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Dr Joshua Nkomo (1917-1999): Who exactly was He

29 Jun 2012 at 18:02hrs | Views
Credit due to Diana Mitchell and Robert Cary for reproduction of historical material, from their book Who's Who: African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia.

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was born in June 1917, in Bukalanga/Bulilima, later called the Semokwe Reserve, Matabeleland. He was the third child, a sister having been born in 1910 and a brother in 1913. His parents worked for the London Missionary Society: his father as a driver (and later as a teacher) and his mother, who came from the Nguni group, as a cook.

He received his primary education at Tjolotjo School, after which he worked as a driver, in business with his brother; as a 'delivery boy' for Osborn's Bakery in Bulawayo, owned by Mr. (later Sir) Donald Macintyre; and as a carpenter at Kezi and Tjolotjo.

In 1941, having served enough money for a single year of secondary education, he traveled by train to Durban, South Africa, where he enrolled at Adams College. Being many years older than his fellow students he found it embarrassing "to have to squeeze [his] large adult frame into desks designed for children, and to compete in the classroom with them. It was only the encouragement of a Mrs. Hoskins (a clerk at the school who employed him in his spare time as her driver and who paid his school fees after the first year) that persuaded him to remain.

In 1994 he enrolled at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Science in Johannesburg where his fees for a three-year course of study had been paid by Mrs Hoskins. Here he completed his matriculation and obtained a Diploma. While in Johannesburg he came under the influence of Dr. Zuma and Lembede, two of the leaders of the African National Congress in South Africa, although he took little part in the political discussions that absorbed many of his fellow students.

In 1947 he returned to Rhodesia and was employed by Rhodesia Railways as a social worker â€" the first African to be given such a job. During the next two years he continued with his studies for an external degree with the University of South Africa and graduated Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology.

His work as a welfare officer among African staff of Rhodesia Railways led to his appointment, in 1951, as Secretary of the Railway Workers' Association (later the RAWU). At that time the Association, although powerful, was poorly organized, and he succeeded within the space of a year in building up its membership to a new record level and in creating many new branches.

Through the influence of Enoch Dumbutshena he moved into the political sphere and in 1952 he was elected President of the African National Congress (Rhodesia). Greatly influenced at this time by Moral Re-Armament he tried, in conjunction with leaders in Northern Rhodesia and elsewhere, to unite all African organizations in the All-Africa People's Convention. The attempt was not successful and the Convention disbanded in 1954.
In 1952 he accepted an invitation from Sir Godfrey Huggins, then Prime Minister of Rhodesia, to represent African opinion at the London Conference on the proposed federation of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland. He returned from London bitterly opposed to the proposals, but could make no impression in the face of overwhelming European support for the federal concept. In January 1954 he stood in the first Federal Election as an independent candidate for the African seat of Matabeleland but was heavily defeated by Mike Hove, the UFP candidate.

During the same year he resigned from Rhodesia Railways, and started his own business in Bulawayo as an auctioneer and insurance agent. He retained the leadership of the Southern Rhodesia ANCongress but the movement attracted little support in the changed environment brought about by the Federation, and only the Bulawayo branch remained active during the next five years.

In 1957, however, the Youth League (ANYL), founded in Salisbury two years earlier by George Nyandoro, James Chikerema and Edison Sithole, joined together with the Bulawayo Branch of the old AN Congress and on 12 September Joshua Nkomo was elected President of the reformed African National Congress. During the next year and a half the Congress campaigned vigorously against the Land Husbandry Act, and its success in getting certain convictions set aside in the Court of Appeal led to the emergence of Joshua Nkomo and his colleagues as popular heroes.

In December 1958 Joshua Nkomo travelled to Accra for the first All-Africa People's Conference, and then to Cairo. While he was still in Egypt a State of Emergency was declared in Southern Rhodesia (26 February 1959) and 500 members of the AN Congress were detained. He was, he says, dissuaded by Egyptian friends from returning home, and was advised instead to set up an external office with the object of gaining support throughout the world for the objectives of the AN Congress. This he did, at Golders Green, London, and from this base he travelled widely during next year.

During this period the NDP [National Democratic Party] was formed (1 January 1960). Michael Mawema was elected President of the new party, but it was understood that his appointment was only temporary pending the return to Salisbury of Joshua Nkomo.

