Joseph Chimurenga is a self-educated man who became responsible for one of the three operational zones within Rhodesia in which ZANLA was active between 1973 and 1975. He first became a guerrilla fighter in 1966 and served for a time with the Frelimo forces in the Tete Province.

In March 1975 he was detained in Lusaka in connection with the Chitepo murder. During his time in prison he signed a confession of guilt but alleges that this was the result of torture. He was brought to trial on 21 April 1976 but acquitted on 20 October. He is married to a fellow-guerrilla fighter.