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Zimbabwe: Heroine Ngwenya Epitome of Humility - Zimbabwe Today
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Zimbabwe: Heroine Ngwenya Epitome of Humility


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By Zvamaida Murwira and Joseph Madzimure
The late national heroine Cde Jane Lungile Ngwenya was buried yesterday at the National Heroes Acre with friends and relatives describing her as an epitome of humility.

President Mnangagwa, who presided over the ceremony, presented Cde Ngwenya’s son Shingirayi with the Grand Commander of Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award which she was set to be conferred with on Heroes Day.

Cde Ngwenya was one of those people who were due to get awards at the recent investiture ceremony held alongside the Heroes Day commemorations, but died before she could do so.

It was her son, Shingirayi Victor Ngwenya, who was eventually presented with the award and the Zimbabwean flag by President Mnangagwa during his mother’s burial at the national shrine.

A few people physically attended the burial owing to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings to minimise the spread, but thousands more followed proceedings on several virtual platforms.

Proceedings started mid-morning yesterday with the arrival of dignitaries at the National Heroes Acre who included service chiefs, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and then the hearse.

President Mnangagwa’s arrival signalled the official commencement of the event. Cde Ngwenya’s nephew, Mr Shelton Bonde, delivered a speech on behalf of the family and described her aunt as humble.

“I regarded her as my mother,” he said. “She gave guidance to us, I was very close to her. Her favourite food was traditional food.”

President Mnangagwa delivered his keynote address where he reminisced his interaction with Cde Ngwenya each time he visited Bulawayo. He said Cde Ngwenya would visit him at the Bulawayo State House during his engagements in that city.

President Mnangagwa chronicled her history, saying she turned down a scholarship to study law in Canada because of her determination to fight white oppression.

During her burial, a 17-gun salute was fired by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as a way of respecting the national heroine.

One of her closest colleagues, Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, said she worked closely with Cde Ngwenya during the liberation struggle and described her as a principled cadre.

In an interview, Dr Nyoni said Cde Ngwenya dedicated her life to liberate the country.

She said Cde Ngwenya was someone who was calculative in making decisions and remained humble up to the time of her death.

Dr Nyoni said the late heroine left behind a rich and inspiring legacy, especially in addressing gender balance.

“She taught us that being a leader does not mean you stop being yourself,” she said.

“You must remain yourself, it doesn’t matter how high you rise. This is what we learnt from the late national heroine Jane Ngwenya.

“She has always been a person who nurtured people. If you are a singer, remain a singer. Do not leave the gift that God gave you because you are now a leader. Be yourselves. Share what you have with other people.”

Dr Nyoni said there was need to promote gender equality to fulfil the aspirations of the late national heroine.

“It is very difficult for women to enter into politics today,” she said.

“It was difficult then and it has always been difficult, but it is more difficult now because men are using resources to get support which women do not have.”

Dr Nyoni called for adherence to the law on promoting gender balance in politics.

“We are saying the constitution is saying 50-50, so as the Minister of Women Affairs together with the (Zimbabwe) Gender Commission and also the Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, we are calling upon all political parties to adhere to the constitution,” she said.

“But as the political parties, let us also embrace the young women that come up to keep the legacy of the late national heroine. We are here to receive them; we are here to mentor them.”

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