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Sheba Tavarwisa

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Sheba Tavarwisa
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Zimbabwe Liberation War Fighter
Political party ZANU

Sheba Tavarwisa was a primary school teacher and fighter in Zimbabwe's war of liberation. She was a member of ZANLA the military wing of ZANU. She left teaching to become one of the first women commanders in ZANLA. Her responsibility in the beginning was to carry arms from Zambia and Mozambique to the frontline in Rhodesia. She was also responsible for working with the peasantry in order to persuade them to support the freedom fighters.[1]

High Command

Eventually, Sheba became the only woman on the Zanu High Command as Deputy Secretary for Education under Dzingai Mutumbuka. She was also in the party's central committee.[2]


She died of a kidney disease.[1]

Despite some expectation that, as a member of the High Command during the liberation struggle, she would be conferred National Heroine status, Zanu-PF leadership didn't sit to consider it.

She was buried at her village in Gutu in an unmarked cemetery.

Giving a graveside Eulogy, a Zanu-PF provincial official, Mapiye Hwekwete asked then Vice President Simon Muzenda:

“What unforgivable crime did she commit not to be buried at Heroes’ Acre? And what criteria is used by the government to award national hero status among its pioneer war veterans?” [3]

Sheba is amoung other women liberation war fighters that were denied heroine status such as Catherine Garanewako, Thenjiwe Lesabe, Tichaona Freedom, Nyamubaya and Ruth Nyamurowa. This is despite that male colleagues, even those who joined the struggle after them, and some where trained by these female combatants, managed to make it to the National Heroes Acre.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Fay Chung, Re-living the Second Chimurenga, Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe. Page: Weaver Press, 2006. ISBN 91-710655-1-2.
  2. Mawere, Munyaradzi, Mubaya, Tapuwa R., Colonial Heritage, Memory and Sustainability in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects, Langaa RPCIG, 12 Dec,2015
  3. Ray Matikinye, What credentials does a hero need?, The Standard, Published:12 October 2007, Retrieved: 13 May 2017