Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
“During one of my sleepless nights that came as the project of building Cde Chinx’s house became complicated, I lay on my bed staring sombrely at the ceiling. My wife woke up and saw me in that solemn posture and asked: ‘Is it not possible to handover the house in its current state?’
“I did not answer. I let out a heavy sigh and closed my eyes, artificially retreating from reality.”
This was a confession from Joseph Nyadzayo, the man who sourced resources for building musician Dickson “Cde Chinx” Chingaira’s house.
After three years of construction, the house was finally handed over to the musician by the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe on Tuesday and Nyadzayo heaved another sigh. This time it was a sigh of relief after going through harrowing emotional experiences to fulfil his mission.
He said at some point during the three-year period, his life became hell as resources to complete the house evaded him while media reports concocted various theories about his failure to complete the project on promised time.
On this particular night that Nyadzayo reminisced, the mission was actually looking impossible and the thought of impending failure ate his heart out.
Even his wife, Mai Nyadzayo, did not ask what was troubling her husband when she saw him awake in the wee hours. She knew the reason hence the immediate suggestion that Nyadzayo hands over an incomplete house to avoid further emotional damage.
But Nyadzayo did not want to give in easily. As the chairman of Zimbabwe Music Awards, he had personally made the promise to give Cde Chinx a complete house.
The house was an accolade given to the musician for taking the Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to the music industry. The winner in this category is selected by ZIMA chairman and it is also known as The Chairman’s Award.
When Nyadzayo made his commitment at an emotional interval at the awards ceremony in 2014, which saw Cde Chinx breaking down with excitement, everything seemed in place and construction had already begun at the site.
The early stages went well and it seemed as though the house would be complete in a short time.
“We started well. Everything moved at great speed in the beginning,” said Nyadzayo. “After buying a stand in Mabelreign for $15 000 well before the Zima ceremony, I got the ball rolling by approaching possible sponsors.
“I approached various people in Government and the corporate world and got varying responses, but we are able to get labour, material and funds to start building.
“In some offices where I tried to explain my project, they looked at me like someone who was looking for money to import an animal that eats children,” he said with a chuckle.
With persistence he gathered enough to get started. When he announced the award at Zima, work had already begun.
“I was optimistic that the house would be complete within a few months because everything flowed well in the early stages. I was a happy man, imagining myself handing over the house when people did not expect it to be complete.
“However, when we were putting up the roof and hoping to get tiles from someone who had promised us, things changed. They changed for the bad all of a sudden. Suppliers that had promised us more material vanished and my nightmare began.”
Nyadzayo said timber that had been erected to begin roofing began decaying after succumbing to unfavourable weather conditions.
Grass grew around the house and the property resembled an abandoned project. Time passed and people started questioning if Zima would be able to complete the house.
Nyadzayo came under scrutiny and criticism. His sleepless nights began as efforts to raise resources became hopeless.
“Sometimes I regretted why I had started the project. It was beginning to affect me badly. The worst scenario was when some people spread messages that Cde Chinx had died. I was out of the country when I started receiving messages from people that wanted clarification about the news.
“For some reason they were calling me and I was clueless since I could not get hold of Cde Chinx on his number. I asked myself: ‘if it is true, what will people say about me? What will they say about Zima?’ They would say we failed a revolutionary singer.
“I wished some misfortune had befallen me before this and wished I had died so that people would say he could not complete the house because he died. I did not know some situations may make you admire death.”
However, after getting the truth about Cde Chinx death rumours, Nyadzayo was relieved. But it gave him more awareness that anything could happen. Misfortune could strike and leave him exposed.
It was more than two years and the project was stagnant. He began working harder, juggling between his busy professional schedule and the pressing charity call on his hands.
“At some point I thought of giving up. I thought of telling Cde Chinx that the project had failed and he had to take over, but something deep down my heart told me that I had to honour this special comrade in a special way. I did not have to burden him with what I had started out of my passion.”
Then, a sudden bright light appeared in the middle of hopeless darkness.
“Late last year an official from Portnex company based in Gweru came and told me that he had heard about the project. He asked me to take him to the site. When we got there I as emotionally on the edge. I did not know how he would take it.
“We viewed the property and he did not say anything. He was just quiet and it made me unsettled. I did not know what he was thinking.
“Then he asked, ‘How old is Cde Chinx?’. I did not expect such a question. I did not know his age and I just stammered an answer wondering what Cde Chinx’s age had to do with this project.
“As we walked towards our car, he turned back and stood for a moment looking at the house then said ‘We will help you finish it’.”
“I cannot describe my feeling at that moment. I did not know what to say. I was just stuck there beside him until I gathered courage to thank him.”
The following day a contractor called Nyadzayo to say they were on site starting their work. Everything started working again. Nyadzayo said he prayed and wondered how the miracle had come.
“They brought down the unfinished roof and worked on other things that had to be mended. They perfected the house beyond my expectations. When I look at the house now. I do not believe it is all done.”
However, as the house was nearing completion, another headache to Nyadzayo came. Cde Chinx was hospitalised and was seriously ill.
“I did not know how I would show a person in hospital his house, but God has his way of doing all this. A day before handover, I went to the hospital on Monday hoping to ask the doctor if Cde Chinx could be brought to his house in an ambulance just to see it and go back.
“When I arrived, I was told he had been discharged the previous day. Oh, how God works.” Come Tuesday, there he was in his wheelchair entering his house. The First Lady accepted the task to hand over the house and it was an exceptional ceremony.
“Thank you God for the work and thank you Cde Chinx for fighting for this country. Mission has been accomplished,” said Nyadzayo with a smile as he showed his relief.