Sheba Tavarwisa
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Zimbabwe Liberation War Fighter
Political partyZANU

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] She was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980.

Personal Details

Born: 1 August 1947. In Gutu.
Marriage: to Pushure Nicholas. [2]
Death: 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]

School / Education

Lower primary at Chikwanda Mission.
1954 to 55: Gutu.
1959 to 65: Higher teacher training.

Service / Career

1964 to 1972, she was a teacher.
1980 - She was elected to the House of Assembly in Victoria Province.

ZANLA 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.[4]


Sheba is among 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 the fact that male colleagues, even those who joined the struggle after them - and some were trained by these female combatants - were buried at the National Heroes Acre.


  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. [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
  3. Ray Matikinye, What credentials does a hero need?, The Standard, Published:12 October 2007, Retrieved: 13 May 2017
  4. Mawere, Munyaradzi, Mubaya, Tapuwa R., Colonial Heritage, Memory and Sustainability in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects, Langaa RPCIG, 12 Dec,2015