DUNDUZA CHISIZA (1920-1962)

 

Dunduza Chisiza

1955 A founder of the ANYL.

Although born in Karanga, Nyasaland (now Malawi), Dunduza Chisiza played for a short time a leading role in the development of African nationalism in Southern Rhodesia during the 1950s.

He was educated at the Livingstonia Mission and Aggrey Memorial College, Uganda. He worked during 1949 as a clerk in the Police Records Department in Dar-es-Salaam. In 1952 and 1953 he was a member of a team from the United States undertaking a study tour of the Belgian Congo (now Zaire).

He moved to Salisbury (Harare) in 1953 and worked for the Indian High Commissioner. One of his responsibilities was the production of a regular information bulletin. He was one of the founders, in 1955, of the ANYL, being closely associated with James Chikerema and George Nyandoro. In September 1956 he was deported from Southern Rhodesia to Nyasaland where he soon became prominent in the Nyasaland African Congress. He spent 1957 and 1958 studying the economics of under-developed countries at Fircroft College, Birmingham, England. He returned to Nyasaland at Dr Hastings Banda‚Äôs request and became Secretary-General of the ANC. He organised the emergency conference of Congress January 1959) which sparked off disturbances and led to his arrest on 14 March. On his release in September 1960 he became Secretary-General of the Malawi Congress Party and was a member of the Nyasaland delegation to the Federal Review Conference in December 1960.

He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Nyasaland Ministry of Finance in 1961-62 and organised an international economic symposium in 1962. He was killed in a car crash near Zomba, Nyasaland, on 2 September 1962.

Dunduza Chisiza was reputed to be extremely intelligent and a brilliant orator who charmed both friend and foe. He was a ready and easy mixer, with a fondness for social life. Always ready to make or share in a joke, he greatly enjoyed teasing people. He was at home in the company of all men, regardless of their station in life. ln the Matapi hostel, where he lived during his time in Salisbury (Harare), he shared a room with two ordinary Africans with whom he was on the best of terms, but who never knew the real quality of their companion. He was also an accomplished dancer. His easy-going manner, however, concealed a man who held very strong political and moral principles. “I am a citizen of Africa,” he used to say, “Africa is my state.” At one time he joined the Bahai Faith but left when he found that the teaching was opposed to involvement in political affairs. “It is a religion for free people whose countries are free from foreign domination,” he said.