|Naomi Nhiwatiwa dies in USA|
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012 00:00|
Nhiwatiwa, a former advisor to the World Health Organisation’s Africa region, died at her home on April 12 in South Bend, Indiana — three days before her 71st birthday. At the height of the war for independence in the late 1970s, she attended the first Zanu-PF Women’s League meeting at Shai Shai in Maputo with the likes of the late national hero Julia Zvobgo and the late Dr Mavis Chidzonga, a former Zanu-PF legislator for Mhondoro.
At independence in 1980, she became one of only five female MPs from the Zanu-PF side — and along with Vice President Joice Mujuru and former Cabinet Minister and now Politburo member Cde Victoria Chitepo, they were the only women in cabinet.
Cde Mujuru was Minister of Youth, Sports and Recreation; Cde Chitepo the Deputy Minister of Education and Culture while Nhiwatiwa became Deputy Minister of Posts and Telecommunications.
Armed with a PhD Intercultural and Diplomatic Communications (1979), Masters Degree in Counseling (1972) both from the University of New York at Buffalo and a Masters Degree in Human Growth and Development from Wayne State University in Michigan, she quit parliament in 1988 to join the United Nation’s Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) as the senior external relations officer for ESARO, in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 1993, she was promoted to the World Health Organisation as director external relations and programme promotion (Africa Region) based in Brazzaville, Congo.
In 1998 she was again promoted to the position of senior advisor to the United Nations in New York, USA.
After retiring from the United Nations in 2001, she worked as a consultant on HIV/Aids, and as a visiting Professor for the Department of Communications at Pepperdine University in California. A devout Christian Nhiwatiwa founded the Zerapath Charity aimed at helping HIV-Aids orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I have to do something about it, however, humble it may be,” she said of her charity work. If everybody does something, it will surely make the difference.”
A funeral service will be held at the First Seventh Day Adventist in South Bend, Indiana, at 10am on Sunday.
Her family has decided she will be buried at the Southlawn Cemetery in South Bend on the same day.
She is survived by two children — daughter Iyabode Illawole who lives in California and son Hakeem Oseni who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. — newzimbabwe.com