Manyani recruited by Group of 45


COMRADE Peter Paradzayi Manyani alias ‘Cde Pascal Takawira’, who passed away last week and was declared a Liberation War Hero was recruited by the now celebrated Group of 45 guerrillas who revived the armed struggle after the 1966 Chinhoyi Battle.
They were commanded by the late General Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo), and they attacked Altena Farm on December 21 1972, marking the start of the sustained armed struggle after it had faltered in 1966.
In his post-mortem of the Chinhoyi Battle, Comrade Herbert Chitepo, who was chairman of ZANU Dare reChimurenga described the calibre of men like Comrade Takawira.
He said:
“We didn’t really make much progress in those battles (Sinoia and Hartley). We got a lot of press publicity, but we didn’t really make much progress.
“We realised before very long why we hadn’t made very much progress.
“It was because there had not been a complete hug between the freedom fighters and the masses of the people in Zimbabwe.
“And, it is for that reason that during the period that followed, we concentrated on a regime of political education of the masses to get them to appreciate the goals that the struggle was aiming at.
“To be fired by the new vision of a new Zimbabwe and to participate in its realisation and to realise that the realisation of the new Zimbabwe, the new vision that we tried to sell, which we tried to inspire in their hearts could only be achieved by struggles which involved life and death.
“By armed struggle.”
It was therefore the Group of 45 guerrillas who performed the task of giving the masses political education and persuaded them to embrace the idea that the struggle for a new Zimbabwe would involve life and death.
And Comrade Takawira was one of those dedicated men who quickly embraced the possibility of death in liberation struggle. 
What that means is that Comrade Takawira’s decision to join the armed struggle was made with full awareness that there had been no survivors at Chinhoyi and the possibility of many more perishing in the same struggle was very real.
So, he was one to whom the seeming futility of the armed struggle meant nothing and he joined already resolute enough to count and accept losses.
A former guerrilla commander, once defined the gravity of deaths such as that of Comrade Takawira, in a eulogy at the funeral parade of the late Comrade Sheba Tavarwisa at Manyame Airbase.
Her notch, in the history of the armed struggle for Zimbabwe, had been cut by her having been the first woman guerrilla in the Second Chimurenga.
The guerrilla commander said: “Rufu rwegamba rwunorema segomo, asi rwembavha rwakareruka semunhenga wehuku.”   
And now, coming in the wake of the discovery of mega-salaried CEOs who invoked the selfless sacrifice of cadres like Comrade Sheba Tavarwisa as mantras to selfishly gather exclusive affluence through black empowerment legislation, Comrade Takawira’s death feels so heavy that the status of mere liberation war hero cannot sustain it.
Cuthbert Dube and his lot never understood why the likes of Cde Takawira and Tavarwisa and the others heed Chitepo’s calling that:
“The ultimate goal even in economic terms is the abolition of systems of exploitation.
“That means, all faces of the capitalist structure of society in Rhodesia.
“We don’t merely seek a so-called rough change in society in Zimbabwe.
“We are seeking what we sometimes describe as a systemic change.
“We want to change the whole system.
“We want revolution.
“By revolution, we understand a turning of the wheel. 
“We want to turn it right over.
“To get an entirely new society based on no exploitation, true equality and true justice for all.
“It is this vision which our people have been fired with … so fired with that vision they have been prepared to take up arms to fight against the regime that oppresses them, in the hope and for the purpose of establishing a new Zimbabwe, a new country, a new justice, a new economic system, a new society.”
Cuthbert Dube and his lot’s actions said something completely opposite: “We don’t hate the Rhodesian system of exploitation.
“We simply want to be the ones exploiting our own kith and kin.
“We want to join racists like Mike Campbell in exploiting our own.”
And, what this means is that Comrade Takawira’s death, and perhaps more importantly, by allusion, Comrade Sheba Tavarwisa’s death, call upon the nation to re-define the national hero narrative, so that it is also possible to pick up those ravaged by post-revolution hazards and judge them according to their loyalty to the struggle, even in destitution.
It is my sincere wish that Comrade Takawira’s soul rests in peace.


  1. Is it true that there was no survivor in the battle of Chinhoyi? My information is different. Was there not a survivor who got arrested, missed being hanged but was sentenced to 15 years in jail?


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