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One would ask why I chose to tell my story now, yet for so long I have been quit. I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to many, but as you will read along, you will understand why I prolonged time to narrate the hectic unhuman experience I went through under the hands of our brutal Law and Force Order. It’s a disgrace that our so beloved Country of Zimbabwe can turn against its own young innovative people. It’s pitiful and a disgrace to have a Government that is ignorant to facts that are plain and can choose to go against what can help and feed the nation. It’s sad that our Countries political system is unscrupulous and corrupt and before I embarked on Nothing To Wait For journey in 2005, I had spent six years of writing, having sleepless nights and doing international research.
My greatest inspiration came years back in the 90’s before working with Mark Mandishona on his project, City of Dreams were I set as one of the Executive Producers. I should say I was very young by then, no wonder Government also had their speculations because it’s rare for young people to think and execute big giant ideas without someone using them to play front, “according to our Government”. Beginning of 2005, we then decided to take this project to a trial, our first approach was the newspaper media who did not take us serious. Refusing obstacles, I approached a team of young guys with unlike minds including my very own best friend. We printed A4 posters calling for auditions and in just three to five days our message went viral and our small office space became one of the busiest in town. Cutting the long story short, I will give you the account of what transpired.
NOTHING TO WAIT FOR was dubbed first local and African action feature film in 2005. Whilst shooting one of the action flick scenes in Marbelreign, just outside Calvary Baptist Church, just next to a Police Post, a team of un-uniformed Police force came ambushed us from our progressing shoot. We were taken inside the police post the sixteen of us and those that survived the ambush were ladies who were busy doing rehearsal shoots in one of the church’s auditorium, about nine in total.
We anxiously waited to hear why we were ambushed and the junior officers had no clue as well. We waited for almost six hours and that made us to start panicking. I was finally called with the Officer in Charge who told me that he was instructed to put us in a holding cell and wait to get directive from the Head Office. The sixteen of us we were put in a holding cell and the youngest was seventeen by then. I witnessed people in tears, no one had an idea of what was taking place behind the scenes. Some started doing their last prayers with no hope of what tomorrow was going to be like. I kept encouraging them the whole evening, we did not sleep, I had no choice but to be the bolder one. This was drastic and brutal thing to do, even after we explained several times that we had clearance to film they simply brushed us off. Everything looked like a set-up, and a well-coordinated thing.
The night wasn’t pleasant, the young boy cried all night. As the pioneer of the project, I had more fears. We had no charges attached to us yet we were arrested, this really worrisome, “what was going to happen to us?” I worried so much, I was afraid; and I didn’t know what the parents of these innocent kids were thinking of me! The following day, we were taken to Harare Central Police Station with two white trucks which carried no number plate. Who knew where we were being taken to? We were manhandled like we committed some crime. We arrived at the Central Police Station and handed over to Law and Order and Government Central Intelligent (CIO). We were split apart, and they took me for intense interrogations, surrounded by six tough man. I panicked in fear; I could feel my heart beating unstoppable. The men were rude and many times wanted to beat me up. Several times, after walking out of the interrogation room, I saw my Assistant Director crying. It was a very emotional time, we all needed each other.
Shooting of p*rnography; this did not make any sense at all. We were taken, whilst filming and rehearsing outside the church, just few meters close to the police station. How stupid and ignorant of us to even think or wanting to shoot a p*rnography in such a set-up. Besides, one thing the press never mentioned is that they were also woman, eight of them, inside the church premise, who were rehearsing for their prison scene. Shame, these women could have been arrested together with us but they escaped by an inch.
Use of toy guns without a license; and they placed a demand to see the licensing. After showing them the two set of cheap China toy guns, they looked like stupid zombies lacking blood. In denial they remained stupid, insisting that I should give them real guns, and they went to raid my office. All my back-ups, cameras, scripts, equipment, and computers were confiscated.Tarnishing the Country’s image; really, serious! The Country’s image is long gone tarnished!
