Brenda Phiri Arts Reporter
PROLIFIC writer and poet Tichaona Freedom Nyamubaya has been described as a liberation and literary luminary whose legacy would outlive her for posterity to savour the finest hour of patriotic pride that begot national rebirth.
Nyamubaya, who died on Sunday at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital after a short illness, will be buried on Saturday at 2pm at a place yet to be announced.
She was 57.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Cde Chris Mutsvangwa — who is also Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees — said the now deceased was as courageous in battle as she was daring in spirit as he called on all war veterans to emulate her legacy.
“It’s sad and painful to hear about Tichaona Freedom Nyamubaya’s death. She was as courageous in spirit as she was daring in battle. An exceptional female torch bearer of the 1975 Critical Mass war cadres inspired by the North East Campaign that had ‘taken root in the masses’ and the Samora Machel’s Frelimo victory in neighbouring Mozambique in 1974.
“Full of the sublime in humanity, she lived and died an intellectual and a practitioner of gender equality in the tough challenges of a self-embrace of the anti-colonial battlefield experience.
“This trait continued to mark her personality right into and through the independence and freedom her personal sacrifice helped bring about.
“I admiringly salute her for putting female war triumphs and tribulations to pen and paper as she retold of a struggle that groped to find its way in the formation and growth of a people’s army. I call on all war veterans to follow her example. Her literary achievement is for posterity to savour the finest hour of patriotic pride that begot national rebirth,’’ Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) secretary general Memory Chirere described Nyamubaya’s death as a blow to the arts community.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing on of poet and fighter for liberation,” Chirere said.
“Her two major poetic works were ‘On the Road Again’ (1986) and ‘Dusk of Dawn’ (1995). The very first poem in ‘On the Road Again’ called ‘Introduction’, shows the poet’s realisation that the war for independence is not necessarily over when the new flag is raised.”
“She further demonstrated the idea that the enemy ‘is here (and) invisible’.
“At independence, Nyamubaya reasons, the fighter’s barrel suddenly has ‘no definite target’ too. The fighter’s efforts become far stretched to involve ‘my hands’, ‘my mouth’ and ‘my pencil’.” “Already there was the realisation in Nyamubaya that the challenges of creating and sustaining the new nation state demand much more from the fighter.”
Chirere cited writers like Emmanuel Ngara, who described the late Nyamubaya as a natural poet who was not self-conscious about her writing.
He said she carried the gun of war, laboured under it, lost and buried friends and marched to victory in 1980.
Fellow poet Chirikure Chirikure described the late Nyamubaya as an inspiration to those who knew her.
“I have known her since the 1980s and I admired her for her intellect. She was an inspiration because even after returning from the liberation struggle she was eager to develop herself and worked towards developing others,” he said.
“She was a good communicator who presented herself well at international platforms.”
Mourners are gathered at number 9110 Ruvimbo Phase 2 in Chinhoyi.
Her brother Mr Julius Nyamubaya said the death came as a surprise as she was fine when she returned from a trip outside the country two weeks ago.
“Her blood pressure was very high a day before her death, which resulted in her being admitted at Mhangura Hospital on Saturday.
“She did not recover and was transferred to Chinhoyi Hospital where she then died,” he said.
Julius said burial arrangements would be announced tomorrow (Thursday).
Nyamubaya is survived by her 19-year-old son.