Jane Ngwenya

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Jane Ngwenya
Jane Ngwenya Biography
BornJane Lungile Ngwenya
(1935-06-15)June 15, 1935
DiedAugust 5, 2021(2021-08-05) (aged 86)
Mater Dei Hospital
Cause of deathUndisclosed
Resting placeNational Heroes Acre
ResidenceUmzingwane, Bulawayo
Known forBeing a nationalist

Jane Lungile Ngwenya was an early nationalist. She was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980. She was declared a national heroine and buried at the National Heroes Acre on 13 August 2021. [1]

Personal Details

Born: 15 June 1935, in the Buhera District reserve area.
Marriage: to George Tinarwo who tried to convince her to stop political activism. The seven-year marriage, which was consecrated at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, collapsed because Ngwenya opted to liberate Zimbabwe. [2] In the 1950s the couple divorced. She left a daughter named Elizabeth. [2]
Death: She died on 5 August 2021 at Mater Dei Hospital after a long illness. [3]

Service / Career

She helped found and launch the National Democratic Party (NDP) thereafter founding ZAPU after the NDP had been banned. She led the Youth Wing of the nationalist movement. As a member of the Youth League, Emmerson Mnangagwa served under her. Through her persuasive broadcast messages aired from Zambia, many youths gathered the courage to join the armed struggle.

In the 1960s Ngwenya served detention at Grey Street Prison, now Bulawayo Prison and Wha Wha detention camp in Gweru before being taken to Gonakudzingwa where she met several nationalists who were also incarcerated in the camp.

Jane Ngwenya sustained injuries (along with John Nkomo) in a bomb blast that claimed Jason Ziyapapa Moyo on 22 January 1977 in Zambia.

Jane Ngwenya credited her career to strong inspiration from founding nationalists such as the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, Benjamin Burombo, Joseph Msika, and Josiah Chinamano and the late former President Robert Mugabe.[2]


After independence, Ngwenya served as the Deputy Minister of Labour, Manpower and Social Welfare, a key portfolio that oversaw the rehabilitation of returnees and refugees from the armed struggle. [2]


She was posthumously awarded the Grand Commander Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award. She would have been the first living female recipient of such an award. [2]


  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 2.3 2.4 Heroine Ngwenya burial set for Saturday, The Herald, Published: August 2021, Retrieved: August 12, 2021
  3. Nation robbed of an icon again, The Herald, Published: August 7, 2021, Retrieved: August 12, 2021