MASVINGO Provincial Affairs Minister and Zanu-PF politburo member Senator Shuvai Mahofa, who was declared a national heroine, will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Wednesday next week.
Sen Mahofa, who was also secretary for security in the Women’s League, died early morning on Sunday at Makurira Memorial Clinic after battling poor health for a long time.
She was 76.
President Mugabe conferred national heroine status on Sen Mahofa in recognition of the role she played in the development of Zimbabwe before and after independence.
Initially, the burial of the national heroine had been set for Sunday before the family requested that the date be moved to Wednesday to allow President Mugabe to preside over the burial.
President Mugabe is currently in South Africa attending a Sadc Summit.
Senior Zanu-PF Politburo member in Masvingo Cde Josaya Hungwe confirmed the changes last night.
“Initially the date had been set for Sunday, but the family asked that it be changed. We don’t have the power to oppose the wishes of the Mahofa family and we will stand guided by what they want. They want His Excellency President Mugabe to preside over her burial at the National Heroes’ Acre,” Cde Hungwe said.
Earlier, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatious Chombo yesterday led a team of top Government and Zanu-PF officials including Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira, Cde Josaya Hungwe and Women’s League national secretary for Administration Cde Letina Undenge to pay last respects to Sen Mahofa at her home in Masvingo’s Rhodene suburb.
Dr Chombo officially informed the Mahofa family of the decision to confer national heroine status to Sen Mahofa.
He said Government would dispatch two helicopters that would ferry Sen Mahofa’s body and some of her relatives to Harare.
“We must also have a committee that comprises members of the Mahofa family who will work closely with us so that everything flows according to plan.
We have already given orders for two helicopters that will accompany Senator Mahofa’s body to Harare,’’ he said.
“I must, however, point out that we will stand guided by the wishes of the Mahofa family in everything that we will do until the body is buried at the Heroes’ Acre. We will also provide 20 buses to ferry people from Masvingo to attend Senator Mahofa’s burial,” added Dr Chombo.
Mahofa family spokesperson Ms Lucy Chivaviro thanked the Zanu-PF Government led by President Mugabe for according national heroine status to Sen Mahofa.
Ms Chivaviro requested that before Sen Mahofa’s burial at the national shrine, the Mahofa family wanted her body to lie in state at her Greendale home and Dr Chombo acceded to the request. But he said the body would first be taken to One Commando Barracks.
Cde Undenge delivered a condolence message to the Mahofa family and the people of Masvingo together with the nation at large that came from Dr Amai Grace Mugabe.
In her condolence message, the Women’s League boss said they were saddened by the untimely death of Sen Mahofa who many thought was on the road to recovery.
She fell sick in 2015.
“The Zanu-PF Secretary for Women’s Affairs Her Excellency Amai Dr Grace Mugabe, the Women’s League top 10 Management Committee, the National Executive council of the Women’s League and the entire membership of the Zanu-PF Women’s League, express their deepest condolences to the family of Cde Shuvai Mahofa, the people of Masvingo province and the nation as a whole on the passing on of Cde Shuvai Ben Mahofa,’’ reads the statement.
“Indeed, the Women’s League was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the untimely death of a dear colleague at a time when we all thought she was on a recovery path.
“Cde Mahofa played a pivotal role during the liberation struggle and dedicated her entire life for the political and socio-economic development of Zimbabwe before and after independence. To the Women’s League she was a pillar of strength, a reservoir of knowledge, experience and advisor who worked tirelessly in support of women’s issues. She will be sadly missed by the entire Zanu-PF Women’s League and May her dear soul rest in eternal peace,’’ added Dr Mugabe.
Mourners from all walks of life continued to flock to Sen Mahofa’s residence to pay their respects yesterday. Great Zimbabwe University Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo who was among the mourners, said his institution was prepared to assist with food for the mourners in recognition of the good and close relationship they had with the national heroine. Sen Mahofa was born in 1941 in Chivi and attended Chibi Mission and Morgenster Mission schools.
The minister enrolled at a nurse training course at Morgenster Mission where she attained a nursing qualification between 1958 and 1960.
In 1973 she enrolled at Domboshava Training Centre for a course in Community Development and was active in early nationalist politics that saw her joining the United National Democratic Party before joining Zapu in 1960 and then Zanu in 1963.
Sen Mahofa was a renowned war collaborator who worked with the likes of late national hero Dr Simon Mazorodze to supply clothes and medicines to freedom fighters, a dangerous role by then.
From 1980 to 1984 Sen Mahofa was Councillor for Ward 20 in Tirizi, Gutu and at the same time served as the first woman council chairperson for Gutu District.
Sen Mahofa was elected Gutu South Member of Parliament in 1985 and occupied the seat until 2008.
She also served as the first Zanu-PF Women’s league provincial leader for Masvingo in the 1980s.
Sen Mahofa served as Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs from 1987 to 1992 and Political Affairs Deputy Minister from 1992 to 1997.
From 1998 to 2007 Sen Mahofa served as Deputy Minister of Gender and Youth Development. In 2013 she was elected Sen before her appointment as
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister in February 2015, a post she occupied until she breathed her last.