Following riots in Salisbury in July 1960, and the arrest of some of the NDP leaders, Nkomo joined with Garfield Todd, former Prime Minister, in calling on the British Government to suspend the Southern Rhodesian Constitution. In September he addressed the United Nations Committee on Colonialism. This was the high point of Nkomo's campaign to bring the Rhodesian issue into the international arena. He has been frequently criticized for remaining outside Rhodesia for prolonged periods, but his reply would be that, until he started his overseas campaign, few people outside Africa realized the special circumstances pertaining to Rhodesia. The vast majority thought Britain would handle the issue in the same way it had handled Ghana and Nigeria, that is, through legislative transfer of power to African self-government.
On 28 November 1960 the inaugural congress of the NDP was held in Salisbury. The election of a president was its prime task and there was no lack of candidates. Leopold Takawira, Moton Malianga, Ndabaningi Sithole and Michael Mawema each pressed his case but the delegates eventually decided in favor of Joshua Nkomo. It has been suggested in certain quarters that this was a compromise decision. Other commentators believe that a warrant had been issued for Nkomo's arrest, and argue that his election was a deliberate attempt to provoke a deliberate head-on clash with the government.

Joshua Nkomo returned to Salisbury a few days later. The Federal Review and the Southern Rhodesia Conference were due to start almost immediately in London. In recognition of Joshua Nkomo's leadership of the Nationalist movement, he was given an invitation by Sir Edgar Whitehead, then Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, to attend as the NDP representative. He accepted.
Within a few days of the start of the Conference, Nkomo followed Kenneth Kaunda (Northern Rhodesia) and Dr Banda (Nyasaland) who had walked out of a session as a sign of protest. Sir Edgar Whitehead reacted by saying that he would not allow Nkomo to attend the imminent conference on Southern Rhodesia's own Constitution, unless he attended both conferences and condemned violence. Finally, a face-saving formula was worked out. The Southern Rhodesian conference was re-convened in Salisbury in the middle of January 1961 with Sir Edgar in the chair. Joshua Nkomo was present, supported by George Silundika, Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole and Herbert Chitepo.

On 7 February, agreement on the main issues was reached, and the NDP released a press statement that read as follows:

"We feel that the provisions have given us a certain amount of assurance that the country will not pursue policies which mean that Africans would be perpetually unable to control their country… Above all, we are to have a new Constitution which is an achievement resulting from the pressure of the NDP, a thing never before thought of in this country" (8 February 1961).

The proposed parliamentary structure was a highly complex one, with provision for 50 'A' Roll and 'B' Roll seats, together with a cross-voting system which would live each roll to have a 25 percent influence on the other. There was immediate adverse reaction to the agreement from leaders who were not at the Conference. A heated session of the NDP executive unanimously rejected the franchise and representation proposals. Nkomo, although stoutly defending his action and that of his fellow-delegates, soon came to realize the strength of the opposition. He further found his stance further weakened by the arrival of a telegram from Leopold Takawira, in London, in which such phrases as 'diabolical and disastrous', 'treacherous to three million Africans' and 'untold suffering' were employed.

On the following day Nkomo flew to London. After discussions with [Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations] Duncan Sandys, Takawira and Enoch Dumbutshena he issued a statement to the press in which he repudiated the constitutional agreement. In explaining his change of attitude he remarked "a leader is he who expresses the wishes of his followers; no sane leader can disregard the voice of his people and supporters." [Indeed, only great leaders of the caliber of Nkomo and Nelson Mandela could say that. What we see today in Zimbabgwe is the complete opposite of what Nkomo believed in].

1961 was a year of growing tension between the NDP and the authorities. After much civil unrest, the party was banned by the Government on 10 December. ZAPU [Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union], successor to the NDP, was formed on 18 December 1961, and Joshua Nkomo was elected its first president. Throughout the first eight months of 1962, the new party followed a policy identical to the NDP but with even greater militancy. A boycott of Sir Whitehead's 'Build a Nation' campaign which was aimed at persuading Africans to register as voters under the new constitution was the precursor to a wave of sabotage, burnings and stone-throwing. On 20 September 1962 ZAPU, too, was banned by the Government, and most of its leaders were restricted for three months to the area surrounding their home area.

Joshua Nkomo was in Lusaka when ZAPU was banned. He states that after some days of thought he came to the conclusion that the time had passed when anything useful could be achieved by party action within Southern Rhodesia. Two of his parties had been banned, and their assets confiscated, within a matter of nine months. Any further creations would, he believed, be similarly handled. The answer, he concluded, lay in setting-up a 'government-in-exile' which, by freely bringing pressure to bear on the UN, the OAU and other sympathetic bodies, would stimulate international action to effect political change at home.

