Sunday, 8 August 2021


 NATIONALIST and liberation stalwart Cde Jane Lungile Ngwenya has been declared a National Heroine.

Cde Ngwenya (86) died on Thursday night at Bulawayo’s Mater Dei Hospital. Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu announced the national hero status at her family’s homestead in Umzingwane on the outskirts of Bulawayo yesterday evening.

He said the ruling party unanimously agreed that the status was befitting considering Cde Ngwenya’s contributions in liberating Zimbabwe.

Cde Mpofu said the late nationalist was one of the few national heroes and heroines whose status was not debated as her works still speak for her even after her death. He said burial arrangements will be announced in due course.

The late heroine died on Thursday night at the age of 86, three days before she could be conferred with the Grand Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit on Heroes Day.

Inspired by founding nationalists such as the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Benjamin Burombo, Joseph Msika and Josiah Chinamano, she crossed into Zambia via Botswana to join the liberation struggle whereupon her arrival she found Cdes Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, George Silundika and Edward Ndlovu in charge of Zapu and became one of the leaders of the party.

“When we received news that our mother had passed on, President Mnangagwa immediately called me asking that I prepare her paperwork as it could not be debated that indeed she was a hero. It gives me great joy to announce that President Mnangagwa has declared the late Cde Jane Lungile Ngwenya as a national hero. Burial arrangements will be announced in due course,” said Dr Mpofu.

Responding to the declaration, Cde Ngwenya’s uncle Mr Tonderai Mushaurwa said the family was happy that she had been given the great honour to be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

“We accept this declaration and we are happy that she has been honoured by the President, the ruling party and the Government. We are happy and appreciate all efforts to celebrate the sacrifices that our daughter made for the liberation of this country,” said Mr Mushaurwa.

In his condolence message on Friday, President Mnangagwa said he received the news of the passing of Cde Ngwenya, one of the country’s pioneer female nationalists and liberation fighters, with deep shock and grief.

President Mnangagwa described Cde Ngwenya as a dedicated cadre, leader and stalwart of the liberation movement and, “our own liberation struggle.”

“What breaks my heart is that her demise came just three days before our nation honoured and celebrated her outstanding contribution to the national cause by conferring the Grand Commander Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award on her; the second highest honour Zimbabwe reserves for her most distinguished sons and daughters. Indeed, she would have been the first living recipient of such an outstanding award,” President Mnangagwa said in his condolence message.

The President said Cde Ngwenya stood out as a firebrand female cadre who lent militancy to the nationalist movement in its early phase.

With other nationalist luminaries, the President said Cde Ngwenya founded and launched the National Democratic Party (NDP) and Zapu after the NDP had been banned. “It required men and women of exceptional courage and belief to confront the brutal Rhodesian settler system at that time and to keep the spirit of militant nationalism alive,” said President Mnangagwa. 

He said Cde Ngwenya even sacrificed her marriage for the cause.President Mnangagwa said Cde Ngwenya’s fearless personality made her an ideal candidate to lead the Youth Wing of the nationalist movement. “As a member of the Youth League, I served under her and vividly recall her bold and exceptional leadership in that role.

‘‘Through her persuasive broadcast messages aired from Zambia, many youths gathered courage to join the armed struggle.’’

Besides her role in liberating the country from colonial rule, Cde Ngwenya will also be remembered for sacrificing her marriage for nationalist politics.

As a young wife in colonial Rhodesia, Cde Ngwenya used to strap her daughter, Elizabeth, on her back to attend meetings that later culminated in the liberation of the country.

NaBigboy, as Cde Ngwenya was affectionately known, grew thirstier for the country to be liberated by each day she lived under the shackles of white minority rule. Herald


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