Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Obituary: Farewell “Man of Letters” leader Innocent Kurwa

By Swithern Chirowodza

Veteran journalist, Innocent Kurwa who was involved in a road traffic accident at Leopold Takawira Avenue near Bulawayo’s United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) on the evening of Saturday April 24, 2021 died of traumatic shock on the morning of Sunday April 25, 2021 at UBH.

Innocent Kurwa was widely respected by journalism peers
Innocent Kurwa was widely respected by journalism peers

Born 5 October 1957, Kurwa, a man of letters, held MSc Mathematics, MBA (UZ), MSc MDS, BSc Economics (UZ), BA Media Studies (Rhodes) degrees.

Kurwa was widely respected by journalism peers. While some called the man of letters “a reservoir of knowledge,” others titled him an “Elder Statesman of the Media Profession”.

A disciplined, principled and good communicator, Kurwa was an unpaid Communications Officer of Zimbabwe’s Catholic Church, a member of the Pastoral Council, a member of the Social Communications Committee and worked among the Group of Men of Basilica.

At some point in time Kurwa was a chairman of the Catholic Commission for Justice & Peace, which was disliked by both Rhodesia and Robert Mugabe’s genocidal Zanu PF government.

The jaguar that veered off into Kurwa's lane
The jaguar that veered off into Kurwa’s lane

Kurwa worked for the Catholic-owned Moto Magazine, which was famous for being an anti-colonial pamphlet. A hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, the Moto Magazine was known for its hot chilli flavour against Rhodesia’s tyranny. Then led by Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith Rhodesia replied to the magazine’s editorial policy by bombing its printing press in January 1980.

An important reminder is that a few years before the bombing, Rhodesia had convicted Roman Catholic Bishop Donal Lamont for allowing nuns to give medical treatment to freedom fighters. Bishop Lamont, who was suspected to be one of the editors of the Motto Magazine was later stripped of his Rhodesian citizenship and deported to England. His real crime was fighting Rhodesia’s drive to create an apartheid state.

While working for the Motto Magazine, Kurwa also worked for the Chronicle where he rose to become Sports Editor. He remains one of few surviving journalists to have worked for the Chronicle before and after independence.

Decades into Zimbabwe’s independence, Kurwa worked as Operations Manager for the Daily News – the flagship of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe company from its inception. Like the Moto Magazine, which was deemed too critical of Rhodesia, former president Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF government also found the Daily News too hot to handle.

Like the Motto Magazine, which was bombed in January 1980, the Daily News was also bombed on January 29, 2001.

Analysts suggested that the Daily News print press may have been hit by an anti-tank mine.

A long time fan of Zimbabwe Saints Football Club, Kurwa was said to be in favour of share ownership as a way of allowing the club’s existence to transcend generations. That Zimbabwe Saints Football Club is being revived to play football, after more than a decade in the doldrums, shows that Kurwa’s idea of share ownership had stronger opponents back then.

Kurwa’s love for Zimbabwe Saints Football Club was punctuated by the former Chairman of Highlanders Football Club, Roger Muhlwa in his eulogy delivered to grieving congregants at the Catholic Cathedral in Bulawayo on Saturday May 1, 2021.

“Innocent Kurwa loved Zimbabwe Saints and Zimbabwe Saints loved Innocent Kurwa,” said Muhlwa.

After his successful profession as a journalist, Kurwa joined the Movement for Democratic Change where he rose through the ranks to become a member of Bulawayo’s Provincial Executive Council responsible for Industry and Commerce.

MDC Alliance Bulawayo East District Chairman, Ndodana Mazilankatha says “due to his vision, intelligence and good working relationship the District elevated Kurwa to the Province ”.

A cheerful, friendly, humble, unifier, resolute, consistent and enterprising comrade, Kurwa looked forward to a new Zimbabwe without the hazardous dictatorship that calls itself the “new dispensation”.

He is survived by four children: Felistus (40), Tendai (34), Tariro (32), Tapiwa (30) and three grandchildren: namely Munotida (13), Victoria (12) and Anesu (7).


Swithern Chirowodza is the MDC Alliance Bulawayo Provincial Spokesman