He called a meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to discuss the matter. On arrival there, however, he came under strong pressure from Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, Enoch Dumbutshena and President Nyerere of Tanzania â€" all of whom felt that he should return to Salisbury and suffer the same restraints as other leaders. He followed this advice, and on his arrival in Southern Rhodesia was restricted for three months to Kezi, south of Bulawayo.

He had not, however, abandoned his belief that the nationalist cause could best be furthered at that stage by activity from outside the country. On his release from restriction he travelled to New York, where he addressed the UN Committee of 24 [i. e., the UN Special Committee on Decolonization] on 23 March 1963. Soon after his return to Southern Rhodesia he called a meeting of the national executive for early April in Dar-es-Salaam. By this time he was, he says, convinced that Southern Rhodesia would receive independence as part of a 'package deal' to end the Federation for which a "break up" conference was scheduled to start at the Victoria Falls in June 1963, and he wanted to ensure that a powerful nationalist organization outside the country was in existence before that event occurred.

When the members of the national executive gathered in Dar-es-Salaam on 12 April disputes soon arose. President Nyerere made it clear that he nor other African Heads of State favored a 'government-in-exile' believing that the only place to achieve 'victory' was inside Rhodesia. In this atmosphere the criticism of Joshua Nkomo's leadership of the movement, which had been simmering since the previous year, boiled over. This criticism took several forms: there were those who favored a policy of 'confrontation' with the Government, whatever the consequences; those who believed that it was essential to form a new party to replace the banned ZAPU; and those who felt that Joshua Nkomo had become too accustomed to the 'fleshpots' of international travel, and was, therefore, unwilling to suffer personal hardship.

There were also some, perhaps, whose ambition to lead the movement was greater than their loyalty to the cause, and who saw a chance to advance their positions. Joshua Nkomo returned to Salisbury on 2 July 1963, calling in at the Federal Dissolution Conference at the Victoria Falls. After his departure the majority of those members in Dar-es-Salaam, headed by Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole voted to depose him from the leadership. Nkomo maintains that immediate action was essential; he sent telegrams to various dissidents â€" notably Rev. Sithole and Robert Mugabe â€" informing them that as 'rebels' they had been 'suspended' from the movement. In early August he called a mass meeting at Cold Comfort Farm, seven miles outside of Salisbury. Here Nkomo initiated a new organization to replace ZAPU. To avoid the risk of further banning action he called it the People's Caretaker Council. The new body was, however, ZAPU (without its pro-Sithole defectors) in all but name. Many of the leading officials in the party moved across in the same posts. At the same time Nkomo took steps to consolidate his hold on the masses before any rival movement set up by the 'rebels' could get off the ground. He re-formed the power structure, creating a large number of new, smaller branches to replace the somewhat unwieldy, over-centralized arrangements which had existed previously. Realizing that confrontation with the Government was inevitable sooner or later, he appointed several of his top lieutenants as 'external representatives' hoping thereby to ensure that the movement would continue even if all the leaders inside Rhodesia were detained or restricted. It is interesting to note that by himself remaining in the country, he virtually ensured his own detention - a fate which his critics had often said he was anxious to avoid.

With the formation, on 8 August 1963 of ZANU (under the presidency of Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole), the stage was set for a major clash. During the next six months there was violent strife between the supporters of the two groups as each sought to control the masses. When the Government decided, in February 1964, to introduce school fees for all African pupils in urban schools, the PCC mounted a strong resistance. On 16 April Joshua Nkomo was arrested, and restricted for a period of one year to the new Gonakudzingwa Camp in the south-eastern border area. His appeal against this restriction order was successful on a technicality but was countered by a further order which removed the previous illegality, but left his physical situation unchanged.

He remained under restriction for ten and a half years, although not always in the same place or in the same conditions. In 1966, together with two others, he was confined to Camp 5 Gonakudzingwa, where there was no contact with other human beings other than occasional officials. For a period of one year he was removed to Gwelo Prison to serve a sentence for a subversive statement in a speech he made at an earlier date. From 1969 he was permitted three-monthly visits from his wife and his children as were under 14 years of age. In June 1974 as a consequence of the coup in Portugal, he was transferred to Buffalo Range Prison (near Triangle) for greater security. The Portugal coup would have had some effect on the Gonakudzingwa Camp since it was located close to the Mozambique border, Mozambique having been a colony of Portugal.

