President Mnangagwa remembers late VP Muzenda. Affectionately known as Soul of the Nation, Vice President Muzenda died in 2003 and was declared a national hero. His funeral attracted multitudes.
On the 18th anniversary of the death of Vice President Simon Vengesai Muzenda yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the best that the country can do to honour him is to always remember the sacrifices that were made by its liberators to free Zimbabwe.
In an interview with journalists after yesterday’s extraordinary Politburo meeting at the revolutionary party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday the President said: “We have to recognise our fallen heroes like Vice President Muzenda, who played a significant role, he devoted his entire life to the liberation of this country.
The duty for us is to continuously have the younger generation remember and be reminded that the freedom we are enjoying today did not come easily. It had many people who sacrificed their lives for us to enjoy this independence and this freedom,” said the President.
Dr Mzee, as he was affectionately known, was born on October 28, 1922 in Gutu District in the then Fort Victoria, now Masvingo Province. He went to Nyamande Primary School and then proceeded to Gokomere Mission and afterwards to Domboshawa in 1944 where he trained as a teacher.
As early as 1945, Dr Muzenda demonstrated a high degree of political consciousness when he turned down a farming scholarship to train as an agricultural demonstrator, arguing that the career would require him to supervise the killing of cattle belonging to his fellow African people under the colonial government’s countrywide de-stocking programme.
He taught at Empandeni Mission where he met former President Robert Mugabe, and started a friendship that was set to blossom years later.
His passion for education saw him enrol at Marianhill College in South Africa for a three-year Diploma in Carpentry. After completing the course in 1948, he taught at Mazenod Catholic School, Mayville, Durban until 1950 when he returned home where he was soon to marry his childhood sweetheart, Maud Matsikidze, before settling in Bulawayo.
In South Africa, Dr Muzenda was inspired politically by the activities of Reverend Michael Scott, who was then fighting the Group Areas Act in the then Apartheid Republic. He then returned home and got involved in burgeoning trade unionism in Bulawayo and from there his political career took off.