Josiah Mushore Chinamano was a nationalist leader during and after the Second Chimurenga in Zimbabwe. Chinamano was the vice president of the vibrant Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) party which was led by Joshua Nkomo. Chinamano was eloquent in leading a crusade against the minority rule of the Rhodesian government led by Ian Smith. He was born in 1923 near Epworth, Mission in the Mashonaland region of Rhodesia. He died on October 1 in 1984 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Education and Marriage
In the 1940’s Chinamano earned a place at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape in South Africa like so many who were to become nationalist politicians such as Robert Mugabe. In 1949 he met his future wife Ruth Nyombolo, a South African born in the Western Cape and they married in 1950. Ruth Chinamano was to become an important politician in Zimbabwe in her own right. After Josiah Chinamano had finished his studies, obtaining a B.A. in History and African Administration, he returned to Southern Rhodesia with his wife.
After Josiah Chinamano had finished his studies, obtaining a B.A. in History and African Administration, he returned to Southern Rhodesia with his wife. The couple then went to Birmingham UK in 1955, where they attended political meetings. After returning to Southern Rhodesia, they both taught at Methodist run Waddilove Institute, Marandellas (now Marondera). Later Chinamano became Manager of Schools for the Chihota Communal Area under Waddilove Mission. It was during their stay at Waddilove that the Chinamano’s attended a meeting addressed by Joshua Nkomo and were drawn into active politics.
Struggle for Independence- Chimurenga
By 1961, the Chinamano’s had moved to Highfield, Salisbury (now Harare), where they opened up a shop run by Ruth, the back of the shop being used for political meetings; during this time, the National Democratic Party was banned on the 8th December 1961 – and ZAPU was formed on the 17th December 1961. Josiah Chinamano founded the Highfield Community School in 1962. In September the same year, ZAPU was banned.
In 1964 a fellow nationalist Joseph Msika was visiting the Chinamano home in Highfield when the Rhodesian police came and arrested him, Josiah Chinamano and Ruth Chinamano; together with Joshua Nkomo, they were held at Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp. Later, the Chinamano’s were transferred to Wha Wha Prison, Midlands Province, from where they were released in 1970; after which they returned home to Highfield, but were only allowed to move within an 8 km radius.
Within a year, they were both arrested again and sent to Marandellas Prison to be released in 1974 together with other nationalist leaders following pressure from both the British and South African governments which were both seeking a compromise. In the years that followed, Josiah Chinamano frequently became the spokesperson for ZAPU. Chinamano was part of the delegation that attended the Lancaster talks which resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement of December 1979 which at the end paved way for the independence of Zimbabwe.
Portfolios After Independence
- Member of Parliament
- 1981-Minister of Transport