s_parirenyatwa1962 Deputy President, ZAPU.

Born at Rusape in 1927, Tichafa Parirenyatwa spent his early childhood as a herder of cattle. After receiving his early education at Mrewa Mission School he attended the Howard Institute and Adams College Natal.

After his return to Southern Rhodesia he taught for one year and was then assisted by the Methodist Church at Nyadire to study at Fort Hare University College, South Africa. After graduating B.Sc. he moved to the University of the Witwatersrand where he qualified as a doctor in 1957.1 During his time at Wits he took part in the defiance campaign against the various apartheid laws.

After returning to Southern Rhodesia – as the country’s first African doctor – he served his housemanship at Harare Hospital, Salisbury (Harare). In July 1959 he was transferred to the post of Medical Officer in charge of the Antelope Mine Hospital, south of Bulawayo, where he attended patients of all races. In December 1961 he resigned from the Federal Government service in order to free himself to play an active part in politics. In January 1962 he was appointed Deputy President of ZAPU.

During Joshua Nkomo’s various absences overseas he took charge of party affairs and set about the task of building a country-wide organisation, effective from branch level right through to the National Executive. To this end he created a research unit in ZAPU and also travelled widely throughout the country. One of his most striking achievements was the mounting of a campaign to recruit educated Africans for the party. In this work he was highly successful2 Notwithstanding his heavy involvement in politics he continued his work as a doctor, maintaining two surgeries in Salisbury (Harare). He was killed in a car crash on the Gwelo (Gweru)-Bulawayo road on 14 August 1962. He left a widow and five small children.

Tichafa Parirenyatwa (or ‘Pari’ as he was affectionately known) was a man of great breadth of mind, coupled with the ability to persuade others to his point of view. He was meticulously honest in his handling of money matters. Greatly loved by all members of his party,3 his funeral in Salisbury (Harare) was an occasion of mass grief4

1 Among his fellow students were E. M. Pswarayi and S. C. Mundawarara.
2 He was responsible for bringing Nathan Shamuyarira into ZAPU.
3 For his ability to reach all classes of men.
4 See entry for Josiah Chinamano.