Thomas Nhari was a liberation war fighter in the Second Chimurenga and is mostly known for leading the Badza-Nhari Rebellion.


Nhari was a teacher who had been smuggled out of the Mount Darwin area by ZAPU in 1967 and sent to Moscow for training. He defected to ZANU in 1971 and at the time of the rebellion was Provincial Field Operations Commander for MMZ, the ZANLA designation for the area of operations bordering on Mozambique.

Military Training & Strategy

Nhari's ZIPRA training in Russia had given him a philosophy that differed from ZANLA's. ZANALA's strategy was based on the Chinese model of protracted struggle and politically mobilising the people to support the struggle with information, new recruits, food, shelter and other resources. The Russian approach was direct military action, in the conventional manner and proved disastrous when ZAPU implemented it in the Wankie-Spolilo Campaign of 1967-68.

Nhari also viewed and argued that the Chinese weapons were inferior compared to more sophisticated Soviet weaponry. The problem for Nhari however was that Moscow supported ZAPU and would not assist ZANU with armaments.

Badza-Nhari Rebellion

For a full article on the rebellion click here.

Nhari had a leadership role in the rebellion. It has been said that the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith had a role in fomenting the revolt. The rebellion saw his group take over the Chifombo Base kidnapping some members of the Dare. They were however neutralised by Josiah Tongogara and Chifombo was taken back.

The Nhari group was ambushed by Tongogara with the assistance of FRELIMO when they were invited back to the base for talks in Mozambique. Nhari and some of his counterparts were summarily tried and executed.