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Introducing The Late Sithole's

Early Life

Sithole was born on 21 July 1920 in the rural area of Nyamandlovhu, Rhodesia (nowZimbabwe).

He was the oldest of 9 children of Jim Chandiwana Sithole from Chipinge and SiyapiTshuma from Nyamandlovhu, both districts in Zimbabwe.

At 15, he was admitted to Dadaya Mission, a New Zealand Church of Christ School run by Garfield and Grace Todd, who recognized his intelligence and sponsored his education. Garfield Todd was later to become Prime Minister of Rhodesia between
1953 and 1958.

Life & Legacy

Midlife

After completing his studies at Dadaya Mission, Sithole undertook teacher's training at Waddilove (Methodist) Mission School in the late 1940s, following which he taught at Tegwane Mission (Methodist), before he returned to Dadaya Mission, then Ngezi Mission (African Reformed Church).

While at Ngezi Mission, he pursued private studies which resulted in his obtaining a B.A. degree by correspondence from the University of South Africa. He also began writing books during this period.

In 1953, Sithole and family moved to Mount Selinda Mission (United Church of Christ) in Chipinge, where he continued to teach and was also a lay preacher.

The community subsequently recommended him for theological training at Newton Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts, USA, a graduate school and theological seminary affilitated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. Today, the school is part of Yale University.

The Reverend

Reverend Sithole returned to Rhodesia in 1957 as ordained Reverend and became headmaster of Chikoore (United Church of Christ) Mission, in Chipinge, and in 1959 he was elected President of the Rhodesia African Teacher's Association.

The Writer

In 1956, Reverend Sithole published “Umvukela wamaNdebele” his first book in a native African language. It told the story of two wars the Ndebeles fought against the colonizers in 1893 and 1896, and, how their leader Lobengula evaded capture in defeat. Umvukela told a story of humanity, compassion and unity abundant amongst the Ndebele. Later in 1959, Reverend Sithole published "African Nationalism" which propagated his views on African liberation and that each post-independent African nation-state ought to define ‘maximum political satisfaction’ for itself using the experience and the resources at its disposal. In his own words “No independent country should dance to the tune of another country – African or non-African”.

In his lifetime Reverend Sithole published 12 books and booklets whose titles also include: “Letters from Salisbury Prison”, “Obed Mutezo: The Mudzimu Christian Nationalist”, “Roots of a Revolution”, “Frelimo Militant: The Story of Ingwane from Mozambique, An Ordinary Yet Extraordinary Man, Awakened”, “The Secret of America’s Success: Africa’s Great Hope”, “Hammer and Sickle Over Africa”, “New Zimbabwe”, a “New Social Order for Zimbabwe” and a “New Political Order for Zimbabwe”.

The Nationalist

In 1960, Reverend Sithole was elected Treasurer of the National Democratic Party ("NDP") and because of his political activism, he was forced to resign from his teaching positions by the government of Rhodesia.

His time away from teaching allowed him to become a full-time preacher while also being politically active. In 1962, Reverend Sithole left his position as pastor in the church to focus entirely on politics.

In his words, "It is difficult for me to be ministering to half-slaves. I feel I must give more of my services to the nationalist movement which is working for the total liberation of Zimbabwe. But this does not mean that I am severing altogether my relations with the United Church of Christ or Christianity itself, I am still a strong member.”

Following the banning of NDP, he became Chairman of the Zimbabwe African People's Union ("ZAPU") in 1962, which subsequently split the following year and led to the formation of the Zimbabwe African National Union (“ZANU”) of which he was elected founding President at the inaugural congress held in Gwelo. It was at this congress, that the Reverend coined the phrase “We are our own liberators”.

Within 3 months of this, in May 1964, Reverend Sithole was detained and would be incarcerated for the next 11 years.

Upon his release from prison in 1975 after the assassination of Dr. Herbert Chitepo, Chairman of ZANU, Reverend Sithole moved to Lusaka in Zambia to continue leadership of ZANU. Subsequent internal disagreements in the military and political leadership of the party led to his unconstitutional ouster as the leader of ZANU

The Independent Citizen

In 1980 he ran in the Presidential election race under the banner of ZANU Mwenje against other leading nationalist contestants and lost to Robert Mugabe of ZANU PF.

Sadly, after an attempt on his life in 1982, he went into self-imposed exile in the USA where he continued to write and advocate for democracy in Zimbabwe

He returned to Zimbabwe 10 years later, was elected Member of Parliament (“MP”) and was one of the few opposition members in parliament. As MP he continued to fight for democracy, justice and human rights which led to amongst other things, confiscation of his Churu Farm and a treason trial which was never concluded.

The Family Man

Reverend Sithole and his late first wife Canaan Alice Sithole (nee Mafu) had six children whose names gave an insight of their vision of the life they both were fighting for in Rhodesia.

These are:

o Siphikelelo – Perseverance;
o Dingindlela – Find a way;
o Zibonele – Do it yourself;
o Sifiso – Wish;
o Sikhululekile – We are free;
o Mpilwenhle – Beautiful life

Reverend Sithole later remarried Vesta Sithole (nee Saungweme), who passed away in 2012. Between them, they had no children.

Reverend Sithole died in Philadelphia, USA on December 12, 2000, where he was receiving medical treatment.

The remains of Reverend Sithole are interred at Freedom Farm, his lifetime homestead in Chipinge, Eastern Zimbabwe.

No official state honour has been given for his service to humanity, and for his role in the struggle for Zimbabwe’s liberation.