Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Prominent activist Dewa Mavhinga dies of Covid-19 in South Africa

Prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist Dewa Mavhinga who was the Southern Africa director for Human Rights Watch (HRW) has died from Covid-19 complications in South Africa, friends have confirmed to Nehanda Radio.

Although more information continues to trickle in we understand he travelled from the UK to South Africa and was not feeling well.

Prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist Dewa Mavhinga seen here with his wife
Prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist Dewa Mavhinga seen here with his wife Fiona.

In South Africa he was admitted to hospital on Monday with confirmation he had Covid-19. He was then released around Thursday with the feeling he was on the path to recovery. It would appear he died between Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to a source who spoke to Nehanda Radio.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) tweeted; “Our beloved colleague, Dewa Mavhinga, passed away suddenly overnight. He had just returned to Johannesburg after a research mission in Zimbabwe. We are heartbroken and devastated by the news. Our priority right now is to support his family.”

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The organisation’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth also tweeted: “An enormous setback for @HRW and the human rights movement: we mourn the loss of Dewa Mavhinga, a deeply empathetic and highly effective human rights activist whose work made many people’s lives better, in Zimbabwe and throughout Southern Africa.

Mavhinga was a thorn in the side of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime and came in for constant attacks for exposing the human rights situation in the country.

Friend and colleague Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya paid tribute saying; “In life there are real friends, top notch friends. You were one among such important friends. Wandirwadza Dewa. RIP my brother.”

Pressure group Team Pachedu said “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing on of @DewaMavhinga who has always been on the forefront fighting for human rights and democracy. Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. MHSRIP”

Former cabinet minister Savior Kasukuwere wrote: “A great Zimbabwean Dewa Mavhinga has gone. Painful and distressing. A fair and committed human rights fighter, full of integrity and passionate about his country. Rest in Peace.”

Journalist Peter Ndoro from the SABC wrote; “So sad to hear of the passing of Southern Africa Director with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga. He was a real champion of human rights. So often a commentator on SABC News highlighting the plight of so many in need. May His soul Rest In Peace!🕯”

MDC Alliance Treasurer General David Coltart wrote; “I am very saddened to hear that Dewa Mavhinga has died, apparently of #Covid in South Africa. He was a great champion for the protection of human rights. My condolences are extended to his family and friends.”

Prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono paid tribute saying; “I am gutted to hear that @dewamavhinga has passed on. He was a great advocate for human rights in Zimbabwe and beyond. A gentle giant who was always there for anyone who was facing political persecution. You did so much brother for all of us. May your soul Rest In Peace!” Nehanda Radio