STEPHEN LUNGU WITH ANNE COOMES
Stephen Lungu was the oldest son of a teenage mother, married off to a much older man by her parents, and living in a black township near Salisbury, Zimbabwe. When he was three his mother ran away, leaving him, and his younger brother and sister, in the reluctant care of an aunt. By eleven Stephen too had run away, preferring life on the streets. To survive, he slept under bridges and scavenged food from white folks’ dustbins. As a teenager he was recruited into one of the urban gangs, called the Black Shadows, which ran a programme of theft and thuggery with a half-focused dream of revolution. When a travelling evangelist came to town, Stephen was sent to fire bomb the event, carrying his bag of bombs and mingling with the crowd. Instead of throwing bombs he stayed to listen … what followed was better than fiction.