Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – Described in his death as “Founder of the Nation” by then President Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwean Vice President Joshua Nkomo was a nationalist, unifier, peace soldier and saver of lives who – in the eyes of many, would have made Zimbabwe a better country had he assumed the reigns in 1980.
Nkomo was born in 19 June 1917, Semokwe Reserve, Matabeleland, western Zimbabwe.
He played a pivotal role in the execution of the Zimbabwean Liberation struggle leading his party, Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and its armed wing Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) alongside Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and its armed wing Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA).
Joshua Nkomo survived two assassination attempts- one by the Selous Scouts in Zambia and another by the Rhodesian Special Air Service (SAS) during the liberation war.
Nkomo’s Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) forces shot down two Air Rhodesia Vickers Viscount civilian passenger planes with surface-to-air missiles – September 3, 1978, killing 38 out of 56 and February 12, 1979, killing all 59 on board, while targeting General Peter Walls, commander of the Rhodesian Special Forces.
He died of prostate cancer at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare, on July 1, at the age of 82. At the burial, Mugabe described Nkomo as the Founder of the Nation.
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