Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
Aaron Chiundura Moyo is considering getting married. Now 67, the renowned author has neither married nor stayed with a woman despite having three children with different mothers.
Over the years, the story of his extended bachelorhood has been interpreted in various theories. Moyo has explained it in various ways, but on Thursday he opened up to The Saturday Herald Lifestyle about an incident that broke his heart and shattered his dream of marriage.
However, he said he is now ready for marriage and would just want to put some things in place to finally settle with a woman for the first time in his life. His hopes of getting married as a young man were dealt a huge blow in the 1980s when he found his girlfriend with another man. Moyo and the girl’s relatives had finalised marriage plans and he saw her as his future wife.
Moyo recounted how it all happened. “I loved the girl and we had agreed that we would marry as our plans fell into place. She would visit me several times when I was staying in Kambuzuma while she was living in Highfield. One weekend she excused herself and said she would be travelling to Rusape and we bade each other farewell,” Moyo recalled. “I decided to spend the weekend hanging out with friends, but something in me was not settled. As we were playing draughts at a friend’s house I just made an impromptu decision to tour Harare. “I only knew Kambuzuma, Rugare, Warren Park, Mufakose and Highfield. I felt I had to do something in order to have a better understanding of the city so thought of going on a tour of some suburbs that I did not know.”
The author said he decided to go to the Mabvuku-Tafara area first and then make a decision on his next destination. A heartbreak of his life was waiting for him in Mabvuku. “I aimlessly went up and down the streets of Mabvuku until I came to a shopping centre where I bought a drink. As I was going around the shopping centre I suddenly recognised a familiar face from a distance. She was sitting in a car — an Alpha Romeo — and she did not notice me when I passed the car from a distance. I was still doubting by sight and I stood a distance from the car trying to make up my mind.
“She was with a man in the car and she was sitting on the front passenger’s seat. As I stood trying to plan how I could get closer without being noticed, the man in the car beckoned me and my heart leapt with anxiety. I knew it was my girlfriend and I thought she had seen me and told this man about me. “I quickly went to the car, but she did not see me when I stood outside the driver’s window to talk to the man. She was now busy with something below the dashboard.
The man greeted me and turned to her and asked ‘do you know Aaron Chiundura Moyo?’. She jerked and our eyes met. She froze. I kept quiet. “The man did not notice what was happening and thought he was doing her a favour of introducing her to an author of many known books. Not many people knew my face then. They just knew my name and works. I was surprised about this man who had recognised me. I did not know him.”
Moyo said he later got information that the man used to visit Kambuzuma and his friends had shown him who Aaron Chiundura Moyo was as they met on the streets of the high-density suburb. Moyo said he never took note of the man’s face then, but the latter proved — at the Mabvuku incident — that he knew the author well. “As I stood there and my girlfriend got puzzled in a mist of confusion, the man gave me money for a drink and laughed at how the girl had been dumbfounded at seeing the face of a famous author. I thanked the man and walked away, but my world had crumbled.
“I was shaking. I could not finish the drink I was having. I went and sat outside one of the shops and I felt robbed. I could not stay any longer as many questions crossed my mind. I could not continue with my tour. I went home and cried. “You know how it feels to know you have lost a girl to a better person. You feel so mean. She did not communicate for the next two weeks and I knew I had lost her. My heart sank and my hatred for women was sowed on the deepest part of my heart.”
Moyo said the girl’s sister visited after two weeks and told him that the man he had seen in Mabvuku wanted to marry his girlfriend. Indeed they later got married and Moyo said he forgave her, but there was no longer room in his heart to accommodate trust for women. He said he began noticing how some married women in his neighbourhood were being unfaithful and it worsened the situation.
However, to show that he had forgiven the lady, the author attended their wedding and was given a photographer’s role. He says he became good friends with the family thereafter until they went to settle outside the country. That is Moyo’s story. A story that has had scars on his life for many years.
A story that contributed to his life as ‘senior barchelor’. Although he had tried to settle with two other women before the heartbreak and failed due to different reasons, Moyo ended his search for the woman of his dreams. “Sometimes I think I was wrong because I was looking for too much perfection. I lost my mother when I was young and I wanted someone who could stay with me as her replacement. Sometimes I tempted women in various ways to test their love.”
He told of how at one point he removed furniture from his room to create an impression that he was poor when a girlfriend was visiting for the first time. When she found him sitting in an almost empty room, the girl never talked to him again. Some years ago there was rumour that Moyo had married late actress Sithembeni Makawa. The author admits the two were an item, but they never stayed together.
The author says he has been married to his art throughout his life. He enjoys living with the characters in his books. His work as an author, actor and producer has popularised him in the country and beyond, but he continues to live a humble lifestyle. When writing still had good returns Moyo built his house in Glen View from the proceeds of his two books “Kuridzangoma Nedemo” and “Wandibaya Panyama Nhete”.
He has stayed at the house since the early 1990s and he does most of his writing from his office in the house. Sometimes he goes to a nearby park to enhance his creativity. Some people see him as a lonely man and others think he swims in poverty, but that is not the case.
He leads a decent life and is enjoying the fruits of his art. He says with his son and daughter-in-law at the house and is proud of the way he lives. “The problem with many celebrities is that they live borrowed lives. They put themselves under pressure to keep the celebrity image wherever they go. Most of them end up living out of their means, but I have learnt to live within my means and I am comfortable with my life.
“I interact with people of all classes and backgrounds although some do not understand me. They see a helpless old man who has wasted his life writing books. Those who visit me get the truth about my lifestyle. “I stay with my son Tatenda and his wife. He is also a writer and I am working with him on my projects. He is doing well. My daughter Farai studied business studies at Midlands State University and is now married and working in Mutare.”
His first son, Shepherd, is a mechanic and is based in Rusape. Turning to his point that he now wants to get married, Moyo said he feels he needs to share the last years of his life with someone. “I am getting old and I need someone to be with me. I cannot continue burdening my daughter-in-law with some chores that are not her responsibility. I still have to put in place some things and you should not be surprised when you hear that I got married.”
Moyo says he wants to have a new house where he can settle with his wife when he marries because he does not want to expose his children to a situation that could see them fighting their step-mother over property when he dies.
Until he gets that house to settle with a wife, Moyo remains a ‘senior barchelor’ in the comfort of his Glen View house.