President Mugabe has paid tribute to former Cabinet Minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Nathan Shamuyarira, who died in Harare on Wednesday evening, saying he distinguished himself professionally and politically. Cde Shamuyarira died aged 85 at West End Hospital. “I learnt with deep grief and sadness of the death last (Wednesday) night of Cde Nathan Shamuyarira at West End Hospital,” he said in a statement.
“Although Cde Shamuyarira had been unwell for quite sometime, we still hoped he would be with us a little longer. Sadly, this was not to be, as he breathed his last yesterday (Wednesday).”
The President said Cde Shamuyarira’s professional and political career dovetailed with important moments in Zimbabwe’s history.
“Initially a teacher like most educated black Rhodesians were wont to be in those difficult and limiting colonial years, Nathan, along a handful of others, etched new professional direction in the media industry through the then white-owned liberal Daily News, a paper he eventually edited,” said the President.
He said alongside his predecessors at African Newspapers Ltd — Jasper Savanhu, Masotsha Mike Hove, Lawrence Vambe and Kingsley Savanhu — Cde Shamuyarira personified new possibilities in the careers of indigenous people.
“Their appointment, rare at the time, bespoke of compulsive intellect which the dominant white supremacist ethos of his time could not ignore and with which it had to come to terms,” said President Mugabe.
“Indeed his scholarly cast would see him excel academically at the United States of America’s Princeton University where he acquired a doctorate in 1967.
“Again, this was another rare achievement in those dark Rhodesian days, indeed a demonstrative assertion of African intellect in a dispensation of negative colonial profiling.”
President Mugabe said like many educated Africans of the time, Cde Shamuyarira was initially hesitant to enter politics.
“Yes, like most of his peers, he needed persistent cajoling to jump into the political fray, a role so ably played by the late national hero Dr Samuel Parirenyatwa, who persuaded him to join national politics.
“Unlike most of his peers at the African Newspaper group who ended up being ‘black members of white establishment’ to use Cde Shamuyarira’s words, he himself threw his lot with the nationalist struggle.”
President Mugabe said Cde Shamuyarira never looked back once consciousness caught on with him, with his seminal book “Crisis in Rhodesia”, published in 1965, indicative of his sharp mind and nationalist drive.
“His career as a lecturer in various parts of the world, principally at the renowned University of Dar-es-Salaam was always interspersed with commitments to the struggle, initially under Zapu, then under Zanu, and then under the breakaway Frolizi led by the late James Chikerema,” he said.
“Later and through my personal persuasion, Nathan would rejoin Zanu, subsequently relocating to Mozambique where, alongside other leading cadres, he directed the propaganda thrust of our armed struggle.”
President Mugabe said Cde Shamuyarira would be remembered for his role in building a modern information and media industry in Zimbabwe.
“His contribution to that sector, both under the party and in Government, both by way of building information and book structures, and by way of providing editorial direction, shall always rank foremost in his overall legacy to our country,” he said.