n_shamuyarira1968-71 Secretary for External Affairs, ZANU.
1972-73 Treasurer, FROLIZI.
1977-78 Director of the Department of Education and Admin. Secretary, ZANU.
1980 – MP Mashonaland West, ZANU PF, Minister of Information & Tourism, Zimbabwe. 

Nathan Shamuyarira was born in 1929, the son of an evangelist in the Methodist Church. For eight years he attended Waddilove Institute and qualified there as a primary school teacher. After leaving Waddilove he taught at various local schools, using his spare time to complete his secondary education by correspondence. He then taught for a time at Tegwani Secondary School near Plumtree.

From 1950 until early 1953 he taught animal husbandry at Domboshawa. Arriving in Salisbury (Harare) on 5 May 1953 he obtained a job as a cub reporter with African Newspapers Ltd. He rose steadily in the Company, becoming the first editor of the African Daily News in 1956. From july 1959 until September 1962 he was Editor-in-Chief of African Newspapers Ltd., a post from which he resigned over various policy issues.

In 1953 he joined the Inter-Racial Association where his sense of humour and balanced attitude towards the problems of a mixed society made a deep impression on the white members1 In 1956, in his capacity as a reporter, he attended the Capricorn Africa Society convention at Salima, Nyasaland (now Malawi). As a bright and personable journalist, opportunities to travel came his way on several occasions. In January 1959 he was invited to take part in a six-week tour of Britain as a member of a group of Commonwealth journalists. In September of the following year he left Salisbury (Harare) on a three-month tour of the United States. In 1962 he was persuaded by Dr Parirenyatwa2 to join ZAPU which was at that time making a determined effort to recruit intellectual Africans into its ranks. Shamuyarira’s action was symptomatic of the mood of that era – the rush to independence throughout Africa, coupled with the clearly impending demise of the Central African Federation, was making the inter-racial attempts of the 1950s seem outmoded and futile.

In September 1962 ZAPU was banned and Shamuyarira’s house was searched by the police.3 In the following month (although not an office-bearer in the movement) he was chosen by Joshua Nkomo to accompany him when he travelled to New York to appear as a petitioner before the United Nations. On his return to Southern Rhodesia Shamuyarira was given an appointment as Lecturer in Adult Education at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in Salisbury (Harare). In May 1963 he joined with Josiah Chinamano in the organisation of a petition to R. A. Butler, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, against any suggestion of granting Southern Rhodesia independence on the break-up of the Federation.4 During the months after his return from New York he had been steadily becoming more critical of the leadership of Joshua Nkomo and in July 1963 he joined forces with those who ‘denounced’ him at the meeting of the executive in Dar-es·Salaam.5 He joined the break-away party, ZANU, on its foundation in August 1963.

In September 19646 he left Southern Rhodesia to study political science at Princeton University, USA. He remained in the United States until he graduated B.Sc. in 1967. Following his graduation he was offered, and accepted, a post as lecturer in Political Science at the University of Dar-es-Salaam.

Despite his academic duties, however, he maintained a close involvement in nationalist politics, being appointed ZANU Secretary for External Affairs in 1968. Two years later he was consulted by James Chikerema7 on the chances of unifying the ZANU and ZAPU elements in Lusaka within a single body. Shamuyarira welcomed this move and when FROLIZI was formed, late in 1971, he became its Treasurer. This necessitated his resignation from the University of Dar-es-Salaam.

In 1973 Shamuyarira became dissatisfied with the way FROLIZI was being run – in particular with the methods of Herbert Chitepo “who was not as democratic as one would have wished”. In mid-1973 he resigned as Treasurer and resumed his former post with the University of Dar-es-Salaam.

Nathan Shamuyarira still supports the ideal of unity under the banner of an enlarged ANC. As a full-time academic he cannot undertake a great deal of active work for the movement but his commitment to the “liberation of Zimbabwe” remains as strong as ever.  He is particularly interesting on the subject of exile. He says that people working outside Rhodesia face many problems: they feel they belong to no country, they become homesick; because they form a small, tightly-knit community, they find that differences of opinion become magnified. On their travels they meet with varying receptions. In some countries they are welcomed, but in others they are made to feel like stateless aliens. Long delays at airports (while documents are being studied) are common. They encounter a great deal of ignorance and misunderstanding; in certain countries they are looked down upon for having failed to mobilise the black population to “get rid of a mere 250 000 whites”.

Shamuyarira is very conscious of the fact that his involvement in the nationalist cause has hampered his progress in an academic career. On the other hand, he feels that his experiences in East Africa have given him a close insight into the best way of “transforming a colonial society into a socialist one”. At the same time he is not dogmatic on the question of what kind of government should be introduced into Rhodesia. “There should be a referendum,” he says – but his own beliefs lie in the direction of a synthesis of the best of both capitalism and socialism8

In 1977, Nathan Shamuyarira left Tanzania to rejoin the active liberation struggle in Mozambique.  he was appointed Director of the Department of Education in that year, and in 1978 was appointed as Administrative Secretary.  When the elections were announced, he returned to Zimbabwe to campaign for the party’s campaign.  Working closely with Dr. Eddison Zvobgo, the Director, and Maurice Nyagumbo, the Deputy Director, the traveled throughout the country to encourage support at party rallies and to educate the electorate in the voting procedures.

After he won his parliamentary seat , Dr Shamuyarira was appointed Minister of Information in the first Independent Zimbabwe Government.  He was immediately in great demand with the local public  and the world press clamoring to have his views on the nature of the new government.    Acting with his customary calm, he kept an appointment with the National Affairs Association, made before he became a minister, and gave an address to a large audience in Salisbury (Harare).  His objective was to persuade white Zimbabweans to reassess their role in the new Zimbabwe and to contribute actively towards its success.  In spite of the fact that he had been arrested and detained by the police in Salisbury (Harare) scarcely a week before, he was not vindictive, but appealed for realism and reconciliation. 

He does not believe that the struggle is entirely over and that any Zimbabwean may rest on his laurels: “We have come to the end of an era in continuing struggle.  Zimbabwe constitutes another trench in the battle for human rights and for the self-determination and total liberation of the African continent. The struggle against imperialism and colonialism will continue, as will the forces against internal reaction.”

These are not mere words.  Nathan Shamuyarira has always been a man of action and he has returned from long exile to give his talents to the building and reconstruction of his country. 

He is married to Dorothy Mandimika, a nursing sister who came originally from Umtali (Mutare). Dorothy is at present teaching nursing at the Muhimbili Teaching Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam. There are no children of the marriage.

Crisis in Rhodesia (Andre Deutsch, 1965).

1 Many of whom saw in Nathan Shamuyarira, and in Africans like him, the best hope tor a mixed society in Rhodesia.
2 See entry on Dr T. S. Parirenyatwa.
3 His roof was damaged but he was later compensated.
4 This took place on 31 December 1963.
5 See entry on the Rev. N. Sithole.
6 The month in which most of the ZANU leaders were arrested and detained.
7 See entry on James Chikerema tor details.
8 Interview with D.M.M., December 1975.