By Jabulani Mangezi
M, just a letter, as innocuous as any in the 26 letter English alphabet, unremarkable, unless perhaps you add another M. MM as- Morris Mtisi styled himself, was a remarkable man ,a man of letters, words , written or spoken he had a fervent passion for language, very particular for construction, diction and that asterisk. Teacher and mentor, he belonged to a bygone age, but fitted seamlessly into an industry where, on average, everybody else was invariably young enough to be his grandchild.
MM was prolific writer who managed the unparalleled feat of publishing two novels, in two languages, Shona and English, at the same time. He was so full of energy, apart from writing, he tutored countless High School learners in the English language, he also found time to pursue charitable cause, launching “Girls of Substance” an organisation that he intended to use as a platform to empower and advocate for the rights of the girls child. This was launched at St Augustines by Defence Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri who was standing in for the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa
Teacher that he was, every Thursday evening he would open his show “Head to Head with MM”, with the old number from Crosby, Stills and Nash “Teach the children well” , before his customary “Greeeeeetings dear listener....” And ooh he taught, his show was unconventional, it was a lecture. But for all that he was a keen learner, full of new ideas. The latest idea he shared was on how he wanted to get in touch with Senegalese and Liverpool star Sadio Mane, to, in his words “tap into his passion and perhaps get locals who have done well to also invest in education , health and other facilities in their native locals.” And having worked and communed with him, one learnt not to doubt his capacity to live to secure an audience with Sadio, or anybody for that matter.
MM lived for his passion, day in day out he was on his desk, doing what he loved. His column in The Manica Post was a true labour of love, every line well constructed, every syllable well contrived, every argument well thought out. An so it was that on the 19th of December 2019, 19:52, 8 minutes before going On Air for his “Head to Head with MM” programme, Morris Mtisi was taken ill. As fate would have it, there was a Medical Doctor who was at the premises, He indicated that MM had suffered a mild stroke and needed to be hospitalised. He was rushed to hospital and was continuing on treatment. Unfortunately, MM never recovered and on the night of the 31st of December 2019, he succumbed to the effects of the stroke.
And on radio the words of his favorite song play on “Teach the children well....” Ours now, the duty, to mourn, to bid farewell, to a Teacher, Columnist, Radio Host, Author and Philanthropist - MM, The Radio Teacher!
Go well Morris Mtisi, the children you taught will forever testify that you taught them well. Rest in Peace.