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A Forgotten Heroine

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Harare, January 22, 2010 – The widow of the late veteran nationalist, Leopold Takawira who died last week and buried at the national Heroes Acre this week died in abject poverty, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Thursday.

The Morgan Tsvangirai MDC’s chairlady of the women’s assembly, Hilda Sibanda, said Mrs Takawira had lived a poor life despite her immense contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe.

Little was known of the late Takawira’s widow until her death when she was declared a national heroine by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party. MDC has now included the issue of choosing heroes on the list of outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
 
“…She is one of the forgotten heroines of the Zimbabwean struggle who was conveniently given a heroine status as a last resort,” said Sibanda. “ It is sad that this gallant fighter’s attributes, courage and dedication to the struggle for Zimbabwe would be totally forgotten until after her last breath. We know for certain that she lived a poor life and she died in abject poverty.”

Sibanda said that despite Takawira’s advanced age she had no passport and had to use an emergency travelling document to seek medical attention in neighbouring countries, adding that at one time she was denied entry at the border.

“It does not augur well to eulogise the dead at their grave side when we could not do the same when they were still living.”

Takawira’s late husband, Leopold, died in a Rhodesian prison in 1970 during Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle that brought about the country’s independence in 1980.  He was the vice president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), second to the late Herbert Chitepo who was later assassinated in Lusaka in 1975.

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