Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
HUNDREDS of mourners yesterday thronged the Manicaland provincial heroes’ acre to bid farewell to the late liberation war heroine, Cde Dianah Dirwayi Chikopo. Cde Chikopo died on October 20, 2017. She is survived by five children and 10 grandchildren. Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Mandi Chimene was overcome by emotions and failed to deliver her speech, which was later read on her behalf by provincial administrator, Mr Edgar Seenza.
Cde Chimene and the late Cde Chikopo shared a close bond after serving together at Parirenyatwa Chimoio camp during the liberation war. Minister Chimene said President Mugabe had decided to confer Cde Chikopo with a liberation war heroine status because she was a dedicated cadre, who was committed to the liberation war and her work after the war.
“Cde Dianah’s untimely death is a painful loss to us all in Manicaland and the nation at large. We should, therefore, appreciate her fountain of wisdom and sense of equality that made her become a staunch woman, who could not be moved by freak storms, but one who stood bold against all odds. A committed and dedicated cadre, whose unquestionable qualities and active participation in the liberation struggle made her adorable to masses and thus His Excellency, President Mugabe befittingly accorded her the liberation war heroine status,” she said.
Cde Chikopo’s Chimurenga name was Sara Zvenyika. She was born on July 14, 1954 in Mutare District and attended Dangare and St Joseph’s primary schools before enrolling at Sakubva Secondary School in 1968 for her Ordinary Level certificate. Cde Chikopo left for Mozambique in 1979 via Nyamaropa to join the liberation struggle. She was stationed at Doroi Camp. She received military training in the same year where she got a back injury while doing some drills. After the injury, she joined the medical team at Doroi Camp and was later moved to Parirenyatwa Chimoio Camp. Cde Chikopo was deployed to Mudzindadzi base in 1978 to serve as a detachment military officer.
After the Chimoio attack on November 23, 1977 Cde Chikopo temporarily stayed at Gondola before moving to Tete area in Mozambique. Upon her return to Zimbabwe, she joined the Ministry of Health in 1981 where she worked at Mutare Provincial Hospital, Sakubva eye unit and Nyanga Hospital before resigning due to ill health. She then went into farming at her plot in Burma Valley, which she acquired under Government’s land reform programme. Cde Chikopo’s son, Mr Mazvita Chikopo said the family had lost a true heroine and a pillar of strength.
“My mother was a selfless woman, who put the liberation of the country first. She left for the war when I was only five-years-old and I only got to see her again in 1981 after the war. We should try to emulate her selflessness and remain united to continue the good works she did while she was among us,” he said.