By Cara Sulieman
SCOTTISH singer Gamu Nhengu has told how she fears going back to her native Zimbabwe after the publicity she’s had in the UK.
The X Factor contestant said that she fears Robert Mugabe’s henchmen will try and kill her if she is forced to return to the country her family fled from five years ago.
Gamu was controversially booted out of the ITV show by Cheryl Cole just before the live rounds of the programme.
And now the family face deportation after the Home Office refused to renew her mum Noku’s visa after she wrongly claimed state benefit.
The 18-year-old said: “I’ve been in the public eye now and people there know I’ve fled Mugabe’s regime.
“They will punish us if we go back. They are going to know where we are.
“We’re going to be very unsafe. People have already been approaching our family members.
“We think they could be working for Mugabe. And we know how brutal he can be.
“I would be in danger, it’s blatantly obvious. My family would be in danger.
“There’s a firing squad waiting for us there and they’re putting me in front of it.”
And she said that she was shocked when she didn’t get through to the live rounds of the talent contest.
Instead, Cheryl Cole picked Cher Lloyd and Katire Waissel who both broke down during their judges’ house performances, and Rebecca Ferguson.
Gamu said: “I just heard her say no and everything went blurry after that.
“I was absolutely shocked. I thought I’d really done myself justice. I thought I was a sure bet.
“I don’t want to be bid-headed but after watching the previous shows I thought I would be through.
“I was devastated. It’s a hard thing to take. But I couldn’t be angry at Cheryl.”
But she fears the consequences being on the show will bring the family, and believes the Home Office are picking them out as an example.
She said: “I believe being on the show made all the difference.
“The Home Office said everything was fine. But then the Boot Camp was screened and suddenly there were these problems.
“I would be a good person to make an example of. Everyone knows me. But it would be said to make me a scapegoat.
“If I hadn’t been on the X Factor everything would have been fine. Someone else would have been the scapegoat instead of me.”
Growing up in the African country wasn’t easy for Gamu, who remembers when she began to realise things weren’t right.
She said: “I’d buy a loaf of bread one day at 15 dollars and the next day it would cost 30 dollars.
“We couldn’t go out anywhere because there was no fuel or public transport either.
“I realised that I’d get a better life and education if I left.”
Mum Noku managed to get a job as a nurse in Scotland in 2005 and moved Gamu and her half-brothers Milton, 12 and Marty, ten, across.
Gamu said that she adjusted to life in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire within weeks and now feels as though she belongs here.
She said: “I feel part of Scotland. After I got plastered for the first time at a party I felt I’d been initiated.
“I like to say I’ve got the Scottish attitude with an African rhythm.
“I’m a mixture now.”