Augustine Moyo was temperamental, highly temperamental, but not even judgemental.
“The only Ndebele with money in Harare,” he would boast, adding
tongue-in-cheek, “you Shonas are lazy, that is why we came here to colonise you.”
But that is not say he was tribalistic, far from it. He was just human. Fallible, just like any of us, but not entirely gullible.
When he walked into The Sunday Mail newsroom, just in the middle of the past decade, he was Bible-clutching and God-fearing.
He would quote the Bible to no end, verse after verse.
But as he was exposed more to journalism, and its earthly sprinklings,
Augustine quoted the Bible even less and took to finding solace in the wise waters.
Still that didn’t make him a lesser human being – he remained the ever-jovial, smiling and ever-bragging character.
It must have been 2007 or 2008 when he borrowed my Mazda 626,
“because I want to visit my gogo”, and that transaction was to be source of our constant “haggling” over the coming years.
“MuShona,” he would spit, “your ramshackle couldn’t even take me to Bulawayo. I even had to buy tyres for it and also had it serviced. It would have been better if I had approached a car hire company.”
That was one of his many sides. But most of those who have had the priviledge of interacting with him will tell of an enterprising character, a personality that would have an eye for any opportunity.
He introduced BeForward, the Japanese pre-owned online car sale
company to many in the newsroom. He was one of the first guys to know how to buy cars online, probably explained by his love for cars.
And to boot, he did a motoring column for The Sunday Mail, at times going to as much depth as detailing the amount of water a wheel will displace on the tarmac when travelling at a given speed.
When it came to cars, he knew which, where, how and when each model was made.
He might have taken his enthusiasm for cars a bit too much, at one point accumulating a fleet of cars that would make many-a-car hire green with envy. This love for cars made him an envy of many, especially those in the journalism fraternity, as much as it drew criticism on his investment options.
“MuShona, they can say whatever they want, these are my cars. I didn’t borrow money from anyone to buy them. Let them ride scotch-carts that they are used to,” he would retort back.
And if he wasn’t talking about his fleet of cars, he would be bragging about his dogs: “The grocery for my dogs is much more than you would buy for your family, MuShona. Actually yesterday I was in Makro buying them their monthly grocery.”
A really larger-than-life character, Augustine was the embodiment of a Highlanders supporter: unapologetic, fanatic and always full of zeal. One of the iconic images ever captured at Rufaro Stadium must be of him standing, shirtless, on the rails of the northern end, or the City End, of the stadium. And he followed the team wherever it played, Barbourfields, Rufaro or the gigantic National Sports Stadium.
When his marriage hit turbulent times, as does many other marriages, he would come for a sit-down. “Tell me, MuShona,” he would ask for counsel, “how do you do it?”
“Family comes first,” I would tell him. Later on, whenever we met, that would be first line, “thank you for telling me that family comes first. Actually we are planning on our next vacation. We have done America and Europe, we are deciding where to go next.” In actual fact, the destinations would be added for effect.
That was Augustine.
His other weakness was the love for the dance floor, whatever kind of music, though he loved South African and Bulawayo music all the more.
He had his trademark dance, where he would get parallel to the ground, and raise each leg alternately. A party or wedding would be incomplete without Augustine getting onto the dance floor.
Back to cars.
Besides loving cars, Augustine loved speed. “I have done Bulawayo in three hours, MuShona.” And he wouldn’t be bluffing, that was him.
On the highway, his minimum speed was 180km/hr – 200 was
a norm and 220 was the “right speed” to travel with.
So when news started filtering through, in the morning after Africa Day, many must have assumed that given it was a holiday, it must have been a combination of speed and alcohol that snuffed the life out of the 38-year-old.
The 70km stretch to Marondera, his hometown, was half-an-hour away, given his “need for speed”.
In July 2016, after one of our several “altercations” I posted on Facebook, chiding him for being a fake character, to which he responded: “Anyway, on my graveside you will have an hour to tell about our escapades. Kkkkkk. Not anytime soon though so I have years of making up to do. Remember you said you will write about everything in your obituary so I have to make good lest you write the unthinkable. Knowing my good friend, MuShona. Foul-mouthed as usual. Kkkk …”
It was a joke, and I never thought I would get down to write about my times and life with one of the most colourful characters to have graced the journalism fraternity in the past two decades.
Married to Chantelle and blessed with two daughters and a son, it would be safe to say Augustine lived half-a-century, that is 50 years, in the past 15 years. He was a such colourful character, and enjoyed every second of it.
Mourners are gathered at his Marondera home and burial arrangements are yet to be announced.