Godwin Muzari Entertainment Editor
Last Monday, April 28, marked the 48th anniversary of the Chinhoyi Battle that ignited the Second Chimurenga.
On April 28, 1966 seven freedom fighters that had entered the country from Zambia were intercepted by Rhodesian Forces in Chinhoyi and a battle erupted.
At the site that is now Mashonaland West Provincial Heroes’ Acre, the freedom fighters namely David Guzuzu, Arthur Maramba, Christopher Chatambudza, Simon Chingozha Nyandoro, Godfrey Manyerenyere, Godwin Dube and Chubby Savanhu fired the first shots of the Second Chimurenga.
The seven were attacked by an army with jet bombers and helicopter gunships but they held the forces for the whole day until they ran out of ammunition and were all killed.
Chinhoyi Battle bore the liberation struggle that brought Zimbabwe’s independence.
In an effort to honour the seven fighters and exhibit the historical importance of the battle, filmmaker Moses Matanda is making a film titled “Chinhoyi 7”.
The filmmaker, who is based in Canada, has been in Zimbabwe for a month working on the groundwork of the movie.
He has engaged relevant authorities for permission to shoot the movie and held auditions to scout for actors and actresses that would take part in the production.
The filmmaker said his film was inspired by the need to show the world the history of our liberation struggle from “our own narrative”.
“In many cases, the history of Zimbabwe is very Anglo-centric and biased. It shows the supremacy of whites over black people.
“It portrays black Zimbabweans as barbaric and as a people stealing land from white people. This is incorrect and I am willing to share the true history of Zimbabwe with the world through film,” Matanda said.
“The film also seeks to honour Zimbabwean war heroes who are still depicted as terrorists by white media houses. I am willing to show people what the war veterans went through. Freedom was never free; it was paid for with what can never be replaced.
“This fact alone should humble us all. Let’s honour and respect our men and women who fought for the country. A younger generation of Zimbabweans born after independence in 1980 still has to be taught a lot about our war and independence.”
Matanda said the movie was a starting point of more projects meant to revisit important events of our history.
“I chose Chinhoyi Battle because it was the first in the Second Chimurenga. I intend to shoot more war movies of battles that took place across Zimbabwe.
“I want to sit down with war veterans and listen to their stories, then shoot movies based on what they say.
“For ‘Chinhoyi 7’, we have over 40 actors with speaking roles and more than 100 extras. Our main actor will be from Zimbabwe and our supporting actors are from Zimbabwe, Britain, Canada, Denmark and Romania.
“We intend to shoot this movie within a month and it is likely to be released in August. We are aiming to release it on Heroes’ Day since the movie is dedicated to our heroes.”
Matanda said he has already inked deals with some international actors while he is looking for one big name in war movies to spice the film.
“We have Julian Shaw from Britain, Kim Sonderholm from Denmark, Diana Stefanescu from Romania ,Nick Smyth and Cynthia Stone from Canada.”
Matanda has been in filmmaking for many years.
He acted in “Call of Duty” as a Russian Soldier and American Pilot.
He was also lead actor for discovery channel TV series “The Real Prison Break” as Otis Blant and acts in a TV series “Battlefield” which is still in production in addition to many other film roles.
He was born in Honde Valley in on February 11, 1970.
Matanda went to Samaringa Primary School in Honde Valley and did his High School at Saint Augustine’s in Penhalonga and Dzivaresekwa High 2.
He moved to USA, Dallas Texas, in 2000 where he studied acting at KD Studio.
He went to Toronto Media and Film College in 2007 and graduated with a course in Film Arts Production.
The filmmaker said he is looking forward to a great career in the industry.