Opposition Zapu has been plunged into mourning following the departure of one of its senior members, Teresia Thaka on Thursday.
“ZAPU once again is in deep sorrow as the mother party mourns the death yesterday (Thursday) of uMama Teresia Thaka (nee Mafu),” said the party spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa in a statement.
Maphosa said Thaka, whom he described as “Mother Teresa” was very generous to the party and Zimbabwe’s struggle.
“When ZAPU was arm-twisted into signing the unity accord, Mrs Thaka is one of the leaders who took up the task of conscientising ZAPU structures on the meaning of the decision to sign the Unity Accord and the importance of conforming to the status quo at that time,” explained Maphosa.
“In her own admission, it was not an easy task but she had to, as a leader, ensure lives were preserved as well as convince the people the country needed the relative peace which the compromise brought with it. She believed the relative peace or its semblance, with all its shortcomings and misgivings, is the least our people needed in order to have development.
Mrs Thaka would again show her motherly character at ZAPU’s revival in 2009, a process that involved pulling out of the infamous 1987 Unity Accord as well as reinstituting the party structures and programmes.”
Maphosa said the departed Thaka remained calm “through the storms” and gave advice and mentoring to the party.
“Her prints are most visible in the women’s wing, Zimbabwe African Women’s Union, the current Presidency as well as the Department of Organizing and Mobilization,” he said.
“Under her tutelage and guidance, ZAWU was revived, reinvented and rejuvenated in 2009. Mrs Thaka was also instrumental in the programs of Mobilization which saw the department achieve beyond expectations. She was a major pillar in the current Presidency, helping the party transition from the loss of its sitting president two years ago.”
He added: “She was also a very important member of the party in Bulawayo Central district, where she made a huge impact at more close personal levels throughout the constituency.
Mrs Thaka will mostly be missed for her generosity and compassion, which made her not a comrade but a mother to all in ZAPU. It is a great loss not only to ZAPU but the entirety of Zimbabweans. The heroine has taken leave.”
Maphosa said Thaka left a void that will be difficult to fill.
“We are however consoled by memories of a life well lived and with a solid purpose, a purpose that was fulfilled by all measures,” he said.
“She was also able to impart her generosity, leadership qualities and skills by pouring out love, compassion, care and guidance. ZAPU is really empty without this gallant woman who was mother to all. May her heroic spirit rest in eternal peace!”