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Chief Maduna dies

One of the country’s longest-serving traditional leaders, Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu of Filabusi, died yesterday at his Avoca homestead in Filabusi (Insiza), Matabeleland South province.

Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu of Filabusia (right) seen here with former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko
Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu of Filabusia (right) seen here with former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

He was 86. His son Mr. Talent Mafu told our Bulawayo Bureau that Chief Maduna had been recovering from a stroke he suffered in 2019.

“As a family, we are in pain following the passing on of our father and elder,” said Mr. Mafu.

“He has been a pillar of strength to us, giving us guidance in all that we do.

“For us to be where we are today, it is honestly because of him.

“Regarding burial arrangements, nothing concrete has been agreed on, for now we have been informing relatives and the community on the Chief’s passing on, after that we will then meet and decide on the burial arrangements.”

Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs (ZCC) president Chief Fortune Charumbira described the late Chief Maduna as an icon and embodiment to traditional leadership.

“Chief Maduna was a true culturalist who practiced culture to the deepest of levels, even his people knew that he was an advocate for all cultural norms and values,” said Chief Charumbira.

“I remember he had a yearly traditional ceremony where he also invited us as fellow traditional leaders, where he would exhibit some of these norms and values.

“He was not only an icon in terms of traditional leadership but he was also a liberation war icon who actively participated in the liberation struggle under the Zipra wing; that is how much of a leader he was.”

ZCC vice president Chief Mtshane Khumalo said Chief Maduna was a foundation of wisdom.

“Chief Maduna was one of the few chiefs in the country who had stayed a long time as a traditional leader,” said Chief Khumalo.

“He provided a shed to the region and the nation as a whole; now that we have lost that shed, we are honestly at a loss.

“One thing about Chief Maduna is that he was always available to give us guidance as younger chiefs, directing us on issues to do with tradition and basic leadership issues.”

Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Abednico Ncube said the province and the nation as a whole was grieving.

“I just received the news on the Chief’s passing on and we are really in pain as Chief Maduna was our father and leader.

“As Matabeleland South, we have lost a senior leader and are at a loss of words on who we will turn to now that our father has rested,” said Minister Ncube.

Before Independence, Chief Maduna was detained for years for his involvement in the nationalist movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

During the Pearce Commission of 1972, which was an attempt by both the British and Ian Smith to legitimise Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, Chief Maduna led his people in Insiza District to reject the commission.

His political activities led to the Rhodesian government arresting and detaining him in 1976, where he spent most of his time in solitary confinement and was only released during the ceasefire period.

In 1981, he was elected a Zapu councillor and became the first chairperson of the Insiza Rural District Council.

Chief Maduna was also elected the party’s vice chairperson for Matabeleland South Provincial Authority.

In 1984 at the PF-Zapu Congress he was elected into the Central Committee and was to remain a member of the Central Committee until the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu and PF-Zapu in December 1987.

After the uniting of the two liberation movements, Chief Maduna served the party in various capacities, including being a Member of Parliament.

In one of his last interviews with our Bulawayo Bureau, Chief Maduna said he was happy with the progress being made by the Second Republic to uplift the lives of the ordinary people.

“I support the Government of President Mnangagwa, the problem is that maybe I am too accommodative, people of different political persuasions visit me here at my home,” he said.

“When they leave they go and make political capital out of meeting me.” The Sunday Mail