The tragic elevation to glory of Former ZIPRA Commander Abraham Dumezweni Nkiwane once again reminds us that African liberation memory is increasingly becoming vulnerable as every day goes by.
With many of his kind slowly departing the earth, the nation and the entire pan-African fraternity is being robbed of its historical sense of being. While this sends shock and sadness, our relief remains deeply rooted in the prominent liberation legacy which will be indelibly immortalised by the independence of our nation.
As such, we celebrate him as his departed spirit will continue to guide the fight against colonialism in all its manifestations.
Cde Abraham Nkiwane was a pathfinder to the forever cherished objectives of Zimbabwe’s anti-colonial struggle. His ambition for Zimbabwe’s independence motivated many of my time and others who went ahead of us to join the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA).
By 1961 Nkiwane was privileged to be under the direct ideological tutelage of the late pan-Africanist, President of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and founding father of Zambia, the late Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
He served UNIP right up to his early involvement in the operationalisation of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU)’s activities when it opened its offices in Lusaka.
It will be recalled that as early as 1962 Cde Nkiwane alongside the late Misheck Velaphi Ncube and Kennias Mlalazi initiated the entry of the first set of arms which pioneered the ZPRA rooted revolt against the settler regime.
This inaugural pledge to the making of our independence by Cde Nkiwane and others produced the unequivocal triumph of the nationalist movement against the illegitimate Rhodesian state.
The present success of the liberation movement in Zimbabwe and the region is indebted to individuals like Cde Nkiwane and many pan-African minded cadres of his time.
In 1965 Bra Nkie (as we affectionately called him) served as the Chief of Personnel and Training in the ZPRA Special Affairs High Command. When I joined the struggle in 1967, the late hero served ZPRA alongside decorated high command members like Retired Col Tshinga Dube, late Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, Ackim Ndlovu, Robson Manyika, Gibson Mayisa, Arnold Gombakomba, Phelekezela Report Mphoko and Ambrose Mutinhiri.
From time to time, the late liberation stalwart was always in transit between Zambia, Angola, Tanzania and other nations which served as sanctuaries for ZPRA and ZAPU’s business.
As he rests, the nation must be reminded that Cde Nkiwane remains a template of true commitment to the nation. He is a symbol of ultimate sacrifice and a foot soldier of the decolonisation project. May his soul rest in eternal peace.