They alleged that I wanted to expose Government officials. My justification to that allegation was that there was no way our story could reflect tarnishing the Country, we had very good media follow up, support and coverage from both the government press and the independent presses. Sadly they were not aware of it; they heavily handcuffed me and took me to all media houses to collect the press clippings. In order to avoid publicity, they made sure I was un-cuffed before entering media house buildings. I was also forced to act normal as if everything was going on well.
British funded; in my own quest, if our own local government cannot fund good initiatives, then why get mad when one decides to source funds from outside the Country? Besides, our own government has bad tendency of wanting to take over anything that draws huge crowd. Trying to imagine that a guy of my age by then was capable of running such a big project without foreign funding and/or foreign aid, did not make sense for them. But I stack to my story that I was only making a teaser that I intended to use for local corporate funding. They asked me why I turned down Zanu Pf offer to fund the whole project if we really needed. This awaken me, and I immediately remembered two Zanu-PF officials coming with a proposal to partner and take care of the needed budget and put it as one of their youth imitative project, by so accepting, they said they needed to be allowed to change certain parts of the script since they were gearing for elections. This proposal I turned it down three times. I told my advisor by then, Novell Zwangendaba and warned me to watch my back.
Assassinate the President; intention was to charge me like they did the opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, “I guess”. Why would they threaten me with treason? I immediately requested that they needed to go through the script and identify the scenes that highlights killing of the President, besides, let’s say there was, to me it would have just been a story! We explained we had nothing to do with politics; we were non-partisan and hence only unfair for a political party to approach us with intentions of changing our story line so that it best suits their personal political agenda. I informed them that we needed enough time to prepare our act without interference. We were doing the project for the pride of our own Country hence all we needed was support and not life threatening charges being brushed on our innocent faces.
From the Supreme Court, the script was ordered clean and a release order was passed on. They boldly told me that I was going to rot in prison; they would not let me go until they find what they were looking for. They kept instilling fear in me that treason charges were going to stick on me somehow. Thank God to three Journalists, from local and South Africa who were around waiting to dub the whole story. They called me a sell out and a coward who seek only bad things for his own Country. During the entire period of the detention, we were reporting to Central Intelligent Law and Order Department from 7am and only to be released around 10pm and/or 11pm with no lunch breaks. The last day of our detention, after they failed to find pressing charges against myself and my team, they simply made us sit and wait. At about 11am they decided to send us for court hearing.
My mentor and advisor by then, the late Novell Zwangendaba contacted the former Deputy Minister of Media and Information, Mr Bright Matonga who then ordered release in less than 24hours, as the Supreme Court had ordered. It took them six more hours to finally let us go. The Head of Central Intelligent and Director of Law and Order then called me to his office where he had two more top officials, they told me that whatever I was pursuing was officially banned and that they were going to put me on a 24/7 surveillance. I was threatened that they will make me disappear if I try to go ahead with production. They took all my details, were I stay, my phone lines and three close peoples contact. I was warned not to talk to the media about the incident. I stopped the production out of fear of further victimization. In November 2008 I received a strange call from one of the monitoring CIO’s who told me all my moves and to make matters worse, were I stayed, my friends and who I stayed with. What a way of intimidating!
In a television interview, I mentioned that if our Country chooses not to support us, then we were going to be forced to take the project out of the Country. It’s now ten years of waiting in exile hoping one day the Government will seize power and we return to re-build our vision and make film industry better. After the incident, I invested seven more years of writing and updating the screen play to become better and more interesting. I am ready to go on production in 2017, anticipating viewers can be on the lookout for a SEACH, which is a rebrand of NOTHING TO WAIT FOR. The story’s main focus is still on fighting for legal justice and I can assure my followers that they now have a better story “in waiting” to watch. Original footage for the teaser project was confiscated, what we have in hand is the rehearsal footage edited into a shot film, and a documentary. Source – by Ryan Nush