‘He spoke very fondly of it’: Son seeks traces of his father’s years in Halifax

A man from Zimbabwe is searching for sound recordings and photographs his late father might have left in Nova Scotia so that his own children can hear and see the grandfather they never knew.

Munyaradzi Mufambisi’s father, Eric, earned his master of education at Dalhousie University between 1993 and 1996. 

“He spoke very fondly of it,” his son told CBC’s Information Morning Monday. “I remember he used to speak about how close it was to the water and how he loved going close to the water; how warm the people were, and how he made a lot of friends.”

When he travelled 12,000 kilometres home to Africa, he amazed his nine-year-old son, Munya, with stories about mobile phones and computers.

Brought a computer home

“He told us how you could type something on a computer and within a few seconds the letter is across the globe. I didn’t understand what he was talking about.”

He also brought a computer home, sparking an interest that led his son to his career in IT. But Eric died in a car crash in Zimbabwe in September 1996. 

Eric Mufambisi tackles the aftermath of a heavy Halifax winter storm in the mid-1990s. (Submitted by Munyaradzi Mufambisi)

Munya Mufambisi said the death devastated him. He was young and he recalls throwing out some photos in his grief.

“It was just too painful for me to deal with,” he said. 

Other photos were lost in family moves. He has only a few photos of his father, including two from Halifax.

“I’ve migrated to Australia now and I’ve got kids. I’ve tried to explain to them that they have cousins back home (in Zimbabwe) and I’ve got nothing to show them.”

He has strong memories of his father, which have been strengthened by the memories of people who knew him. 

“People would just say, ‘Oh! You look like Eric Mufambisi. You’re his son, aren’t you? We’ll take care of you. Your dad was a good guy.’ It really warms my heart when I hear people say that. He was a very caring guy, a very thoughtful guy. Strict at home, but a loving father nonetheless.”

Munya Mufambisi wants his children in Australia to know their family roots in Zimbabwe. (Submitted by Munya Mufambisi)

Munya Mufambisi hopes people in Halifax will remember his father and have photos of him, or the audio recordings he made of the interviews he did during his research. 

Reddit to the rescue

He first reached out on Reddit, and talked to people at Dalhousie, who are digitizing his thesis so that his son and grandchildren can read it.

A Reddit user identified the street Eric lived on in Halifax and took photos of the house. “That really warmed my heart.”

Someone else found a copy of the convocation program, featuring his father’s name, and the 1995 yearbook. He found two other Zimbabweans who knew him in Halifax and they both shared memories of his father. 

He thinks his father may have submitted the tapes with his thesis. Anyone who remembers Eric Mufambisi or has photos of him can reach Munya Mufambisi at munya.mufambisi@originenergy.com.au.

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