|Culverwell: A veteran teacher, psychologist|
|Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00|
Cde Joseph Culverwell was born in Johannesburg on July 10, 1918 while his mother was on a short trip to South Africa. He attended McKeurtan and Moffat primary schools in Bulawayo and Harare respectively, before going to Trafalgar High School in Cape Town.
A graduate of education and psychology from the University of Cape Town and Nottingham University in England, Cde Culverwell had an illustrious teaching career that spanned 27 years and took him to Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Iran and England.
During the Second World War Cde Culverwell served as a sergeant in the Rhodesian and British armies operating in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Egypt.
His involvement with the nationalist struggle started after the war when, upon returning home, he received a quarter of what his white counterparts in the war got as compensation.
In the early phases of the liberation struggle, Cde Culverwell worked with such political veterans as George Nyandoro, James Chikererema and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo. He actively participated in the organisation of the inaugural meeting of the African National Congress. He joined Zapu and then Zanu in the 1960s. He was once the Secretary of the Coloured Community Service League and in 1938 he was elected Secretary-General of the National Association of Coloured Peoples.
In 1967, Cde Culverwell was imprisoned for 18 months for his involvement in political activities. However, after serving 12 months of his prison term, Cde Culverwell was released and went and taught in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and eventually England.
While in England he continued supporting the liberation struggle under Zanu-PF sourcing clothes, medicine and ambulances for guerillas fighting in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
Still in England, Cde Culverwell was elected Chairman of the Zimbabwe Refugees Association, an organisation tasked with securing jobs, accommodation and scholarships for exiles escaping the draft in Rhodesia.
He was a delegate at the abortive Geneva Peace Talks of 1976 and later the Lancaster House Conference which brought about Zimbabwe’s Independence.
Cde Culverwell returned to Zimbabwe in December 1979 and following Zanu PF’s victory in the 1980 general elections, he was appointed a senator subsequently becoming leader of the Senate for eight years. Between 1981 and January 1988, Cde Culverwell was Deputy Minister of Education and Culture. He was then appointed Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Scholarships, a position he held until 1992 when he was briefly appointed Deputy Minister of Higher Education.
The former senator retired from Government and Parliament later that year because of ill health.
At the time of his death, a wife, four children and eight grandchildren survived him.
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