THE late veteran nationalist Cde Cephas Mangwana, who passed away on January 31 after battling a heart ailment has been declared a provincial hero.
This comes after Masvingo Province had requested the revolutionary party to grant hero status to the late Cde Mangwana, who was among the pioneering nationalists in the country. In a letter to Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Ezra Chadzamira said Cde Mangwana served his country patriotically without fear or hesitation.
“He is a veteran nationalist who is also fondly remembered for exhibiting unwavering and constituent dedication to nationalist politics, the liberation struggle and the nation.
“Cde Mangwana was instrumental in coordinating political activities in Highfields mobilising and recruiting African youths to join the NDP rank and file. He served that post diligently until the banning of the NDP. ZAPU was formed in 1961 and he automatically became an active member participating in redefining the political approach from that of addressing workers’ grievances to advocating for majority rule” read the letter of request in part. The late Cde Mangwana was arrested for his political activities as the Ian Smith regime sought to clampdown on political activities in the country that was heating up in the early 1960s. After release on bail, Zapu organised for him to skip the country and join fellow comrades who were fighting the liberation struggle at the rear.
“He was smuggled out of the country disguised as a parcel into Zambia en-route to Tanzania. In Tanzania, he met Cde Hebert Chitepo and other leaders who got charmed by his commitment and impressed by his intellect. It was in Tanzania that he met His Excellency President Mnangagwa who had returned from training in Egypt. Cde Mangwana was nominated together with the late Kombo Moyana (former first Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor) to go to the United States of America for further studies. He dutifully ascended to the call to acquire knowledge that would later help immensely in the execution of the struggle.”
During his time in exile, Cde Mangwana helped to bring visibility of the Zimbabwean struggle for independence through addressing various fora in a quest to mobilise resources.
He also became the point person for many Zanu leaders visiting Ethiopia, facilitating the transit of comrades going for military training to other destinations such as Romania and Yugoslavia. He also provided hospitality to comrades undergoing training in aviation, telecommunications and other trades.
The late Cde Mangwana was born on 17 September 1940 in Mangwana Village, Chivi District in Masvingo Province. He did Sub A to Standard 3 at Mangwana Primary School and Standard 4 to Standard 6.
In 1957, young Cephas went to Highfields in Harare, then Salisbury, in search for employment. He got a job at an organisation called the Textile Union of Rhodesia. During those days, African politics in Rhodesia was manifest through the emergence of trade unionism.
This is where Cde Cephas Mangwana’s destiny with politics converged. The nature of his job got him actively involved in politics. He represented the rights of undermined African workers in the expanding racially oppressive textile industry. Whilst serving as a workers’ advocate, the National Democratic Party (NDP) was formed. Cde Mangwana became one of its first members landing an influential post by becoming its Youth League Vice Chairman deputising the late Cde Enos Chikore.
After independence, the late veteran nationalist left his lucrative job at the United Nations in Ethiopia to join the civil service until retirement in 2003, he is survived by wife Patricia, four children and grandchildren.