CHIEF Vezi Maduna Mafu has been described as a hero who never compromised on matters of principle whose contributions were felt both at the village and national level.
Chief Maduna was buried on Wednesday at his homestead in Avoca, Filabusi in line with Nguni customs where only the immediate family was allowed at the gravesite.
He died last Saturday after battling diabetes.
Mourners described Chief Maduna as a candid and tolerant man who wanted to see a united nation.
His works towards liberating the country and promoting development in post independent Zimbabwe saw Government accord him a State-assisted burial.
This saw Government taking care of burial arrangements while a national flag was handed to his widow Mrs Lizzie Maduna Mafu (nee Mpala).
Speaking during the burial service, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said while some traditional leaders stood with the oppressive colonial regime, Chief Maduna stood with the people, leading to his arrest and detention.
“I want to tell the people gathered here that this is a total chief, a total leader and a total hero. He could perform so many functions from the village to national level,” said Minister Moyo.
“The death of our esteemed chief is a hammer blow to the country and the traditional leadership institution as he was the longest serving chief having been appointed a substantive chief on 27 August 1974. The traditional leadership is poorer without him.”
He said Chief Maduna became the brainchild of Godlwayo Cultural Centre, Avoca Health Centre, Avoca Secondary School and the construction of Maduna Dam.
Minister Moyo said the chief’s development programmes led to the establishment of Siwaze Irrigation System and was a proponent of the dualisation of West Nicholson to Mberengwa road.
Speaking during the burial service, the president of the Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira, said Chief Maduna was an exemplary leader who gave direction on matters to do with the traditional leadership institution.
“If you want to describe Chief Maduna accurately, first of all he was a culturalist and a traditionalist. He really defended the values of ubuntu, our culture and identity. He was not shy about it. He used to hold cultural festivals at his homestead and we have also attended some of them here in Avoca. In terms of personality, he was a serious man. He knew the cause of Africa and Zimbabwe, where we came from. He was one of the pillars of colonial resistance. He was detained because he wanted to defend the African values and he defended our own inheritance as Zimbabweans,” said Chief Charumbira.
Chief Maduna is survived by 12 children and 27 grandchildren.