Nathan Shamuyarira
Nathan Shamuyarira.jpg
The Late Nathan Shamuyarira
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
22 December 1987 – 15 March 1995
Minister of Information
In office
18 April 1980 – 22 December 1987
Personal details
Born(1928-09-29)September 29, 1928
DiedJune 4, 2014(2014-06-04) (aged 85)
Political partyZimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Spouse(s)Dorothy Mandimika

Nathan Shamuyarira was an early nationalist who played a large part during the Second Chimurenga. He was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980.

He was a member of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) politburo and served in the cabinet from 1980-1995 in different portfolios. He retired from politics in 2010.

He has been generally referred to as a rare politician who strove and was content to live a modest life. He retreated to his own a farm during the Third Chimurenga. Because of his approach to life, not much is known about his private life, as it was not under the scrutiny of the media. He died poor for a politician of his standing in Zimbabwe and this has been generally linked to his strong stance on living a simple life.

Personal Details

Born: 29 September 1929, Mondoro.
[1] Marriage: Dorothy Mandimika and they two had no children.
Death: 4 June 2014.
Shamuyarira is said to have died a pauper who was languishing in poverty. His wife was unable to visit him whilst he was in hospital. [2] Webster Shamu and Phillip Chiyangwa are said to have been the only people who visited him whilst he was in hospital. [2] Shamuyarira was unaware of what was happening in the country and literally was completely forgotten and ignored by Zanu PF. His house was repainted when it was announced that he was dead and roads leading to his homestead were also reworked for easy accessibility of the mourners who were flocking to mourn a war cadre.[2] He was declared a national hero as he remained consistent after independence.

School / Education

Primary education: at Waddilove Mission and there trained to become a primary school teacher.[3] This was during the 1940s. He however completed his secondary education at the same institute by correspondence.[3]
Taught at Tengwani Secondary School.
From 1950-1953, he was teaching Animal Husbandry at Domboshava. [4]
BSc, Princeton University.
PhD, University of Dar es Salaam.

Service / Career

On 5 May 1953, he left Domboshava for Salisbury and there began his career as a journalist. Upon his arrival, he was employed as a reporter for African Newspaper Ltd. [3] He rose through the ranks in the following years. This saw him being promoted to become the first editor of the African Daily News in 1956. [3] During the same year, he attended the Capricon Africa Society at Salima Nyasaland, (Malawi). [3]

Nathan Shamuyarira as a young man

From 1959-1962, he was the editor in chief of African Newspapers Ltd.[4] Since his rise to fame as an acclaimed journalist during the 1950s, Shamuyarira was distanced from the nationalist movements and or parties which were being formed by people like Joshua Nkomo, James Chikerema and others. It is said that he was initiated into politics by Dr Stephen Parirenyatwa who lured him to join the recently formed Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) in 1962. [3] This saw him resigning from being the editor in chief of African Newspapers Ltd.[3]

From 1962 onwards, Shamuyarira began to intrinsically immerse himself into politics. In 1964, he decided to enroll at Princeton University in the United States of America where he was to study political science and he eventually graduated in 1967. [3] From Princeton he went on to teach at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. [3] This did not necessarily imply that his political career was coming to an end. Instead he was appointed ZANU PF's Secretary for External Affairs. [3]

He was wanted to see Zanu PF and ZAPU joining forces as they were fighting against the same opponent. He began to communicate with Chikerema who seemed to be frustrated about the same issue. [4] Chikerema is however said to have manipulated the situation to create the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (FROLIZI) in 1971 after the ZAPU split. It is argued that his failure to remain loyal to his party and this caused the masses to question his quest to form FROLIZI. Robert Mugabe however was of the opinion that Shamuyarira, who later became a member of FROLIZI, was persuaded by Chikerema, implying that Shamuyarira was tricked by Chikerema to join FROLIZI. [5]

With the formation of FROLIZI, Shamuyarira became the treasurer and he eventually resigned from the University of Dar-es-Salaam where he was teaching. [3] FROLIZI howver collapsed in 1973. Shamuyarira went back to teach at the university and began to carry out his duties as the Secretary for External Affairs under the banner of ZANU PF.[3] He retained his post until 1980.

