Harold Mtandwa Chirenda

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Rtd Lt Col
Harold Chirenda
BornHarold Mtandwa Chirenda
(1944-08-01)August 1, 1944
Mbare, Harare (then Salisbury)
DiedJanuary 1, 2014(2014-01-01) (aged 69)
United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH)
Resting placeNational Heroes Acre
EducationFletcher High School
Alma materElangeni Training Centre
OccupationMilitary Commander
Years active1964-2014
EmployerGovernment of Zimbabwe
OrganizationZimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
Known forBeing the founding member of Black Rhinos Football Club
Spouse(s)Florence Chirenda

The late Retired Lieutenant Colonel Harold Mtandwa Chirenda was a liberation war icon whose nom-de-geurre was Elliot Masengo. He was recruited into the ZAPU Military Wing Special Affairs in December 1964 in Ndola, Zambia.

Background and Education

The late Harold Mtandwa Chirenda was born on 1 August 1944 in Mbare, Salisbury (now Harare). Chirenda attended Shingirayi Government School in Mbare between 1950 and 1956 where he did Standards 1 to 6. During the years 1957 to 1962, he enrolled at Fletcher High School and completed Ordinary Level attaining a Cambridge University Certificate. He later obtained a certificate in Business Management at Elangeni Training Centre in Bulawayo.
Death: 1 August 2014 at United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.


The late Harold Chirenda became politically active in 1964 and subsequently crossed the border to join the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) after he was outraged by racially inspired inequalities. He was recruited into the ZAPU Military Wing Special Affairs in December 1964 in Ndola, Zambia. He was part of the first group of 19 cadres who were sent to Kasr El Boughari in Algeria for basic military training. He was selected to enrol for an Officer Cadet Course in 1965 at Cherchel Military Academy graduating in 1966 and later trained as a Commando.

He was one of ZIPRA's highly trained officers together with the late Alfred Nikita Mangena who later became the ZIPRA Commander, the late Lookout Masuku, Tapson Sibanda (Gordon T. Munyanyi), Ray Mutema, Ambrose Mutinhiri and many others. It was at Cherchel Military Academy where he got acquainted with the late former Mozambique President Samora Machel and Ali Halimeh, the former Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Ambassador to Zimbabwe as well as Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, who were doing the same military training.

Chirenda's outstanding performance on training led to his appointment as a military instructor at the ZIPRA Morogoro Training Camp in Tanzania in 1967 where he taught Field Engineering, Guerilla Warfare and Topography. During the period, he was commended for having trained and produced some of Zimbabwe's great military personalities including the late former Army Commander, General Solomon Mujuru and General Jevan Maseko, Brigadier General Abel Mazinyane, Stanley Nleya and Masala Sibanda among others.[1]


  1. [1], The Herald, Published: 3 August, 2015, Accessed: 27 March, 2023'

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