Friday, 6 June 2014

Shamuyarira a leading light, says President

Herald Reporters—
President Mugabe has paid tribute to former Cabinet Minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Nathan Shamuyarira, who died in Harare on Wednesday evening, saying he distinguished himself professionally and politically. Cde Shamuyarira died aged 85 at West End Hospital. “I learnt with deep grief and sadness of the death last (Wednesday) night of Cde Nathan Shamuyarira at West End Hospital,” he said in a statement.

“Although Cde Shamuyarira had been unwell for quite sometime, we still hoped he would be with us a little longer. Sadly, this was not to be, as he breathed his last yesterday (Wednesday).”

The President said Cde Shamuyarira’s professional and political career dovetailed with important moments in Zimbabwe’s history.
“Initially a teacher like most educated black Rhodesians were wont to be in those difficult and limiting colonial years, Nathan, along a handful of others, etched new professional direction in the media industry through the then white-owned liberal Daily News, a paper he eventually edited,” said the President.

He said alongside his predecessors at African Newspapers Ltd — Jasper Savanhu, Masotsha Mike Hove, Lawrence Vambe and Kingsley Savanhu — Cde Shamuyarira personified new possibilities in the careers of indigenous people.
Shamuyarira a leading light, says President
“Their appointment, rare at the time, bespoke of compulsive intellect which the dominant white supremacist ethos of his time could not ignore and with which it had to come to terms,” said President Mugabe.

“Indeed his scholarly cast would see him excel academically at the United States of America’s Princeton University where he acquired a doctorate in 1967.
“Again, this was another rare achievement in those dark Rhodesian days, indeed a demonstrative assertion of African intellect in a dispensation of negative colonial profiling.”

President Mugabe said like many educated Africans of the time, Cde Shamuyarira was initially hesitant to enter politics.
“Yes, like most of his peers, he needed persistent cajoling to jump into the political fray, a role so ably played by the late national hero Dr Samuel Parirenyatwa, who persuaded him to join national politics.

“Unlike most of his peers at the African Newspaper group who ended up being ‘black members of white establishment’ to use Cde Shamuyarira’s words, he himself threw his lot with the nationalist struggle.”

President Mugabe said Cde Shamuyarira never looked back once consciousness caught on with him, with his seminal book “Crisis in Rhodesia”, published in 1965, indicative of his sharp mind and nationalist drive.

“His career as a lecturer in various parts of the world, principally at the renowned University of Dar-es-Salaam was always interspersed with commitments to the struggle, initially under Zapu, then under Zanu, and then under the breakaway Frolizi led by the late James Chikerema,” he said.

“Later and through my personal persuasion, Nathan would rejoin Zanu, subsequently relocating to Mozambique where, alongside other leading cadres, he directed the propaganda thrust of our armed struggle.”

President Mugabe said Cde Shamuyarira would be remembered for his role in building a modern information and media industry in Zimbabwe.
“His contribution to that sector, both under the party and in Government, both by way of building information and book structures, and by way of providing editorial direction, shall always rank foremost in his overall legacy to our country,” he said.

“As our Foreign Minister, he contributed immensely to the overall projection and visibility of Zimbabwe as a non-aligned, progressive Pan-African country founded on values of Third World solidarity. Indeed, during his tenure, Zimbabwe hosted key world summits. We will miss him sorely.”

President Mugabe urged the family to take solace from the fact that Cde Shamuyarira had served the nation well and led an eventful life.
“On behalf of the party, Zanu-PF, Government, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to condole with the Shamuyarira family, his widowed wife, especially. Sadly Amai Shamuyarira will now have to manage without her life-long, loving partner and bosom companion.”

Born in 1929 to an evangelist of the Methodist Church, Cde Shamuyarira attended Waddilove Institute where he qualified as a primary school teacher.
After leaving Waddilove, he taught at various primary schools and used the time to complete his secondary education and then taught for some time at Tegwani School in Plumtree.

From 1950-53, he taught animal husbandry at Domboshava before he got a job as a reporter with African Newspapers Ltd in 1953.
He excelled, rising through the ranks to become the first black African editor of the Daily News in 1956.

From 1959 to 1962, Cde Shamuyarira was editor-in-chief of African Newspapers Ltd, after which he left journalism when the late national hero Dr Samuel Parirenyatwa asked him to join Zapu, which was recruiting African intellectuals to spearhead the struggle for independence.

However, the colonial settler regime banned Zapu that same year and the party’s leader, the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo, asked Cde Shamuyarira to join a delegation to the United Nations in New York even though he held no official position in the movement at the time.

Upon returning, Cde Shamuyarira was appointed lecturer in Adult Education at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
In 1963, he and other nationalists broke from Zapu to form Zanu, and in September of the following year he left Southern Rhodesia to study Political Science at Princeton University in the United States and graduated in 1967.

After that, he was appointed a lecturer at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, where he doubled up as Zanu’s secretary for external affairs.
In 1970, Cde Shamuyarira and Cde James Chikerema engaged in deliberations on unifying Zapu and Zapu in Lusaka, Zambia, resulting in him resigning his lectureship to take up the post of treasurer for the new Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe in 1971.

Disagreements with leading lights of the struggle, such as Chairman Herbert Chitepo, saw him leave once again for the University of Dar-es-Salam in 1973.
At Independence in 1980, Cde Shamuyarira joined Government in charge of the information brief, a portfolio he was head again in the 1980s, in between which he was Zimbabwe’s third Foreign Affairs Minister.

Cde Shamuyarira left Government in 2000, to concentrate on his work in Zanu-PF where he was secretary for information and publicity.
In 2004, Cde Shamuyarira was appointed patron of the Palestine Movement; and that same year was crucial to the establishment of the Zimbabwe Automotive Accident Fund, which provided food and scholarships to orphans of road traffic accident victims.

As one of the first black journalists in Zimbabwe, he established the Nathan Shamuyarira Foundation in 2006 whose aim was to sponsor trainee media practitioners and other disadvantaged students.

In 2007, Cde Shamuyarira played a key role in establishment of the local chapter of the African Liberators Heritage Programme to preserve the memory of the continent’s liberation struggles.

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