During these ten years he came before the public eye on only three occasions: firstly, when he was flown to Salisbury on 29 October 1965 to discuss the situation with Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister of Britain, during the latter's pre-UDI visit to Salisbury. The second occasion was in November 1968 when he was called to Salisbury to meet George Thompson, the Commonwealth Secretary, and [Labor Party MP] Maurice Foley, in the course of the further negotiations that followed the HMS Fearless (a British naval sheep) talks between British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Prime Minister. His last emergence was on 10 February 1972 when he was interviewed by members of the Pierce Commission at Nuanetsi.

Joshua Nkomo says that during his long period in restriction he thought deeply of the future course of Nationalism. In one respect his attitude, if anything, hardened. On the question of 'majority rule' he became unwilling to accept any compromise. As he said later: "I would be silly to get anything short of majority rule after suffering all these years". He maintains that he considered carefully the question of unity. In early 1970 he smuggled out a message to James Chikerema in Lusaka. In this message he emphasized the need to end the history of disunity among the "Zimbabwe people". "This", he wrote, "has created an international atmosphere that is not favorable to our cause, especially since the rival groups are in reality fighting for the same thing. The only difference has been personalities." The Guardian newspaper reported on 12 January 1971 that this message from Nkomo led directly to the formation of FROLIZI (the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe - a militant nationalist organization).

In November 1974 he was flown without warning to Salisbury where he was informed by Mark Chona, President Kaunda's envoy, that he was to travel to Lusaka in the very near future. He says that at first he found the news hard to grasp, but with that mental tenacity and resilience of purpose that is a surprising hall-mark of so many of the long-detained nationalists, he soon adjusted to the fact that he was back in the political arena. During his visit to Lusaka the grouping of the various nationalist movements under the banner of the ANC took place in December. Joshua Nkomo was signatory to a document that gave effect to this merger (of ZAPU, ZANU and FROLIZI), and he was appointed a member of the Central Committee of the Council.

During the early months of 1975 he maintained a 'low profile', and refused to be drawn when journalists asked him to comment on his own plans in the light of growing disunity in the ANC. He frequently stressed the need for a common front, and the importance of holding an early congress (as required by the Lusaka Declaration) to settle the question of leadership. In pursuit of this united and common effort, Nkomo attended the OAU Conference in Dar-es-Salaam on 6 April as part of an apparently harmonious delegation comprising Bishop Muzorewa, Rev Ndabaningi Sithole and James Chikerema. It was evident to all, however, that the rift was growing, and the circulation by Dr Edison Sithole and Moton Malianga, in June, of a paper accusing Nkomo of 'doing a deal' with Ian Smith was a sure pointer in the final split in the ANC.

He attended the Victoria Falls talks on 25 and 26 August 1975 as a leading member of the ANC delegation. When, on 2 September, the appointment of Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole and others to the ZLC [Zimbabwe Liberation Committee] was announced in Lusaka, he protested vigorously at what he maintained was an attempt to "usurp the powers of the National Executive Committee" which had been most anxious ever since the Lusaka Declaration of December 1974 that the political and military wings of the movement should be kept separate, and no person should hold office in both wings. Following an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee in Salisbury on 7 September â€" which passed a resolution calling on Bishop Muzorewa to return to Rhodesia, and which called for a congress on 27 September â€" he was 'expelled' from the ANC by the Bishop, an action which he described as "unconstitutional".

At the congress held at Gwanzura Stadium, Highfield, on 27-28 September he was elected unopposed to the post of President of the ANC. He visited Lusaka on 26 October to acquaint President Kaunda with the latest developments in Rhodesia, and paid a similar visit to Dr Banda in Malawi on 5 November. On 13 November he left Salisbury for Dar-es-Salaam to have discussions with President Nyerere. Following his return to Salisbury he traveled to Maputo (formerly Lourenco Marques) on 25 November to meet President Samora Machel and several members of his government.

Towards the end of October 1975 he started a series of meetings with Ian Smith designed to prepare the ground for a full constitutional conference. On 9 November he presided over a meeting of the National Executive at which recent outbreaks of violence in townships in Salisbury and Bulawayo were condemned. On 1 December he and Ian Smith signed in Salisbury a 'Declaration of Intent' to hold a constitutional conference with the minimum of delay. On 15 November he led a large delegation to the first session of the conference. During December he visited both President Amin and President Kenyatta, and reported at a Press Conference in Highfield on 20 December that he had been well-received by both.

