The Legacy of Legends

Updated: May 16, 2021

Dear Africana Woman,

Listen I feel like this last week has been a month. Sooooo much has happened. On the 2 July, 2020 Goodwin Yorum Mumba breathed his last earthly breath. He was popularly known as GY and to me he was Grandpa GY. My earliest memory of him was a huge party to celebrate his release from prison. Yup he was a gee. You see Zambia was a one state party for 19 years, which basically translates to a dictatorship. In 1980 a group of citizens decided enough was enough and plotted a coup. They were not successful. They were captured, thrown in prison, charged with treason and put on death row. The resistance included Goodwin Y. Mumba, Muncie Sikatana, Brigadier Godfrey Miyanda, Patrick Mukandawire, Lt. Gen. Christopher Tembo, Edward Shamwana, Pierce Annfield and Deogratias Symba. In 1990 a multi party state law was finally passed in Zambia and in 1991 multi-party elections were held for the first time. After spending 10 years in prison, the ‘Coup Plotters’ were pardoned by the president (who had them arrested in the first place) in a last minute bid for popularity in the pending elections.

I remember visiting him when I was still young and in his study was a wall to wall, floor to ceiling library of books. I thought I was in heaven. I would spend hours in there reading. I guess he really was passionate about knowledge. His home was smack dab in the capital city and yet when you walked out to the back it was like stepping into a farm far away from the city. There was an orchard and vegetable garden, that really spoke to his connection with nature. He was a towering fellow with a presence that exuded a silent confidence. His eyes would dart around the room as he took in his surroundings and the happenings around him. Maybe his keen observance was born of necessity from his time in prison or it was always a part of his intellect. I’ll never know.

I am actually sitting here crying for the first time after hearing he had transitioned. He had been sick for a while, so his passing was not a shock. I am ashamed to say I did not go visit him when he was sick because my selfish desire was to preserve the memory I had of him as the strong hero. Yet I am crying beca