THE STORY OF STEPHEN LUNGU Continued
Part II Hate for Whites, and Love of Power through Violence
“ … since they did not see it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, God gave them up to their own depraved reason to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God … “ (Romans 1:28-30)
མི་དེ་དག་གི་སེམས་སུ་དྲང་བདེན་མ་ཡིན་པ༌དང༌། སྡིག༌པ། བརྣབ༌སེམས། ངན༌སེམས། ཕྲག༌དོག མི་གསོད་པ། འགྲན༌རྩོད། གཡོ༌སྒྱུ། གདུག་རྩུབ་བཅས་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཀྱིས་བཀང་བ༌དང༌། ཡང་མི་དེ་དག་ནི་ཕྲ་མ་བྱེད་མཁན༌དང༌།
ལྐོག་ནས་གཏམ་ངན་སྨྲ༌མཁན། དཀོན་མཆོག་ལ་སྡང༌མཁན། བརྙས་བཅོས་བྱེད༌མཁན། ང་རྒྱལ༌ཅན། རང་བསྟོད༌མཁན། ལས་ངན་པ་བཟོ༌མཁན། ཕ་མའི་ངག་ལ་མི་ཉན་པ།
Last time we read how Stephen and the others first met a local man who was recruiting boys to become Freedom Fighters for the overthrow of the white government in a Liberation Struggle that would win back for the blacks their own country of Zimbabwe. They were told, ‘You could learn how to use the methods of guerrilla warfare such as general civil disruption, petrol bombing, sabotage of banks, post offices, etc – things to give the authorities a lot of work.’
He was 16, and the idea of being a terrorist frightened him. Instead he looked for paid work. He first worked for a while in the church that his parents had attended; but it seemed that those so-called Christians had been deceiving them into trusting their God. It certainly had not made them into better people. Then he took work as servant of a white lady. This how he continues his story:
“Her houseboy had left, so the lady asked me to be a servant even though I was a ragged street boy. But I did not know how to iron clothes, and I could not see any dirt to be scrubbed on the white floor of her kitchen. I was difficult to teach, and she soon showed her impatience with blacks, ‘You black kaffirs! You are baboons, you know that! You used to live in trees.’ So, I ran away. Pay was little anyway.
“The white people obviously hated us. And I began to hate them. I told the other boys both about the church and the white lady. They said, ‘What did we tell you? You’re so simple. We are a doormat for the white man to stand on.’
“I was 18 by now and I went with forty of them to a Marxist-run training camp which was set up and hidden in deep bush country several kilometres away. They accepted me, and it was like family to me for the first time in my life.
After two or three years of training, I was assigned with a band of other young men to cause trouble near my own home area; we had a busy time. We threw petrol bombs and hand grenades into banks, railway stations, beer gardens of the whites, churches, police cars; and we started riots at any unhappy gathering in the slums, stirring people to make violent protest. We made ourselves so angry; but we also thought, ‘One day we will have the houses and smart cars of the whites for ourselves.’ In such ways our minds became filled with dissonant thoughts (nyon mongs). Having rejected God we had become poisoned by our ignorance (gti muk), desire (‘dod chags log) and hatred (zhe sdang); for that reason our anger grew. But I, Stephen, was also unhappy inside, very unhappy at times.
“Then one afternoon in March 1962, when I was nearly twenty years old, I was told of a plan to petrol bomb one of the banks in the Highfield shopping centre, Machipisa. This was nothing unusual, and the idea seemed fine to me. My friends and I spent the afternoon in a shack well hidden from police, filling the bottles with petrol, preparing our grenades and knives. Helped by beer and lazing around in the sun, we looked forward to the night’s excitement.
“We left our hiding place about 6pm, and began walking towards Machipisa. And there in a field on the outskirts, just beside the Dutch Church, we saw a very large grey tent. There was going to be some sort of Christian meeting. We looked inside. It was full of people, about 4000! We wondered about it. “Then a passing lady said, ‘They are Christians from South Africa. Come to the meeting and hear them!’ And she walked on.
I turned to the others and said, ‘Nothing good comes from South Africa. Why should they come to Zimbabwe and preach? Let’s teach them a lesson! It will cause much more harm than blowing up a bank.’
So, we changed our plans; we would bomb them instead!”
In Part III next time we will learn about the bombing. There were deaths; but out of evil God caused new life to be born. Stephen met Jesus and was born again.