Retired Major-General Charles Njodzi Dauramanzi, a veteran freedom fighter and soldier, a brave, courageous, selfless and dedicated cadre, was born on April 14, 1940 and died on February 23, 2003. He was buried at the National Heroes Acre on February 28, 2003. Cde Dauramanzi was born in Chief Mukaro’s area, Gutu, Masvingo, and was the fourth in a family of eight: six boys and two girls.
He did his primary education at Bako Primary School and attended Selous Missionary College for his secondary education.
In 1961, he joined Rothmans of Pall Mall as a salesman, a job he held for a year. It was at this tender age that young Charles got involved in active politics as a ZAPU youth.
A foresighted man, principled, brave and always ready to work for the liberation of his country, Cde Dauramanzi took part in anti-government strikes of the early 1960s.
In 1962 he was arrested for taking part in such activities and was brought before the Southern Rhodesian courts.
He skipped bail and left the country for Tanzania through Lusaka, Zambia.
Cde Dauramanzi was among the earliest ZAPU cadres to receive military training in China. From that time until his death, he remained persistent and consistent in his quest for total independence and sovereignty of his country.
After training, he was deployed in the then Southern Rhodesia where he worked tirelessly in recruiting young cadres for military training. He was also among the first group of people who sourced weapons that were used in the liberation struggle. In this task he worked together with Vice President Cde Simon Muzenda and the Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, among others.
Cde Dauramanzi joined ZANU following the split with ZAPU. He sourced weapons that were used during the historic Chinhoyi (Sinoia) Battle from Zaire. Prior to that, he had organised attacks and other skirmishes against Rhodesian forces inside the country.
In 1965, he was among party representatives in Zambia who braved the danger of Kafue River in an attempt to rescue his colleague, the late Percy Ntini, then party representative in Zambia. They were returning from the then Southern Rhodesia where they had gone to infiltrate cadres for the Chinhoyi Battle.
In 1966, Cde Dauramanzi became part of the Revolutionary Council responsible for reconnaissance, recruitment and logistics. Following the disbanding of the Revolutionary Council in 1968 and the creation of the Dare reChimurenga in 1969, he was appointed a member of the General Staff. Because of his illustrious work he was, in 1973, elevated to the High Command, where he was responsible for logistics.
In March 1975, following the death of Cde Herbert Chitepo, Cde Dauramanzi was arrested, together with other members of the Dare reChimurenga, High Command and General Staff and detained by Zambian authorities on allegations of complicity. He was absolved of any wrongdoing by the courts and released from detention, together with his colleagues, in October 1976.
Upon his release, he crossed into Mozambique where ZANU was now headquartered. At the historic Conference of ZANU held in Chimoio in 1977, he was elected into the party’s Central Committee.
Shortly after independence, Cde Dauramanzi was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in 1980 as a colonel and worked as Director of the Army Service Corps until 1985. Between 1986 and 1987, he commanded 3 Brigade and Presidential Guards Brigade respectively.
He was then posted to the Ministry of Defence’s Headquarters as Director Liaison, a post he held until his retirement in 1994 as a Major-General.
During his 14-year stint with the army, he did various courses which included the Command Staff Course in Tanzania.
Cde Dauramanzi will be remembered for his inspirational qualities, unquestionable loyalty and devotion to the cause of the majority, and for the excellent service he rendered to Zimbabwe before and after independence.
It was in recognition of this that he was awarded the Independence, Liberation, 10 Years Service and the Mozambican Campaign Medals.
After having successfully contributed to the attainment of political emancipation and self-determination of Zimbabweans, Cde Dauramanzi realised the need for economic emancipation and empowerment.
In this regard he bought a commercial farm in Chivhu in 1984 where he was cattle ranching, long before the Fast Track Land Reform Programme was introduced. This shows he was a great visionary who believed in the heritage and wealth of our land.
By so doing, the veteran freedom fighter demonstrated that he knew the importance of land as the mainstay of our economy, and the main grievance in the Third Chimurenga inasmuch as he knew that land was at the core of our Second Chimurenga.
In this way, Cde Dauramanzi was once again at the forefront of another phase of our struggle as he was in the liberation struggle which brought political independence in 1980.
Because of his humility, selflessness, integrity and consistency in serving the Zimbabwean cause before and after independence, Cde Dauramanzi was unanimously declared a national hero by the ZANU PF Politburo at its meeting held on February 26, 2003.
Cde Dauramanzi is survived by his wife Cecilia Vimbainashe, 12 children and 12 grandchildren.
A Guide to Heroes Acre