Eunice Sandi Moyo dies The late Eunice Sandi Moyo

Chronicle Writers

FORMER Senator and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister, Eunice Sandi Moyo, who died yesterday morning has been described as a humble icon who will be remembered for her role in the liberation struggle and national service in independent Zimbabwe.

The late politician died at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo after a long battle with hypertension, her daughter, Phoebe, confirmed. She was 78.

“We are devastated that mum is gone, but comforted by the fact that she was there for us all along as a mother, not for us alone but for the country,” said Phoebe.

“We are proud of her life and the service she rendered to her country. While on national service she did her duties with diligence and honour.

“Mum did a lot for the country and we are glad she was there to see our achievements. She did not sacrifice for us alone but for many others.”

In her condolence message last night, Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube, described the late Sandi-Moyo as one of the icons of the bitter liberation struggle, which gave birth to a free Zimbabwe.

She said Bulawayo has lost a motherly and humble leader whose commitment to the development of the city and the country as a whole is unquestionable.

“Her passing on early today was hard to accept. I am informing Bulawayo that our mother, sister, and grandmother is no more, she has gone to be with the Lord and more now than ever, her family needs all our support for they have certainly been left without a shade,” said Minister Ncube.

“It’s now time as uBulawayo to show ubuntu bethu, it is never easy for any family to lose a pillar of strength but sadly Sandi Moyo’s family has been visited by this undesirable experience and it’s us who can comfort them.” 

Zanu-PF Politburo member and former Cabinet Minister, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, expressed shock over Sandi Moyo’s death.

“It’s true that she has passed on and we are taken aback. We knew Sandi Moyo from the days of the struggle in Zambia where she worked closely with the likes of the late Jane Ngwenya, Angeline Masuku and when she was one of the assistants to Dr Joshua Nkomo in the offices,” he said.

“After independence, we all know she became a Governor for Bulawayo and worked for the party. Sandi Moyo worked hard for her country before and after independence. Despite what happened later what is crucial is that her contribution to her country will always be remembered.”

The late Sandi Moyo was known as a woman of substance, one who never backed down from a challenge as she believed in taking challenges head-on, and all her life she strived to take the lead in proving the power of women’s leadership.

Born in Plumtree, in 1946 the late Sandi Moyo lived by the motto: “Life is what you make it, and the harder you work the more rewarding and fulfilling it is.”

As a professional teacher before joining politics in an endeavour to help liberate the country from colonial rule, the late Sandi Moyo wanted to empower women in a way that would catapult them to dizzying heights in a male-dominated environment.

“As far as my father was concerned, my involvement in politics meant I was breaking the law, and because of that, we were not good friends for a long time. Our relationship only improved after independence,” she was quoted in The Chronicle in 1992.

In the interview, she said her father’s objection to her being involved in politics presented a challenge in itself.

She recalled when she was five, when her family moved to South Africa where her father was working. Her first school was at De Aar in the Cape Province before moving to Barkley Road High School. 

The late Eunice Sandi Moyo

She then spent two years at Gore-Brown College training to be a teacher.

“Immediately after finishing college, my father felt it was time I packed my bags and returned to Zimbabwe because he felt I was beginning to be a nuisance from my involvement in politics,” she said.

“His wish was for me to get married and settle down when I got back home.

“I got married, yes, but I could not just sit and watch the political happenings then,” she told Chronicle at the time.

Sandi Moyo taught at several schools in Bulilima-Mangwe before she became actively involved in campaigns to improve the conditions of teachers under colonial rule.

In 1969, when the then Ministry of Education abolished Grade three teachers and enrolled pupils into either Grades One or Four classes, teachers were not amused and she and her colleagues helped freedom fighters find grip in rural areas.

A protest campaign was then organised during which several teachers were arrested. However, some retrenched teachers volunteered to fill the void.

That incident was a landmark experience in Sandi Moyo’s political career and later on she was involved in organizing clandestine meetings and collaborated with freedom fighters.

In 1973 she moved to Bulawayo and joined the city council. Two years later she left for Zambia to join the liberation struggle.

Sandi Moyo’s political career progressed as she worked her way through the ranks to become a revolutionary and central committee member of ZAPU.

Sandi Moyo would travel extensively overseas on party business. In 1977 she was sent to Germany for an industrial relations course, before becoming a member of the ZAPU delegation to the Lancaster House Conference, which culminated in Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

At Independence Sandi Moyo was appointed to run the Umguza complex, which included a technical college, farms, and cooperatives.

In 1983, she and her long-standing friend, Mrs Zodwa Sibanda, pooled their financial resources and went into business, Z and N Enterprises, which was a big success story for the two women.

Later the late Sandi Moyo and a handful of businesswomen got together and launched the Women in Business Zimbabwe. The organisation removed one of the biggest stumbling blocks for women aspiring to go into business – the demand for collateral security.

It also negotiated a deal in which the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) allocated $5 million for its loan guarantee scheme. The deal opened up opportunities for women who encountered difficulties in securing loans because they had no collateral.

The late Sandi Moyo served as president of the Bulawayo Chapter of the Child Survival Development, and also sat on the Indigenous Business Development Centre board, before chairing the national committee of buildings and properties of the YWCA. She was the only executive member of the Jairos Jiri Association.

In her rural home, she was the project secretary for the Bulilima-Mangwe District Development Association and a member of the Professional Women’s Club. She was also a consultant for two Germany-based organisations.

In her spare time, the late Sandi Moyo enjoyed relaxing at home and watching her favourite movies and soccer teams.

She was a staunch Highlanders supporter, with Peter Ndlovu being her favourite player in the game of football.

The late former minister is survived by four daughters and a son. Mourners are gathered at House Number 17 Onslow Road, Sunninghill Suburb in Bulawayo.





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