makonese.jpgIn our heroes feature, we profile the life of a cadre who became the first Zimbabwean to hold a degree in oil engineering and whose resolve to free Zimbabwe was never shaken – Cde Philemon Takurayi Makonese.


Cde Makonese was born on November 11, 1935 in Zaka District Masvingo province.


He first became involved in politics while he was teaching and was dismissed from the profession on allegations of politicising studies.


He then moved into the banking sector and worked for a local bank, but again, on allegations of politicising the banking sector, he was fired.


In reaction to his experience as an employee, Cde Makonese joined the African National Congress of Southern Rhodesia in Gweru in 1958.


After joining the National Democratic Party’s youth wing, he became one of the first youths to volunteer for military training abroad in 1960.


He then traveled to Zambia to join other nationalists who included Cde James Chikerema, Cde George Nyandoro, Cde Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Cde George Silundika and other ZAPU members.


From Zambia, he proceeded to Tanzania, then to China for military training.


In 1961, Cde Makonese went to the then USSR on a scholarship to study oil engineering and he graduated with a Master of Science Degree in oil engineering in 1967.


Upon attaining his degree, he travelled to Egypt as Zapu deputy representative, laying the foundation of the cordial and mutual diplomatic relations that Zimbabwe and Egypt enjoy today.


In 1972 he returned to Zapu headquarters in Zambia and became responsible for the party organization throughout Zambia.


At the People’s Congress of 1975, Cde Makonese was elected secretary of Welfare, Culture and Sports.


Cde Makonese was also a member of ZAPU revolutionary council as the national executive council.


He died from injuries he sustained in a car accident that occurred in Lusaka, Zambia, on December 2, 1979, and his remains were reburied at the national heroes’ acre.