1964 Secretary for International Affairs, ZANU.
1975 (1 Sept.) Head of the Committee for Diplomatic and International Labour Relations, ZLC.
Simpson Mtambanengwe was born in December 1930 at the Old Umtali (Mutare) Mission in the Eastern Districts of Rhodesia. His father, a minister of the United Methodist Church, was a member of the Ndau tribe. Simpson was one of eight children (four boys and four girls), of whom one boy and one girl were twins. He was educated up to Standard VI at Mutambara Mission and then went to Goromonzi School where he obtained good results in both the ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels of the General Certificate of Education. After leaving school he taught for a year at the Old Umtali (Mutare) Mission1 He entered the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1957, being one of the first students2 He studied English and History (with Latin) and graduated B.A. in 1959.3 For the first half of 1960 he again taught at Old Umtali (Mutare).
In late 1960 he travelled to England where he gained admission to the Inner Temple. During his time in England he became President of the Zimbabwe Students’ Union which was at that time a strongly activist political body.
He returned to Rhodesia in 1964 and at once studied for admission to the local Bar. In April he attended the ZANU congress in Gwelo (Gweru) and was elected Secretary for International Affairs. In July, after successfully sitting his Bar examinations, he travelled again to London where he took part in the protest gatherings at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ conference. With the majority of nationalist leaders by then in detention in Rhodesia, he decided to remain outside the country. From 1964 until the present day he has been engaged in political work, first in London and subsequently in Lusaka.4
He was a member of the ANC’s legal team at the Victoria Falls talks in August 1975. Following his return to Lusaka he was appointed to be in charge of diplomatic and international labour relations in the ZLC.
It was announced on 15 October 1976 that he had been appointed a member of the delegation from the ANC (Muzorewa) to the Geneva conference. In 1967 he married a girl from Rhodesia (whom he met overseas). They have three sons, all of whom are being educated in Zambia. Simpson Mtambanengwe is described by those who know him well as “a very determined character who is reserved, but also friendly by nature”.
1 During part of this period Bishop Muzorewa was also teaching at the mission.
2 Of the initial intake of African students, a large proportion had been at Goromonzi School under the headmastership ol` A. P. Knottenbelt.
3 He was also a prominent member of the Students’ Representative Council and travelled to South America to attend a students’ conference at Lima, Peru, in january 1959 (representing the National Association of Federal Students).
4 He was a member of the ANC delegation at the OAU summit conference in Kampala in July 1975 at which Idi Amin was elected President.