Philemon Mutedzi Special Correspondent—
Saturday, June 23 2018, was a Black Saturday for Zimbabwe. It was the day that an attempt was made on President Mnangagwa’s life. A bomb was thrown at the President’s entourage as he left the VIP podium after a well-attended campaign rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
The atmosphere was electric, while the hit song by Jah Prayzah, “Kutonga Kwaro”, was being belted out. The bomb turned that ecstatic moment into a frightening sombre spectacle. Cde Nelson Dube, who was providing VVIP protection for the President, was among those injured in the bomb attack.
He was taken to Mpilo Hospital, where he later succumbed to injuries sustained during the bomb attack on June 25 2018. Due to the nature of his job as an intelligence officer charged with protecting the President, he was an unsung hero. Many a people from all walks of life have been mourning this unknown hero, but keen to know who Cde Nelson Dube, nom de guerre, Cde Shingirai Tichazvipedza, was.
Cde Dube was a veteran of the liberation struggle, a distinguished patriot, a family man and a farmer. He was born on January 1 1961 in Mwenezi District, Masvingo Province. He attended Zvirikure Primary School from 1968 to 1972 (Grade 1 to 5) and Rata Primary School in 1973 (Grade 6). He dropped out of school in 1974 due to illness before going back to school to complete his Grade 7 in 1975. He enrolled at Lundi Secondary School in Masvingo in 1976.
Moved by colonial repression, Cde Dube dropped out of school to join the liberation struggle under the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA) in 1976. He was 15-years-old. He left for Mozambique on foot and briefly stayed at Mapai Base in that country. In early 1977, he was transferred to Xaixai Base under Commander Ndoda. After receiving ideological orientation at Xaixai, he later received initial military training at Chimoio in 1978.
Fortunately for him, unlike the Black Saturday bombing, Cde Dube was one of the survivors of the Chimoio attack by Rhodesian Forces in 1978. He was transferred to Doroi Camp following the attack before returning to Chimoio Base 2. In 1979, he went for further military training in Libya, and was subsequently deployed to Samakweza Camp in January 1980. During demobilisation, he was sent to Tongogara Assembly Point in Mutoko. As a result of his sterling liberation war record, Cde Dube was conferred with a bronze medal in post-independence Zimbabwe.
In April 1981, Cde Dube joined the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) as a corporal, a rank he held until his resignation in May 1983. As a young man who dropped out of school to join the liberation struggle, Cde Dube resumed his education in June 1983 before completing his Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC) in 1984, and later completing his O-Levels through correspondence.
As a cadre and patriot who found joy and pride in serving his country, Cde Dube joined the President’s Department on September 9 1985 as a Security Aide II under the auspices of the Security Branch. Following his attestation and initial training, he was assigned to perform general protection duties. As a result of his diligence, dedication to duty and hard work, Cde Dube was promoted to the rank of Security Aide I on July 1 1990. He was further promoted to the rank of Senior Security Aide on July 1 1995.
As a result of his zeal and commitment to duty, Cde Dube was seconded to the VVIP Protection Unit, where he joined the Main Section which is charged with protecting the Head of State. As a trained liberation cadre, Cde Dube excelled in his duties and was promoted to the rank of Principal Chief Security Aide on September 1 2002.
In 2007, Cde Dube was deployed as part of a special operation to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2008, upon his return from the DRC, he was reassigned to the Main Section. Given that his conduct was beyond reproach, he was promoted to the rank of Chief Security Aide and appointed deputy shift leader responsible for advance survey duties.
Recognising Cde Dube’s craft competence, the organisation promoted him to the rank of Senior Chief Security Aide on January 1 2014 and appointed him Shift Leader responsible for coordinating daily protection duties for the Head of State.
Although Cde Dube dropped out of school to join the liberation struggle, and subsequently completed his ZJC and O-Levels, he did not stop there. He later attained a Certificate in Accounting and Certificate in Business Law in preparation for his retire- ment.
Recognising that the protracted liberation war was fought and won to reclaim the land that had been expropriated by the white minority regime, Cde Dube applied and was allocated land to farm at Mbizi Farm, Sub-Division A, Featherstone in Chivhu. He was an accomplished farmer, who fully utilised the land he was allocated
Cde Dube was a family man. He is survived by a wife, Emilia Dube, three children – two boys, Simbarashe (28) and Tatenda (25) – and the last born, Tinaye (19) – a girl.
Cde Dube was buried at his farm in Featherstone yesterday.
Cde Dube lived his life to the fullest, from the liberation war to post-independent Zimbabwe. Like his non de guerre Shingirirai, he persevered.
His war surname, Tichazvipedza, predicted that Zimbabwe would end white oppression, and true to his name, Cde Dube finished the job, together with many liberation war heroes and hero-ines.
He went a step further, and served his country with commendable distinction. It remains a story to be told what would have happened had brave officers such as Cde Dube were not present on Black Saturday.
What we know is that Cde Dube died protecting President Mnangagwa and serving his country.
Go well son of the soil. Go well Qhawe lamaQhawe, Gamba remaGamba.