1978 – Administrative Secretary for Women’s Affairs

1980 – Member of Parliament for Midlands Constituency ZANU PF

Mrs. Eddison Zvobgo was born Julia Whande in 1937, in Selukwe (Shurugwi).  Her parents were peasant farmers, and there were two brothers and five sisters.

Although the family was Methodist, Julia attended the Dutch Reformed Missionary School at Morgenster, near Fort Victoria (Masvingo).  After a spell at Mucheke Government School she went to Gutu where she entered for teacher training. 

With a spell of teaching, and helping in her father’s business to interrupt her training she went, in 1961, to Usher Mission, a Salvation Army training institute at Figtree to train in Domestic Science.  She did not complete this course because she had met her future husband who was at Tegwani and was about to depart for America on a scholarship to study.  The couple married in order to be able to go together to America.  However, Julia waited at home for the arrival of her first-born and her journey to America was further delayed when Eddison returned home in March 1963.  He was arrested at the Airport and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.

He was released on bail and ZANU was formed in August 1963.  Julia, who was expecting her second child during this time, kept out of political activity.  

Eddison junior was born in 1964.  ZANU was banned in August, her husband detained and restricted and she returned to her family until January 1965. 

Her husband has told the story of her attempts to move near his place of restriction at Sikombela.  In 1968 she returned to her parents in Nuanentsi while her husband tried to get her to the UK because she had been harassed by the police on suspicion of carrying political messages.  In August 1968 she arrived at the Adult Education College at Hillcroft in Surrey where she studied for a year.  She won a United Nations Scholarship and went to Leeds Polytechnic to do Hotel and Institutional Management.  In 1971 she qualified with a diploma in International Management.  Eddison arrived in August after his release during the visit of the Pearce Commission to Rhodesia.  He had been restricted in his movements but slipped out of the country. 

In 1973 their third child was born in America where Eddison was studying.  Julia worked hard to help support the family since her husband’s scholarship provided only slender resources for them all.  But once he was employed at the Boston Law School, Julia was able to resume her studies with the understanding and help from her husband with the children.  In 1977 she obtained her degree, a B.A. in Political Science. 

Eddison left for Mozambique and she moved to Notre Dame University where she obtained a Master of Science Degree in Administration in August 1978. 

She joined her husband in Mozambique in September and started her serious political career.  her first appointment was her election in May 1979 as Administrative Secretary for Women’s Affairs.   She took on the duties of attending to the problems of women in military and refugee camps.

“Daily life began at early dawn in the camps.  There were exercises, roll-call, breakfast and then military instruction.  I attended to administrative work and supervised projects of youngsters who, with few materials, and make-shift premises, would move out fro the camp taking their sewing, typing and work with them. 

When materials were destroyed in the bombing, the indomitable spirit of the youngsters sent us in search of new materials.  Our young friends were being killed, injured and maimed, but we developed a great human bond and a closeness that is hard to describe.  You go on as if you knew each as your own child.  We gained greatly in breaking tribal and family barriers – even as the dresses were passed around in a spirit of sharing,” she said. 

When she returned home in December 1979 to win her seat as an M.P. for the Midlands Constituency for ZANU (PF) she began almost immediately to campaign for the raising of all Zimbabwe’s women through equality of education and other opportunities.  Late in March 1980 she addressed the Social and Cultural section of the N.U.F.1 and gave a stimulating talk on her high aspirations for the future of the women and all of the people of Zimbabwe.     


1 National Unifying Force