In early February 1976 he traveled to London where he had talks with James Callaghan, then Foreign Secretary. On 27 February when the talks had reached what he described as a "crucial stage", he met Lord Greenfield, who had been sent out from London to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation. It was this time that he admitted that the nationalist movement was receiving aid from eastern countries because the "western countries wouldn't agree to help".

When the talks with Ian Smith collapsed on 19 March, Joshua Nkomo said that the breakdown had been on "the single fundamental issue of majority rule now". He called for an interim government leading to majority rule in 12 months.

On 16 April he refused an invitation to go to Lusaka to attend talks called by Bishop Muzorewa in a bid to attain unity in the movement. Ten days later, however, he was in Zambia for a round of talks with Dr Henry Kissinger, the American Secretary of State. It was during this visit that it was announced that ZIPA â€" the Zimbabwe People's Army, rejected Nkomo as leader of the army. On 28 June a statement by Joshua Nkomo, claiming leadership of the ANC and of ZIPA was read out at the OAU Foreign Ministers' meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius. In this statement Nkomo also said that the ANC was "determined to maintain and escalate the fighting in Rhodesia". On 12 July he released a statement in London to the effect that it was futile to talk to the RF [the Rhodesian Front] except "to discuss the mechanics of an immediate transfer of political power to the majority".

During June, July and August 1976 he traveled widely outside Rhodesia, his principal aim being to secure recognition of the ANC, under his leadership, as the voice of African people in Rhodesia. On 6 September he was present at the summit conference called in Dar-es-Salaam by the Presidents of Tanzania, Zambia, Mocambique, Angola and Botswana. At this conference, which was attended by other Rhodesian nationalist leaders, much pressure was applied by the Presidents for a unification of the various factions of the ANC. Although the moves were unsuccessful, Nkomo said in Lusaka five days later that he was prepared to talk "with whoever the ZANU faction chooses as its leader in an attempt to remove the image of disunity".

Following Ian Smith's acceptance of the principle of Majority Rule on 24 September 1976, Joshua Nkomo returned at once to Rhodesia to prepare his ground for the conferences that lay ahead. He met Bishop Muzorewa on 2 October but the two men found it impossible to reach agreement of unity. A few days later he flew to Maputo and Dar-es-Salaam, where he had discussions with Robert Mugabe. On 9 October the two men announced the formation of a Patriotic Front, and said in a joint statement that they "totally rejected" the Kissinger proposals as a basis for discussion. They maintained that the conference should be 'chaired' by a British Minister and that Ian Smith should only attend "as an extension of the United Kingdom delegation." They also called for the release of all political prisoners, the lifting of the state of emergency and the abolition of all restrictions on political activity â€" as the only means of creating "the necessary atmosphere for the conference".

On his return to Rhodesia, however, Nkomo made it clear that this statement was not to be construed as a refusal by himself to attend the conference called for 25 October (at Geneva) with the aim of setting up an interim government. On 13 October Nkomo announced the names of 29 members of his group who would accompany him to the Geneva talks as delegates, legal advisors, political advisors, etc. Following the breakdown of the Geneva Conference in December 1976, Nkomo remained outside Rhodesia. Reports were received of visits made by him to a number of countries in Europe and Africa.
Joshua Nkomo possesses the ability to inspire great loyalty and devotion among his followers (members of various tribes have told the authors - Dian Mitchell and Robert Cary - that Joshua Nkomo has consistently worked to overcome tribalism in the movement) â€" a fact which even his political adversaries admit. His close associates say that the secret lies in his 'common touch', his capacity for talking to all types of men in a language they can understand. This quality is apparent at his public meetings, where he gives a very convincing portrayal of a politician who feels deeply for the people he seeks to lead. His long service to the nationalist cause, and his recurrent ability to climb out of situations of near defeat, have enabled him to sustain a leading role in the political arena of his country. By 1980, Joshua Nkomo and Ian Smith had been active in politics longer than any other person - black or white - in the country.

