VETERAN nationalist and former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) commander Cde Abraham Dumezweni Nkiwane has died.
He was 93.
Cde Nkiwane died yesterday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
He was the first person to smuggle weapons into Southern Rhodesia in 1962 and he was one of Zipra’s first commanders who operated under the Special Affairs and Training Unit.
Cde Nkiwane’s son and family spokesperson, Kennedy, said his father succumbed to prostate cancer.
“For the past six months, my father has been battling prostate cancer and at one time we had to take him to South Africa. Last week, his condition deteriorated and we had to take him to UBH where he was admitted, but sadly, he could not make it and passed on this morning,” he said.
“As a family we have lost a pillar and a mentor. He has worked hard not only for the family, but for the nation through his contribution to the liberation struggle.”
Zanu PF Politburo member Cde Tshinga Dube described Cde Nkiwane as an astute and unflinching revolutionary who played a critical role in the liberation of the country.
“I knew Cde Nkiwane very well as a man who participated in the struggle for independence for a very long time.
“He left the country and went to Zambia in 1961 where he worked with the United National Independence Party (UNIP) after the late Dr Kenneth Kaunda requested him from Dr Joshua Nkomo to assist them until the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) opened its offices in Lusaka,” he said.
“When I left the country for guerrilla training in 1964, Cde Nkiwane is the one who welcomed us in Zambia before taking us to Morogoro in Tanzania.”
Cde Dube said when the Special Affairs High Command was established in Lusaka in 1965, Cde Nkiwane was appointed Chief of Personnel and Training.
Cde Nkiwane was born on January 6, 1928 in Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North and attended the Presbyterian Church’s David Livingstone Primary School before proceeding to Tegwane Mission.
In 1949 he was employed by the Bulawayo Municipality working in the African Department under the directorship of Dr Hugh Ashton.
In 1954 when Cde Nkiwane was reading towards the Bachelor of Commerce degree, he left for Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) at the time of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which had been inaugurated in 1953.
In 1961 Cde Nkiwane joined UNIP. Soon he began to work full time for Zapu and subsequently moved to Lusaka. Cde Nkiwane is survived by his wife, Ntombizodwa and three children, two sons and a daughter.
Mourners are gathered at Joyful Farm in Umguza District.
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