Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Amai Takawira Declared National Hero in Zimbabwe

Amai Takawira declared national hero

Published on: 17th January, 2010

ZIMBABWE – HARARE – THE widow of the late veteran nationalist and Zanu-PF founding vice president Leopold Takawira, Sunny Ntombiyelanga Takawira, will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre tommorrow Monday.

The Zanu-PF Politburo conferred Amai Takawira with national heroine status on Saturday in recognition of her immense contribution to Zimbabwe’s independence.

Mai Takawira’s body was yesterday taken from a funeral parlour in Harare before a church service was held at the Roman Catholic Church in Mt Pleasant.

Amai Takawira’s body was later taken to her Mt Pleasant home where it lay in state ahead of interment today.

According to the burial programme, Amai Takawira’s body will leave Mt Pleasant at 7am today for Stodart Hall, Mbare where President Mugabe will lead Government officials, family members and mourners in body viewing.

The body will then go on its final journey to the National Heroes Acre where Amai Takawira will join other heroines such as Amai Sally Mugabe, Mama Joana Mafuyana, Amai Ruth Chinamano, and Amai Julia Zvobgo who sacrificed their lives for Zimbabwe’s independence.

Meanwhile, condolence messages continued to pour in yesterday with veteran nationalist and Zanu-PF Politburo member Victoria Chitepo describing the late Amai Takawira as a kind-hearted person who worked tirelessly to help detained freedom fighters.

“I got to know her back in the 1950s when we were staying in Highfield. We got to know each other through the close relations our husbands had.

“We enjoyed a close relationship because we had so many things in common. We spoke the same language (Ndebele) and our husbands were firmly rooted in the struggle to free Zimbabwe from the bonds of colonialism,” she said.

The widow of the late Zanu-PF founding chairman Herbert Chitepo described the late Amai Takawira as a “reserved but strong-willed person”.

“Although she was generally a quiet person, she helped a lot in mobilising assistance in the form of medicines, food and smuggling of information for detainees especially during the time when a number of nationalist leaders were detained in Marondera. That needed people with a lot of courage,” Cde Chitepo said.

Apart from providing assistance to the freedom fighters, Chitepo said, the late Amai Takawira was instrumental in the establishment of nursery schools in the early 1960s.

“We formed social clubs that assisted women in various income-generating projects in Highfield and nursery schools for children,” she said.

Chitepo said the late Amai Takawira persevered to raise her family on her own after her husband died from diabetes in prison in 1970.

“Wives of detainees and nationalists suffered more because they had to raise families at the same time continuously being harassed by the Smith regime and that needed strong people to pull through and she was one such person,” said Chitepo.

She added that they remained close friends up to the time of her death.

Takawira died at Harare Central Prison in 1970 after being denied medical attention for his diabetes by the Smith regime.

Zanu-PF deputy secretary for administration Rugare Gumbo described Amai Takawira as a consistent and resolute woman who contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s independence.

“She belonged to the generation of brave and enduring women who were forcibly separated from their husbands on account of the demands of the liberation struggle,” he said.

Gumbo said Amai Takawira endured years without the love, care and support of her husband who served long spells in jail during the struggle.

He expressed the Midlands Province’s gratitude to the Politburo in recognising Amai Takawira’s works during the struggle.

“The province is deeply pained by the death of yet another heroine but we remain consoled and humbled when their good works are recognised.”

President Mugabe on Friday described the late Amai Takawira as a humble person who helped a number of revolutionary leaders during the liberation struggle.

Amai Takawira was born on July 2 1927 and attended Hope Fountain Mission School and trained as a nurse at Mnene Mission Hospital.

She worked at Gokwe Hospital and at Harare General Hospital where she spent 25 years.

She married Takawira in 1955 and participated in the struggle by providing medical supplies to leaders who were detained by the Smith regime during the liberation struggle.

At independence in 1980 she was appointed Senator for the Midlands, a position she held until 1990 when the Upper House was abolished.

The late Amai Takawira died from cancer- related complications at her Mt Pleasant home on Wednesday.

She is survived by two children and several grandchildren.

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