Leopold Takawira

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Leopold Takawira (Lion of Chirimhanzu)
Leopold Takawira
Leopold Takawira
BornLeopold Takawira
Central Prison
Cause of deathHypoglycaemia
Resting placeNational Heroes Acre
  • Politician
  • Zimbabwe Liberation War Fighter
Political partyZANU
Spouse(s)Sunny Ntombiyelanga Dube

Leopold Takawira was a Zimbabwean politician who rose to fame during the Second Chimurenga liberation war. He was popularly known as the Lion of Chirumhanzu in the political circles.[1] Takawira who at one point was the Vice President of ZANU, was born in 1916 in Mvuma and died in prison in 1970 and was first buried in his home area in Chirumhanzu in Masvingo province. He was exhumed and later buried at the National Heroes Acre on 11 August 1982, 12 years after his death. He was married to Sunny Ntombiyelanga Dube. (Sunny Takawira). [2]

Background and Education

Takawira received his secondary education at Kutama Mission. He then proceeded to Roma University in Lesotho for his tertiary education.[1] He started his revolutionary activities in Highfield, Harare, when he was a schoolteacher at Chipembere Primary School. He organized teachers first to attack the racially discriminatory practice of the white minority settler regime.[1]

He was married to Sunny Takawira.

Nationalist Politics

He later joined the National Democratic Party and worked with the likes of Joshua Nkomo. He quickly became leader and chief spokesman of the nationalist movement at the time. Following the National Democratic Party Congress, he became external representative in London. It was in this capacity that he sent a cable back home denouncing and rejecting the 1961 constitutional conference results, which gave Africans 15 seats in a Parliament of 65.[1]

After the ban of NDP, ZAPU was formed and Takawira was appointed secretary for external affairs again. He became instrumental in the formation of the Zimbabwe African National Union.[1] He became ZANU's first vice president. When the ZANU Congress was held, he retained his position as Vice President of the party. He worked on the forefront to establish and popularize ZANU.

He was arrested in Harare and detained at Wha Wha, Sikombela and Salisbury Central prisons.[3] While in prison he continued his revolutionary activities even at a time when his health was failing. The white minority settler regime led by Ian Smith denied him permission to receive medical attention. He died in prison in 1970 due to diabetic complications.[1]


Takawira has a major road Harare named after him.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 , Takawira, Leopold Tapfumaneyi "The Lion of Chirumhanzu", "Zanu PF", retrieved:7 Jul 2014"
  2. , Leopold Takawira's widow, Ntombiyelanga dies, "The ZIMDIASPORA", published:15 Jan 2010,retrieved:7 Jul 2014"
  3. D Mitchell and R. Carey, Leopold Takawira, "Colonial Relic", retrieved:7 Jul 2014"

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