In the Zimbabwe 1985 Parliamentary Election, Makonde West returned to Parliament:

In the 1990 Parliamentary Election (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Makonde Central returned to Parliament:

Turnout - 28 678 voters or 76.29 %


Minister of Information

In 1987, the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, was under Nathan Shamuyarira. It was responsible for news dissemination through the mass media and for the postal and telecommunications services. [6]

Shamuyarira as Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications from 1980-1987, was credited with re-implementing the screening of foreign journalists who were to operate in the country. The new policy improvised by Shamuyarira stated that any foreign journalist was supposed to have a work permit approved by the government on a monthly basis. [4] This was put into effect.

From being the Minister of Information, Shamuyarira was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs until 1995. In 2000, he distanced himself from the cabinet and the government in general though he remained a staunch member of Zanu PF serving as the party's Secretary for Information and Publicity.


In 2004, he was appointed patron of the Palestine movement. [7] This was prompted by the fact that he was concerned about the plight of the downtrodden. Shamuyarira had long been working closely with the embassy of Palestine and he was the most preferred candidate to take up the post.[7]

Establishment of Trust Funds

In 2004 Shamuyarira played a crucial role in the establishment of the Zimbabwe Automotive Accident Fund whose aim was to cater for children whose parents will have been victims of road traffic accidents. [7] The trust provided and is still providing basic necessities to these children.

Two years later, Shamuyarira established the Nathan Shamuyarira Foundation and this was meant to be a platform and/or a launch pad for the training of people with an insatiable passion to venture into media. [7]


Although Shamuyarira has been generally viewed as a modest politician who strove to live a life without being corrupt and avoid involvement or links to controversial issues, in October 2006 he was pinned for making a scathing statement supporting the alleged state's intervention and/or organisation of the Gukurahundi massacres. [4] It was reported that Shamuyarira stated that it was wrong for Mugabe to apologise to the masses as it was a necessary evil implemented to restore order as well as to protect people. [4] Shamuyarira however argued that people failed to contextualise his statement.

In September 2009, Shamuyarira was also implicated as being central in organising the devastating arson which resulted in the attack of Ben Freeth at his Mount Camel Farm. It was reported that Lovemore Madangoda who was referred to as Shamuyarira's hatchet man had been causing havoc at the farm claiming to be the farm manager. [8] Prior to the attack on Mount Camel Farm, it was also reported that the same mafia which terrorised Freeth and his family had also terrorised Angela and Mike Campbell, Freeth's in-laws.[8]



  1. [Diana Mitchell, African Nationalist Leaders in Zimbabwe: Who’s Who 1980], "African Nationalist Leaders in Zimbabwe: Who’s Who 1980, (Cannon Press, Salisbury, 1980), Retrieved: 16 November 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 , Shamuyarira died penniless, ignored by Zanu PF, "New Zimbabwe", published:8 Jun 2014,retrieved:25 June 2014"
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Robert Cary and Diana Mitchell, Nathan Shamuyarira, "Colonial Relic", published:1977,retrieved:25 June 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Cynthia Matonhodze, Timeline: The life of Nathan Shamuyarira, "NewsDay", published:5 Jun2014,retrieved:25 June 2014"
  5. , Mugabe belittles James Chikerema, "Bulawayo24 News", published:7 Jun 2014,retrieved:25 June 2014"
  6. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 3 August 2022
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Steven Chidawanyika, Why I will miss Nathan Shamuyarira, "The Herald", published:7 Jun 2014,retrieved:25 June 2014"
  8. 8.0 8.1 John Chimunhu, Nathan Shamuyarira ‘ordered farmer Freeth’s house burnt’, "ZimEye", published:13 Sep 2009,retrieved:24 June 2014"