The late former ZPRA intelligence officer and Mafela Trust director, Zephaniah Maiwana Nkomo, who died Sunday and declared a provincial hero was laid to rest at the Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre in Bulawayo Thursday.
Nkomo who was given the full military honours was buried alongside another provincial hero, Thabani Ncube, a former soldier.
Speaker after speaker at a funeral service held in Nkomo’s honour at his Lobenvale house described him as a rare breed who sacrificed his life for the benefit of others.
“My father was a very principled man and was one person who would always lecture you about something; he was just and fair,” said his son Ashford.
“He had many friends and was loved.”
He added that life would be difficult for them without their father but was quick to say they will take comfort in their mother who is still alive.
Nkomo’s eldest grandchild, Tshepang Thembani Nare, said his grandfather’s works speak for him as to what kind of a person he was.
“He lived a life of sacrifice,” he told mourners.
“He loved issues around peace and unity. Life is about sacrifice because it is too short. He died a fighter.”
Norman Mpofu, who spoke on behalf of the entire Nkomo clan described him as their role model who will be forever missed.
“This was a good man; he respected all of us,” said a woman who spoke on behalf of Nkomo’s in-laws.
“We never thought that one day we would gather for him like this. We will remain lonely without him.”
Speaking at the provincial heroes’ acre, ex-ZPRA senior cadre, Tshinga Dube, a former chairman of Mafela Trust, said Nkomo played a very important role in Mafela Trust, whose role is to document ZAPU and ZPRA liberation history.
Dube said he worked for a very long time with the late Nkomo, whom he said was committed to his voluntary work at the trust preserving ZPRA records.
“His work was so great because the records are there,” said Dube.
The late Zephaniah Maiwana Nkomo was born in Ntoli Communal Lands in the then Bulilima-Mangwe District on 1 May 1951.
He did his primary schooling at the local Ntoli Primary School, up to Standard 6, after which he moved to Bulawayo’s Msitheli Secondary School where he did his O’ Levels.
After completing his O levels he found employment at the Supersonic factory in Bulawayo. However the call to join the liberation struggle became too strong, in 1977, resulting in him joining the struggle in Zambia.
Nkomo is survived by wife and six children.
Meanwhile, ex-ZIPRA cadres and friends of the Nkomos held a virtual memorial service for the late hero on Zoom Wednesday night.