Karimatsenga Tembo’s melody lingers on

26 Jan, 2021 - 00:01 0 Views
Karimatsenga Tembo’s melody lingers on The casket bearing the body of Mrs Karimatsenga Tembo at her burial

The Herald

Own Correspondent

Martha Karimatsenga Tembo, age 71, escaped this mortal realm on Saturday, January 16, 2021, leaving behind a footprint on dozens of lives.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Cde David Karimatsenga Tembo (nom-de-plume Cde David Tembo) who was a war veteran having joined the liberation struggle in the 1970s. 

He died in 1994. 

Liberation war icons President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Eddison Zvobgo, Kumbirai Kangai, Monica Mutsvangwa and Oppah Muchinguri, amongst others, where at one time or another sheltered by the couple in Mozambique. 

Mr and Mrs Karimatsenga Tembo, now reunited in death, were instrumental in setting up camps for liberation war guerrillas in Beira, Mozambique.

They would visit guerrillas in Chimoio – a large ZANLA encampment and training facility, which saved as a launchpad for guerrillas infiltrating into Rhodesia.

They escaped by a whisker, the infamous raid conducted by the Rhodesian Security Forces against the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) headquarters at Chimoio. 

In a tribute to Mrs Tembo Karimatsenga, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa described her as a liberation war supporter and fighter who dedicated her life to the struggle for national independence.

She recalled how Mrs Tembo Karimatsenga had joined the rank and file of women in the struggle and moved to Maputo. 

 “I knew Mai Tembo Karimatsenga as the wife of Cde David Tembo who was a General Manager of a top hotel in Beira,” Minister Mutsvangwa said in the tribute. 

“As Zimbabwean expatriates in Mozambique, they embraced our Chimurenga national struggle and hosted many of the leadership and cadres. I worked in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President of ZANU, who is now HE Cde Mnangagwa, the President.

“Many times we benefited from Mai Tembo’s hospitality. In the process I developed strong personal bonds with her. Mai Tembo would go on to sacrifice and join the rank and file of women in the struggle before moving to Maputo. 

“Our personal bonds endured well into freedom and Independence till her untimely death. 

“My deep and sincere condolences to her dear children and grandchildren who we continue to retain strong bonds with. 

May Her Soul Rest In Internal Peace.”

In a graveside speech on Thursday, Mrs Karimatsenga Tembo’s first born — Zanu PF former Goromonzi West legislator Biata Nyamupinga — said her mother’s song is ended, but her melody lingers on.

“My mother was a humble woman, not many know that she played a part in the liberation struggle,” Nyamupinga said. “My mother was part of the liberation struggle, it’s not a secret. 

“From the late Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa to Cabinet ministers Monica Mutsvangwa and Oppah Muchinguri, the list of people who benefited from her loving hands is endless.

“When my parents came back to Zimbabwe in 1980 after independence, my father carried on working in the hotel industry, mum was working in the Zanu PF women’s league fabric shop together with Sally Mugabe and Mrs Munemo.” 

Mrs Tembo Karimatsenga participated in many women empowerment projects and initiatives.  

She was a very industrious woman, becoming one of the first black female entrepreneurs operating in the trade industry. 

She also became a very active member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cde David Tembo and his wife had lived in Victoria Falls where Cde David Tembo was a hotelier, a position he used to help the guerrillas cross over to Zambia en route to Mozambique.

Rhodesian forces got wind of his activities and as they moved in to arrest him, he escaped to Mozambique through Zambia, acting on a tip-off, taking their youngest daughter — three-year-old Locadia — leaving behind four other children.

Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo is now a Zimbabwean cleric based in South Africa where she leads Nation of Glory Ministries, established in 2016.

“I was very young then, but the experiences are quite vivid,” Locadia said from her base in South Africa.

As with many Zimbabweans, Locadia failed to return home to bury her mother due to travel restrictions brought by Covid-19. 

“She was a caring and warm woman who was gracious,” Locadia said. 

“My beloved mother has ascended to glory and to be with our Lord. I am so grateful for the priceless years we had with her. She fought a good fight and ran a good race. 

“The true definition of a Proverbs 31 Virtuous Woman and because of that, my family and I have gained an angel in heaven who will be watching over us.” 

Locadia thanked the Office of the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for playing a key nursing role in the twilight of Mrs Karimatsenga Tembo’s life. 

Simba Chopera, brother to the late Cde David Karimatsenga described his sister-in-law as “a selfless and strong mother who despite losing her husband in 1994 continued to be the glue that kept the family together by opening up her home to her late husband’s family”. 

“Our lives will never be the same without you,” mourned Chopera in a moving eulogy to his sister-in-law.

Martha Karimatsenga Tembo, born Martha Tiriwokunze Nyakudya at Rombe in Mashonaland Central and was raised at Eskbank Farm, was buried at Warren  Hills in Harare on January 21. 

Fittingly, her children and close relatives ensured she was sent off in style, courtesy of Doves Funeral Services.

A Mercedes Benz Pilato, brought in from Germany and custom fitted in Italy, was the premium hearse that carried her remains to her final resting place. 

Mrs Karimatsenga Tembo had a natural passion to serve people.

 She is survived by seven children, 19 children and five great grandchildren.

Indeed, her song may have ended but her melody lingers on.

Share This:

Sponsored Links