By Tendai Kamhungira
The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, is today holding a memorial lecture in memory of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo — who died in 1999 aged 82.
The liberation icon, who is also known as Father Zimbabwe was born on June 7, 1917. He is the founder of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) and would have turned 100 years old this year.
He died after a long battle with prostate cancer and is one of the country’s revered nationalists.
According to the memorial programme, the current Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) leader Christopher Mutsvangwa and businessman James Makamba, are going to be some of the speakers at the event.
Some of the people that will also grace the occasion are Bigtime Strategic Group founder Justice Maphosa, veteran journalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, chairman of the Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement Trust Sibangilizwe Nkomo and Zimbabwe Ambassador to South Africa Isaac Moyo.
The memorial lecture themed Nkomo@100, a reflection on ethical leadership, is a one-day event in a three-part series in honour of Nkomo, who was affectionately known as Umdala Wethu and Father Zimbabwe.
Nkomo was largely seen as a uniting force among Zimbabweans.
One of the country’s founding fathers, Nkomo became the vice president in 1988, after signing the Unity Accord with President Robert Mugabe in 1987, in a peace agreement which united Zapu and Zanu to form Zanu PF.
The memorial lecture is part of three-part programme that includes lectures at Wits University, Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic in Gwanda and Oxford University in London.
According to the organisers of the event, the speakers will touch on several topics that include democracy, human rights, leadership renewal, national healing and youth participation.
The organisers said among others: “The purposes of this series of public lectures include the following — to explore the power and content of the Joshua Nkomo brand and the trans-generational impact of his leadership and its relevance to modern day and future Zimbabwe, especially given the challenges of the post-colonial developmental State.” Daily News