After the 1980 elections, Dr Nkomo, whose party had been defeated in an election which integrity was in doubt as it was marred by gross intimidation and violence especially in Mashonaland where ZANU had its biggest support base, was offered the job of ceremonial president, but declined. Despite reaching their ultimate goal, overthrowing Ian Smith and the minority white government, Mugabe and Nkomo would not reconcile their differences. While ideological differences kept the two men far enough already, Nkomo's ethnic background was grounds for distrust by Mugabe who constantly feared an uprising by the historically turbulent Ndebele population. Nkomo would make concessions and attempts to improve relationships but met with varying results, the most successful being the ones where Sally Hayfron [Mugabe's late wife] would intervene, as she was the only person within Mugabe's party who was supportive of Dr Nkomo. Allegedly, when Mugabe was offered a seat by Julius Nyerere in his office where he met Nkomo months before, he refused and instead told him "If you think I'm going to sit right where that fat bastard just sat, you will have to think again".

Initially, Mugabe refused to give Dr Nkomo the position of Minister of Defense which Nkomo had been hoping for. After the intervention of Sally Hayfron, Nkomo was appointed to the cabinet (as Minister without portfolio), but in 1982 was accused of plotting a coup d'état. In a public statement Mugabe said, "ZAPU and its leader, Dr Joshua Nkomo are like a cobra in a house. The only way to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head." Thereafter he unleashed the Fifth Brigade upon Dr Nkomo's Matabeleland homeland in an operation code-named Gukurahundi, killing an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 civilians [Kalanga, Venda, Nambya, Tonga, Ndebele, etc] in an attempt to destroy ZAPU and create a one-party state. Dr Nkomo fled the country. Mugabe's government claimed that he had "illegally" left dressed as a woman:

"NKOMO FLEES: ZAPU leader, Joshua Nkomo, fled in self-imposed exile to London after illegally crossing the Botswana frontier disguised as a woman on 7 March 1983, claiming that his life was in danger and that he was going to look for "solutions" to Zimbabwean problems abroad." (Government Printer, Harare 1984).

Nkomo ridiculed the suggestion that he escaped dressed as a woman, "I expected they would invent stupid theories about my flight… People will believe anything if they believe that that". He added that "… nothing in my life had prepared me for persecution at the hands of a government led by black Africans."

After the Gukurahundi Genocide, in 1987 Nkomo consented to the absorption of ZAPU into ZANU, resulting in a unified party called ZANU-PF, leaving Zimbabgwe as effectively a one-party state and leading some Ndebeles to accuse him of selling out. In the powerless post of Vice President after the 1987 agreement, the so-called Unity Accord, and with his health now failing from years of struggle and old age, Dr Nkomo's influence declined.

When he was asked late in his life why he allowed this to happen [signing the 1987 agreement], he told historian Eliakim Sibanda that he did it to stop the murder of his party supporters across Matabeleland and the Midlands and of the ZAPU politicians and organizers who had been targeted by Zimbabgwe's security forces since 1982. "Mugabe and his Shona henchmen have always sought the extermination of the Ndebele," he said.

Dr Nkomo had been an inactive member of the Missionary Church for most of his life. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1999, shortly before he died of prostate cancer on 1 July at the age of 82 in Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. He was declared a National Hero and is buried in the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Such is the story of this great son of Bukalanga. Never has a leader so great arisen, and perhaps the only giant of African politics whose stature matches that of Dr Joshua Nkomo is that of Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Others who might have been in the same league such as Kwameh Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and others have destroyed their legacies by running down their countries post independence. We certainly will never know what could have become of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo.

Even during the persecution by those he had fought side-by-side for the liberation of the country after independence, Dr Joshua Nkomo remained a level-headed politician, and indeed remains today a prick on this nation's conscience. It would not be an exaggeration for me to claim that Dr Nkomo was a man with a prophetic touch. In one of the most moving speeches ever given by a Zimbabgwean politician, Joshua Nkomo spoke strongly against the evils of injustice, corruption, inequality and the failed politics of hate and discrimination that we see highly prevalent in the country for which he sacrificed so much three decades later. In the following I want to insert a number of speeches and addresses that were delivered by Dr Nkomo in a number of forums, and through these I hope to let his voice narrate his side of the story and speak words of wisdom to this my generation.

For the last thirty years we have been fed the narration of Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's side, and through a well orchestrated propaganda machine, millions of people have come to believe that narrative. I hope that this book will once more resuscitate the voice of that great soul by telling his and ZAPU's side of the story and let it speak words of wisdom to this generation.

Source - Who is Who African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia
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