Ray Bande Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe praised the role played by liberation war heroines such as the late Mbuya Maria Msika saying their contribution was equally important to that of their male counterparts. The President said this while addressing mourners at the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday during the burial of national heroine Mbuya Msika.
The widow of national hero and Vice President Cde Joseph Msika, Mbuya Msika died last Friday morning at her Highlands, Harare, residence. She was 89.
“Madzimai aivepo kuvabikira. Madzimai aivepo kuvapururudzira. Madzimai aivepo achichengeta vana. Ndiwo madzimai nevamwe vatakaviga pano vana Mai Muzenda, nhasi Mai Msika. Nhoroondo yavo inhoroondo yevarume vavo. Zvaiita varume vavo ndoo zvavaiitawo vachitsigira vari kumba. Saka tinoyemura basa guru raiitwa nemadzimai edu,” said President Mugabe.
Born on May 17 in 1928 in Bechuanaland, now Botswana, Mbuya Msika was the eldest in a family of six. She did her primary education at Tsesebe before heading to Gaborone to do her secondary education at St Joseph’s Khale Catholic school. Mbuya Msika relocated to Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, and enrolled at Usher Institute in Matabeleland South to train as a nurse.
It is at Usher Institute that the late Maria met her love, the late Joseph Wilfred who was a woodwork teacher at same institute. At the time of their marriage, the late VP had already become active in nationalist politics. Mbuya Msika supported her husband despite the risks involved. She remained with the family while her husband was incarcerated by the Rhodesian regime.
Family spokesman Mr Jonathan Mapfumo said Mbuya Msika had not been well for the past six years. He said she had been feeding through a catheter and breathing with the aid machines.
Mbuya Msika is survived by three children – Lucia, Shelton and Maxwell – eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.