President Robert Mugabe has sent condolence messages following the death of Mbuya Maud Muzenda and Cde George Rutanhire.
To the Muzenda family, President Mugabe said he has learnt with deep sadness of the death of Mbuya Muzenda, wife of the late Vice President, Dr Simon Muzenda.
“An epitome of African motherhood, Mbuya Muzenda stands tall as a symbol of the triumph of motherly femininity over adversities imposed on the African family unit by demands of the country’s struggle against settler colonialism,” he said.
Cde Mugabe said betrothed to a fierce nationalist and freedom fighter in the mould of the late Vice President, Mbuya Muzenda was, for a long time, left to raise the Muzenda family without support from her husband who would either be operating underground or would be languishing in prison inside the then Rhodesia.
He said once freed, the late Vice President went into exile, leaving Mbuya Muzenda to shoulder the burden of raising the family single-handedly.
“Ambuya Muzenda bore unaided the brunt of parenthood, itself no easy role given the broad socio-economic pressures faced by African families surviving under settler colonial conditions and of course the direct political hostilities and open harassment to which families of nationalists were subjected by the racist regime,” said Cde Mugabe.
The President said despite this, Mbuya Muzenda held firm as the sole head of the family, above all still playing her part in supporting the greater cause of the country’s liberation struggle.
The President added that Mbuya Muzenda like most mothers, bore children for the struggle, even losing one of them in one of the many bombings in camps in Mozambique by the racist Rhodesian regime.
Cde Mugabe said as Zimbabwe mourns Mbuya Muzenda’s sad departure, the country recognizes and celebrates this exemplary family’s given-ness to the national cause.
Cde Mugabe further said Mmbuya Muzenda’s death comes barely a week after Zimbabwe laid to rest another heroine, Cde Shuvai Mahofa and just a few days after the sad departure of Cde George Rutanhire, himself ‘a giant of Zimbabwe’s struggle.’
President Mugabe also spoke highly of Cde Rutanhire’s commitment to the national cause that he abandoned his role of a catechist in the Roman Catholic Church for the struggle in the early 1970s and did so together with his newly- wedded wife, Cde Susan, who survives him.
“It therefore comes as no surprise that the nation has honoured Cde Rutanhire by according him the status of a national hero, an honour he more than deserved,” Cde Mugabe said.
The President said it has been a very difficult month for the nation, but Zimbabweans must all remain strong and united.