Arthur Chadzingwa was born in the railway compound, Umtali (Mutare), on 5 August 1944. His father was a messenger with Rhodesia Railways and his mother, Harriet, had worked before her marriage at St Augustine’s, looking after orphans.
Chadzingwa obtained his primary education at Mutanda Government School, Umtali (Mutare) (1952-58) and at St Faith’s Mission, Rusape (1958-59). He attended Sakubva Secondary Schoo1 in Umtali (Mutare) from 1960 to 1961, Chikore School (Chipinga) from 1962 to 1964, and Fletcher School in Gwelo (Gweru) in 1965-66. After leaving school he attended the University College of Rhodesia for three years, graduating B.Sc. (Economics) with Honours in 1969. He was Vice-President of the Students’ Union during his last year.
After leaving the University he failed to find employment and in December 1969 he joined Cold Comfort Farm where he was greatly influenced by Guy Clutton-Brock and Didymus Mutasa (Chairman of the Farm Society). He remained at the farm until it was closed in january 1971, doing farmwork and keeping the accounts. He then became director of Nyasara Development Company, Inyanga.
As a youngster he had been a member of the NDP, ZAPU and the PCC. He was a founder member of the ANC in December 1971, receiving the appointment of Deputy National Organising Secretary. He was promoted to National Organising Secretary in the following year. He was detained in February 1973 and sent to Que Que Prison. In May 1974 he was transferred to Wha Wha Restriction Camp.
He was released on 26 January 1976 at the request of Joshua Nkomo who wanted him as a member of his negotiating team in the talks then in progress with the Government. At the end of September he left for London to take up an appointment as representative for the ANC (Nkomo). On 13 October he was nominated as ‘Secretary in charge of the secretaries’ for the ANC (Nkomo) delegation to the Geneva Conference.
Arthur Chadzingwa is unmarried. At school he was a member of the athletics team. He is interested in art, music and serious literature. Shortly before he was detained he was involved in an accident while riding his motor-cycle as a member of a local Hell’s Angels club, and remarks that he “was almost transported to Hell”.