Hopkins Mariti Correspondent
Comrades Shuvai Ben Mahofa and Maud Muzenda were laid to rest at the national shrine last week, but their resumes intersect in other ways.
Besides hailing from Masvingo, both heroines are founding pillars and mother figures in Zimbabwe’s struggle for self-determination. Heroines are people who visualise value beyond what is possible and make the whole struggle of humanity worthwhile.
The graveyard is the only place where individuals with the greatest potential are gathered. The gallant daughters of the soil from the same hometown joined the next world this month.
A woman is the greatest gift God ever presented to nature and humanity and those who excel beyond ordinary expectations deserve salutations beyond pen and paper.
The nation has been robbed of inspirational and hardworking heroines whose great deeds inspired thousands of ladies in Zimbabwe. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side-by-side with men.
The national heroines who died at ripe ages bring to 10 the number of heroines interred at the national shrine. The role a woman plays in society is often underestimated, but is of paramount significance in shaping a decent well-natured community.
It would be unfair to ignore the great and inspirational works executed by the two heroines whose impact vaunt volumes to Zimbabwean citizens and the African continent at large.
Their motto for development and unity still echoes words of determination to the girl child and every principled citizen of Zimbabwe. When a life has been lived honestly and bravely, the correct response to death’s punctuation mark is a smile and celebration.
The ladies were both conceived from Masvingo during the colonial era. Their strong zeal to visualise a Rhodesia free from the yoke of oppression drove them to participate in the Liberation struggle.
Cde Mahofa joined the National Democratic Party (NDP) and later the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) in 1961. Her participation in the liberation struggle portrays her insatiable appetite for the independence of Zimbabwe which was finally attained in 1980.
The ultimate measure of every individual is not determined by where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.
Cde Mahofa provided logistical support to ZANLA forces during the height of the armed struggle where she served as a war collaborator. She executed duties that were considered to be for men at a time when many women heard the sounds of bombs and news of the war from home.
The leadership qualities she exhibited gained her a seat as Councillor of Tirizi and Chairperson of the Council board in Gutu District after Independence in 1980.
She successfully rose through the ranks when she was elected Member of Parliament for Gutu South and a member of the Zanu-PF Women’s League as Secretary for Transport and Welfare in 1985.
She created a family bond with the Gutu South community which she represented in the Parliament of Zimbabwe from 1985 to 2008 The quiet and reserved Cde Maud Muzenda attended Gokomere Mission where she schooled with the late Vice President Simon Vengai Muzenda.
She trained as a nurse at Makumbe Mission in Chinhamora, Domboshava, while Dr Muzenda studied carpentry in Cape Town, South Africa. The lovebirds were united in harmony at Gokomere Mission in 1950 until the death of VP Muzenda in 2003.
Cde Maud Muzenda worked at Murehwa Hospital and well-known for advocating the abolition of the discriminatory practices of the oppressive colonial administration.
Black nurses received very low salaries as compared to their white counterparts in the same field. She was a nurse who believed that a dream is that which keeps you from sleep not that which prolongs your snoring.
VP Muzenda stayed in political activism and became the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) administrative secretary. He was arrested by the Rhodesian Government for possessing a pistol in 1964 and was later released in under the Anglo –Rhodesian Agreement in 1971.
Cde Maud Muzenda was harassed and tortured on numerous occasions by the Rhodesian forces after her husband crossed the border in 1972 to champion the cause of the liberation struggle.
Her husband is well remembered for the famous speech, “Nehanda Nyakasikana”. The noble gentleman never halted reciting the poem despite countless arrests threats by the Rhodesian Government
She worked tirelessly to sustain the family whilst her husband attended political affairs in the armed struggle. The proud mother gave birth to well natured children who emulated politicians in Zimbabwe. Tsitsi and Tongai Muzenda have successfully followed their late father’s footsteps and secured positions in the world of politics.
The children serve as a testimony of a hardworking and proud mother who played a pivotal role in moulding successful politicians. A few ladies in the society have the boldness to remain strong and courageous to face life torturing circumstances. VP Muzenda was blessed to be married to the brave heroine.
As a youth pursuing studies in a foreign land the heroines deeply inspired me to proudly exhibit the modest values of the Zimbabwean culture. As young people we have been shown that the difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s efforts and determination.
The youths of our generation should draw inspiration from the heroines and engage in developmental projects for a brighter future. Confidence and hard work are the best medicine to kill the disease named failure
We should jealously treasure and safeguard the national heritage of Zimbabwe. The blood of the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe still speaks to us through the national heroes and heroines who are resting at the National Heroes Acre.
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity, character and honesty. Without it, no real success is possible. The great inspiration and achievements by the special ladies echo volumes to the nation of Zimbabwe.
They are notable examples of the successes of the women empowerment and gender equality programs by the Zimbabwean Government. The main aim has been to promote women to acquire leadership roles in the Government, companies, community and various fields of specialisation.
It is when we appreciate the good works done by other individuals that our communities and lives change for the better. Charity begins from home and our actions in the society are a total reflection of where we came from. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.
The late Cde Maud Muzenda and the late Cde Sally Mugabe jointly started child survival projects aimed at supporting children from the poorest backgrounds of Zimbabwe.
She single-handedly sustained the survival of the project after the death of Cde Sally Mugabe. Life is not about the years but that which is in the years.
Our works and deeds will serve as a testimony to the world after we die. The heroines never hesitated to extend the hand of assistance to the needy for she believed that an individual reaps what she sows.
The comrades will always be remembered for their bravery, commitment and leadership roles during the liberation struggle and in the Community. Cowards die many times before their death but true heroes and heroines never taste of death but once.
True heroes and heroines never die but sleep for their legacy is passed down to the future generation.
- Hopkins Mariti is a Chinese language student at the Ocean University of China. He can be reached at [email protected]