb.

With the 31st independence anniversary celebrations less than two weeks away, the ZBC News crew visited the hotel to pay tribute to its vital role during the liberation struggle.

Most people have heard or probably seen Mushandirapamwe Hotel. This is not just an ordinary hotel. It is a hotel with great memories of the liberation struggle as it housed liberation fighters who brought freedom to the country, the likes of the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Robert Mugabe, Cde Enos Nkala, the late Cde Simon Muzenda and Cde Webster Shamu among others.

For those who know, it’s a hotel rich in history, a secret meeting place for cadres under the very noses of the brutal Rhodesian security apparatus.

 

As meetings and political parties were banned by the Ian Smith regime during the liberation struggle, there was a need to meet and discuss political issues and Mushandirapamwe Hotel owned by the late George Tawengwa was the chosen venue.

 

Built in 1972 as the first black-owned hotel in the then Salisbury, the hotel did not just provide bed and meals to its patrons. It was a secret meeting place where the freedom fighters met.

 

The most popular rooms are room 30 which was used by Cde Robert Mugabe for the secret meetings to plan to wage the Second Chimurenga, and room 31 which housed General Solomon Mujuru, when he returned from war and was arranging the Star Rally before independence.

 

Former Harare Mayor, Senator Charles Tavengwa, who is son to the late George Tawengwa, vividly recalls some of the secret events that took place at the hotel including the famous BBC phone call which was directed to Cde Mugabe.

After the Chimurenga war the hotel housed returning ZANLA troops and nationalist leaders who prepared for the historic election that ushered in independence.

 

Surprisingly some residents who live near the hotel know nothing about its significance in Zimbabwe’s fight for independence.

 

If the walls could talk, surely the story of the liberation struggle will be heard loud and clear as Mushandirapamwe Hotel serves as a reminder and harbour of the secrets of the liberation struggle.