African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia – Who's Who

The web version of the 1977 Who's Who by Robert Cary and Diana Mitchell
African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia - Who's Who » Page 'SIMPSON VICTOR MTAMBANENGWE'


1964 Secretary for
International Affairs,
1975 (1 Sept.) Head of the
Committee for Diplomatic
and International Labour
Relations, ZLC.
Simpson Mtambanengwe was born in December 1930
at the Old Umtali Mission in the Eastern Districts of
Rhodesia. His father, a minister of the United
Methodist Church, was a member of the Ndau tribe.
Simpson was one of eight children (four boys and four
girls), of whom one boy and one girl were twins.
He was educated up to Standard VI at Mutambara
Mission and then went to Goromonzi School where he
obtained good results in both the ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels of the
General Certificate of Education. After leaving school
he taught for a year at the Old Umtali Mission1
He entered the University College of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland in 1957, being one of the first students2 He
studied English and History (with Latin) and graduated
B.A. in 1959.3 For the first half of 1960 he again taught
at Old Umtali.

In late 1960 he travelled to England where he gained
admission to the Inner Temple. During his time in
England he became President of the Zimbabwe
Students’ Union which was at that time a strongly
activist political body.

He returned to Rhodesia in 1964 and at once studied
for admission to the local Bar. In April he attended the
ZANU congress in Gwelo and was elected Secretary for
International Affairs. In July, after successfully sitting
his Bar examinations, he travelled again to London
where he took part in the protest gatherings at the
Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ conference. With the
majority of nationalist leaders by then in detention in
Rhodesia, he decided to remain outside the country.
From 1964 until the present day he has been engaged in
political work, first in London and subsequently in

He was a member of the ANC’s legal team at the
Victoria Falls talks in August 1975. Following his return
to Lusaka he was appointed to be in charge of
diplomatic and international labour relations in the

It was announced on 15 October 1976 that he had
been appointed a member of the delegation from the
ANC (Muzorewa) to the Geneva conference.
In 1967 he married a girl from Rhodesia (whom he
met overseas). They have three sons, all of whom are
being educated in Zambia. Simpson Mtambanengwe is
described by those who know him well as “a very
determined character who is reserved, but also friendly
by nature”.

1 During part of this period Bishop Muzorewa was also teaching at the mission.
2 Of the initial intake of African students, a large proportion had been at
Goromonzi School under the headmastership ol` A. P. Knottenbelt.

3 He was also a prominent member of the Students’ Representative Council
and travelled to South America to attend a students’ conference at Lima,
Peru, in january 1959 (representing the National Association of Federal

4 He was a member of the ANC delegation at the OAU summit conference in
Kampala in july 1975 at which Idi Amin was elected President.

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