Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo’s love child speaks
By Nozipho Ncube and Rutendo Karuva
An over protective mother kept her daughter from having a relationship with her father the late struggle icon Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo.
Now 63 years old, Julia Mukunze only has brief memories about her father to talk about and so she’s that unnoticed child in the family.
Born in 1953 when Father Zimbabwe was the Secretary General of the Rhodesian Railways African Employees and president of African National Congress (of Southern Rhodesia), she fell sick at the age of nine in 1962. That’s when she was told who her father was.
“I fell sick when I was very young, no one could tell what was wrong with me then. When my condition got worse my mother decided to tell me that my real surname was Nkomo and my father was Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo,” she told B-Metro from her homestead at Nhlekiyana village in Esigodini.
Knowing the truth saved her life.
Before marriage she used her stepfather’s surname Moyo to secure a birth certificate and identity card.
Despite knowing who her father was, her mother Bebi Ngwenya (deceased) didn’t want her getting to know her Nkomo relatives. But she defied her.
“I always wanted to see my father but my mother tried by all means to stop me. She said it wasn’t a good idea but I kept insisting. I went to look for him and Mam’ uMaFuyane (Johanna Fuyane) told me that he was working out of the country,” she added.
Julia’s wish was granted in 1979. That was the first time she saw her father who didn’t know her.
“I didn’t give up on trying to meet my father. One day when I was sitting at home in Old Magwegwe, I heard an announcement that he would address a rally at White City Stadium. That was the best news I had ever heard. God had finally answered my prayers, “ she said.
With no clearance she just stood in the crowd with thousands that came to see the legend. Luck smiled at her by chance.
“Mam’MaFuyane identified me from a crowd because I was standing in front. After the rally he approached and hugged me. He had been told about my existence by his wife,” she said.
After that first encounter she got to know her father as he would from time to time visit her. But because of his busy schedule, it was brief moments.
Julia only met her other siblings in 2008, almost a decade after the death of their father.
“Sibangilizwe (brother) got so emotional when he first saw me. He looked at this picture (Mqabuko) and looked at me. He couldn’t help but start crying. He said I looked so much like our father,” she said.
Since then she has had more interactions with her younger brother and sisters.
“They visit me occasionally. They even support me financially whenever they can,” she said.
Sadly she doesn’t have children of her own.
Sibangilizwe confirmed that Julia was his sister.
“We communicate and visit each other. She’s my sister,” he said. B Metro