ZIMBABWE – Thousands of Zimbabweans from all walks of life yesterday thronged the Shamu homestead here for the burial of Ambuya Mary Shamu, mother to Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu.
Speaker after speaker described Ambuya Shamu (90) as a hard-working woman who raised her eight children alone after the death of her husband in 1963.
Addressing the mourners, Zanu-PF National Chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo said her death had robbed the nation of a great woman who wanted to see every Zimbabwean succeed in everything they did.
Cde Moyo said Ambuya Shamu was an extraordinary woman who was honest and did not condone corruption. She always urged young people to work hard to achieve their goals, he added.
“Most of you do not know this. While some people ran away from the rural areas into the cities at the height of the war of liberation, Ambuya Shamu refused to leave and instead chose to feed and clothe us as she believed that Zimbabwe must be free from colonial rule,’’ he said.
“It was here that we were fed and clothed by Ambuya Shamu as we operated from Zambia. Not many people are aware of this, especially the mafikizolo who now want to rule Zimbabwe.
“No, you have to work to rule this country. There is a history behind the liberation of this country. So, this woman we are all gathered here today to pay our last respects to was a pillar of wisdom.’’
He called on Zimbabweans to guard the gains of the liberation struggle, which saw people like Ambuya Shamu sacrifice their lives for. He said her history would always be told, adding that people like her do not die but only depart from their responsibility here on earth.
“All we have to do is emulate her deeds and uphold her legacy. There are some virtues of honesty, respect, uprightness and hard work. She had a vision for what she did for her children even without her husband.’’
Cde Moyo said men should help their wives to take care of their families. The only befitting tribute Zimbabweans could pay to Ambuya Shamu was to win resoundingly during the forthcoming national elections, he said.
Also addressing the gathering, Cde Shamu described his mother as a pillar of wisdom. He said at one point he wanted to build a house for her. She, however, refused, arguing that he would not be able to secure enough funds since he earned so little.
“I would like to thank my wife, Constance, who strived to make sure we built this house for her. “I would also want to thank the Tsomondo family for giving me a wife who is so loving and caring as she has always played a leading role in making sure we do the best for my mother,’’ said Shamu.
He said Ambuya Shamu was committed to the development of Msengezi and urged the local community to continue farming in spite of the death of their parents.
“Most of us got farms in other areas and we have since stopped production in this area, which used to feed the nation during the colonial times.
“The 330 farms in Msengezi used to produce so much food. Let us continue doing that even after getting our own farms elsewhere. Now that my mother is gone, if I do not continue farming here, who else is going to do that?’’
The minister’s wife described her mother-in-law as loving.
Minister of State Security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Cde Herbert Murerwa, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Cde Walter Mzembi as well as Mashonaland West Provincial Governor and Resident Minister Cde Faber Chidarikire were among those who attended the burial.
Others included Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri and Commissioner of Prisons Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi.
Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, former Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Nathan Shamuyarira, House of Assembly Members Bright Matonga, Sylvester Nguni and Patrick Zhuwao as well as business mogul Mr Philip Chiyangwa were also present.
Ambuya Shamu died at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare last Wednesday after a heart failure. A heavy downpour punctuated the burial, a sign many believe marks the departure of a respected elderly person.