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Ex-minister Thenjiwe Lesabe dies
11/02/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
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LIBERATION war heroine and former cabinet minister Thenjiwe Lesabe has died, a spokesman for her Zapu party said.

She was 79.

Lesabe – who was chairperson of the Zapu council of elders -- died in Bulawayo on Friday, the spokesman added.

Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, currently in the United Kingdom, has been informed.

Meanwhile, a family spokesperson said Lesabe (nee Khumalo) died in the Intensive Care Unit of the United Bulawayo Hospitals late Friday afternoon.

Born on 5 January 1932 in Hope Fountain, Lesabe started her schooling at Whitewater Primary School in Matobo and went to Hope Fountain where she trained as a teacher. After qualifying she taught at Lotshe Primary School in Makokoba.

She left teaching in 1959 to become a journalist with the Bantu Mirror. She joined politics in the 1950s having been inspired by her father Zenzo Khumalo, a pioneer of African activism to take on the oppressive supremacists head on.

Lesabe was one of the women who led the National Democratic Party, Zapu and the People’s Caretaker Council at her home township of Makokoba.

At the height of the clampdown on the leadership of the nationalist movement by the Ian Smith regime, Lesabe continued to play a leadership role underground before she was forced into exile in 1978.

While in exile Lesabe was part of the leadership in the PF Zapu manpower camps where Zimbabwean exiles were trained in various fields.

At Independence, she became a Member of Parliament in Bulawayo and a member of the PF Zapu national executive.

She was also the national secretary of the Zanu-PF Women’s League and a former Minister of National Affairs and Employment Creation.

In 1990 she became Deputy Minister of Tourism before being elevated to Minister of Education, Sport and Culture. She was later appointed to the ministry of National Affairs and Employment Creation a post she held until she left Government in 2000.

She was Member of Parliament for Umzingwane up to the 2000 elections.

She quit Zanu PF in September 2009 and joined Dumiso Dabengwa in the revival of Zapu as a separate political party.

Away from politics Lesabe was a dedicated grandmother and a farmer, she was allocated a plot in Fort Rixon and had another small one at her Gumtree home.


She was married to Reverend Peter Lesabe and had seven children.

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