The Matabeleland Forum, a grouping of civic society organisations in the region, has mourned the death of Mafela Trust director, Zephaniah Nkomo, describing him as a gallant fighter for the rights of Zimbabweans.
Nkomo breathed his last Sunday afternoon at a private hospital in Bulawayo at the age of 69.
“The members of the Matabeleland Forum reach out to the family of Zephaniah Nkomo at this time of bereavement,” said the forum in a statement Tuesday.
“He was a gallant fighter for the rights of Zimbabweans throughout his life, first as an intelligence officer for ZIPRA, and then as Director of the Mafela Trust for many decades. Zwe became the custodian of much of the history of ZAPU and ZIPRA, in particular constructing a record of where those fighting in the struggle had been laid to rest.”
The forum hailed him for his role in the documentation of the 1980s Gukurahundi events. Nkomo was affectionately known as Zwe.
“Many of us in the Matabeleland Forum partnered with Zwe and Mafela Trust over the decades,” said the forum.
“His contribution to the burning issues in the region was beyond doubt: his love for Matabeleland and his commitment to attempting to better the lives of ZIPRA comrades and to document their histories was continuous throughout his life. His compassion towards the suffering of his fellow ZIPRA comrades as they entered their later years without recognition or resources was well noted. He cared for others, and voiced their needs, while sharing what he had without a second thought.”
The forum added: “In many ways, Zwe was the living history of Matabeleland. We thank you, Zephaniah Nkomo, for your contributions, and recognise you as our Hero. Rest in Peace, and may your family find consolation in knowing that we will remember you with the greatest of love and respect, as we in Matabeleland take the struggle forward. SELIHAMBILE IQHAWE LAMA QHAWE!” (The hero is gone. Rest in peace, hero of heroes.)
The Matabeleland Forum is composed of Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Centre for Innovation and Technology, Zimbabwe Christian Legal Society, Zimbabwe Community Youth Development Trust, Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, Emthonjeni Women’s Forum, Habakkuk Trust, Ibhetshu likazulu, Masakhaneni Trust, National Youth Development Trust, South Western Region Gender Network, Tree of Life Ukuthula Trust, Victory Siyanqoba Trust, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development, Women’s Media Development Foundation and Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.