Our national heroes

04 Aug, 2011 - 00:08 0 Views

The Chronicle

“TG”, as Cde Silundika was popularly known, became very politically active in 1940s and, in fact, was expelled from Fort Hare in East London, South Africa in 1951, because of his revolutionary activities as a student. Twelve months later he was deported back to Rhodesia from racist South Africa and became an active Executive Member of all of the black political parties – ANC, NDP and Zapu – before they were banned.
In 1963, he was sent by the party (Zapu) to Lusaka to direct the first stages of the armed struggle. There, he built a strengthened Zipra, as well as trying to unify Zanla and Zipra forces in order to achieve greater unity of purpose and active involvement.
He was a prominent Zapu negotiator at the Lancaster Conference, and was elected Zapu MP for Matabeleland South.
He was made Minister of Roads, Road Traffic, Posts and Telecommunications in the new Government in 1980 and died while at work in his office on April 9, 1981.
He left a wife and four children, two boys and two girls.
Julia Zvobgo
Born: November 8, 1937 in Shurugwi
Died: February 16, 2004 in Kambanje, Harare
Buried: Heroes Acre, February 19, 2004
Julia Zvobgo was the third born in a peasant family, the Whandes, of five girls and two boys.
She did her primary education at three mission schools later proceeding to Tegwani for her secondary education, and then enrolling for teacher training at Gutu Mission.
She qualified as a teacher in 1958, and then proceeded to Usher Mission in 1961, where she pursued a diploma in Domestic Science.
While at Usher, she met her future husband Eddison Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo, who was on his way to USA for training at a University (Tufts University in Massachusetts).
Soon after they got married, she became pregnant with her first child, and as a result stayed at home in Shurugwi.
On his return from America, Eddison was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison at the same time as Zanu was banned.
Cde Julia Zvobgo’s commitment to her family and nationalist values strengthened her to endure the constant harassment and physical torture of the Rhodesian Security Agency who accused her of smuggling political messages.
As a result she went to the UK and completed a diploma in Institutional Management at Leeds Polytechnic.
She rejoined her husband in USA where she got her BA in Political Science, subsequently attaining a Master of Science Degree.
She was elected in 1978, as Administrative Secretary for Women’s Affairs in Mozambique where she attended to the problems of women in military and refugee camps there.
She became a member of the first group of Zanu-PF Cadres to return after the Lancaster House Conference in December 1979 and worked very hard at the party’s head office at 88 Manica Road (now Robert Mugabe Road).
She was imprisoned for two weeks during the 1980 election campaign for allegedly assisting Zanla forces in the Zvishavane area, and was only released after the elections.
She was elected MP for the Midlands constituency for Zanu-PF in 1980 elections and was subsequently elected secretary for publicity and information in Women’s League in 1984. She was re-elected as MP for Zvishavane in 1985 and after 1990 concentrated on family affairs because her husband had at that time was a very busy minister in the Government. She was a Christian – a member of the Methodist Church. She had three children – two daughters and a son.
Ariston Maguranyanga Chambati
Born: November 15, 1934
Died: 7 October 1995 in Highlands, Harare
Buried: Heroes Acre, October 11,1995
A very talented student, he attended Bradley Institute in Mashonaland Central for his primary education, proceeding to Howard Institute and then moving to Tegwani Secondary School in Plumtree.
In 1956, he joined the City Youth league and became treasurer for the Harari (Mbare) branch of the SRANC.
In 1960 he was one of the founding members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and after it was banned, joined the successor organisation (former Zapu) he always opposed racism, settler rule and lack of majority rule independence.
He wrote many articles and pamphlets in the 1960s challenging white supremacy.
As a result of Zapu being banned in 1964, he furthered his education at Princeton University in USA, later obtaining a PhD from Oxford, England.
He received many honours, distinctions and scholarships while studying abroad.
He was an active member of Zapu while studying and in 1975 he became deputy secretary general.
In 1979, he became secretary for Zapu research in Lusaka, and later attended the Lancaster Conference, being joint secretary for the combined Patriotic Front delegation.
In 1980, he became a member for Zapu in Mashonaland West provincial constituency, and was an able debater and influential parliamentarian. In October 1980 he was appointed the country’s first ambassador to West Germany, returning home in 1982.
Between 1984 and 1987 he was actively involved in promoting unity between Zanu and Zapu culminating in the Unity Accord on 22 December 1987.
He realised that political equality of the majority was not enough to advance their cause and so he became one of the first black Zimbabweans to become a member of previously exclusively white boards such as Barclays Bank, Munich Reinsurance (South Africa) and African Lakes Corporation, PLC (UK). He then rose to become chairman and chief executive of TA Holdings.
At the time of his appointment as Minister of Finance, TA was the largest local multinational, employing over 10 000 people.
As a minister of the Government at that time, he had to surrender his commercial income and his position as a head of TA.
He did this because of his commitment to Zimbabwe as a country and black advancement in the difficult time of Esap, which resulted in a major contraction of national budget.
He rejoined Parliament, winning the 1995 elections for Makonde, Mashonaland West.
He had to relinquish his lucrative position as a chairman and chief executive of TA Holdings and his guidance in the Ministry of Finance, was readily accommodated.
Black empowerment, especially economic empowerment remained his major principle and his untimely death deprived the nation of a brilliant strategist and diplomat at the time adjustment was most critical. He had a wife, Diana, and five children.
Joseph Luke Culverwell
Born: July 10, 1918 in Johannesburg
Died: July16, 1993 in Harare
Buried: Heroes Acre July 22, 1993
Cde Joseph Culverwell was born while his mother was on a short trip to South Africa from Bulawayo.
He attended McKeurtan (Bulawayo) and Moffat (Arcadia, Salisbury, where there is now a street named after him) primary schools.
Then he completed his education in Cape Town and Nottingham, England.
He had an industrious teaching career of 27 years, teaching in Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Iran and England.
He served as a sergeant in the Second World War in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Egypt and after the war he became involved with the liberation struggle with such political veterans as George Nyandoro, James Chikerema and Joshua Nkomo, actively participating in the inaugural meeting of the African National Congress of the Southern Rhodesia. He became a member of Zapu and after it was banned joined Zanu in the 1960s, realising his ambition, formed in 1938 when he was elected secretary-general of the National Association of Coloured Peoples.
He often joked that he was a “pure Coloured”.
He was imprisoned for 18 months in 1967 by the Rhodesian Authorities for political activities, but subsequently taught in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and England, supporting the liberation struggle and Zanu-PF by obtaining clothes, medicines and ambulances for war liberators fighting in this country.
He also supported Zimbabwean refugees by being elected chairman and securing jobs, accommodation and scholarships for exiles.
He was a delegate both to the Geneva and Lancaster House conferences.
After independence he was made a senator and deputy Minister of Education and Culture.
In 1988 until 1992 he was made Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Scholarships.
He then became Deputy Minister of Higher Education but because of his advancing age and ill health he left Parliament and Government in 1992, dying less than a year later.
He was very active in getting Zimbabwe to accept the threat of HIV and Aids especially for the young population.
At the time of his death he had a wife, four children and eight grandchildren.

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