1961 Chairman, Salisbury (Harare) District, NDP.
1961-62 Chairman, Salisbury (Harare) District, ZAPU.
1965 ZANU Representative in Malawi.
1975 (Sept.) Chairman, Education, Welfare and Health, ZLA.

Stanley Parirewa was born in Salisbury (Harare) on 28 January 1928. His father was at one time a cook for the Governor, Sir Herbert Stanley (hence his first name) and he himself is an uncle of James Chikerema (although three years his junior).

He attended Parirewa School at Domboshawa as far as Standard 1 and in 1942 went to Chishawasha Mission, reaching Standard VI in 1945. He then attended Kutama Mission where he obtained his junior Certificate in 1948. While at Kutama he was sent political literature by James Chikerema but he maintains that at that time it meant nothing to him.

After leaving school Stanley Parirewa became a teacher – somewhat unwittingly at first, since he took up his first post (at Daramombe Mission, near Buhera) under the impression that he was to be employed as a clerk. After the initial shock, however, he found himself enjoying the work and he remained a teacher until 1955.

Returning to Salisbury (Harare) he found himself caught up in the newly-formed ANYL through association with James Chikerema, one of the founders. During the next two years he met many nationalists who have since become prominent – including Edson Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi and Thompson Gonese,1 – and absorbed much of their early thinking on politics and political strategy. He maintains that the emphasis was on unity and that it was for this reason that Joshua Nkomo was invited to become President of the re-formed ANCongress in 1957, it being felt that by this means the Ndebele would be drawn into the movement.

At this period Parirewa was working for a textile concern but his arrest and three-month detention order in 1959 earned him the sack. “I was told,” he says, “that I was a threat to their labour force.” Realising that his record would make it difficult for him to find alternative employment, he became more and more involved in political work2 He became Chairman of the Salisbury (Harare) District, firstly in the NDP and subsequently in ZAPU. This important post brought him into frequent clashes with the authorities, and he was “subjected to repeated short spells in the police cells”.

When the nationalist movement broke apart in mid-1963 Parirewa joined ZANU. The President, the Rev. N. Sithole, appointed him as one of ZANU’s representatives in Lusaka.

He did not, however, remain long in the north. A period of gun-running in the Congo (now Zaire) led to his imprisonment and he would, he says, have “rotted” there if it had not been for a “tough cookie” (an Englishwoman called Delphin Park) who arranged his release and drove him to Chingola (on the Copperbelt). The Zambian Government promptly deported him to Southern. Rhodesia where he faced almost certain detention. Luck, however, was on his side. The speed of his expulsion ensured that the immigration authorities at Salisbury (Harare) Airport were not watching for him and he managed to slip in unnoticed on an aircraft which arrived at midnight.

Parirewa went ‘underground’ with Noel Mukono but was almost picked up during an intensive police search during 1964. He managed, however, to join a bus-load of hotel waiters travelling to Malawi to attend the independence celebrations3 and so left the country unobserved. From Malawi he travelled to Mocambique, from where he was despatched to Ghana to represent ZANU in that country.

In December 1965 he was appointed ZANU representative in Malawi but he held this post for only six months before being transferred to Lusaka. He was appointed a member of the ‘Revolutionary Council’. In 1971, however, he resigned in order to join FROLIZI which had been formed by James Chikerema in an attempt to co-ordinate insurgent activities. After a year, he concluded that the setting up of FROLIZI had only created three warring groups where two existed before. He rejoined ZANU as an ordinary member. In September 1975 he was given the responsibility in the ZLA for education, welfare and health projects. Since the Zambian Government does not extend refugee status to Africans from Rhodesia, the welfare
committee, he says, keeps him fully occupied.

Stanley Parirewa is a well-built, rugged man with greying hair and weatherbeaten features. He has piercing eyes with a hint of humour in them. His manner is relaxed and easygoing but there is no doubting the strength of his convictions on nationalism. He attributes these, in part, to an experience which his father allegedly suffered at the hands of the police in the 1930s. Arrested for striking a trooper who was inspecting dog licences, he was (says Stanley) handcuffed and forced to run for 30 miles (48 km) to Goromonzi behind the mounted policeman.

1 Gonese dropped out of the movement in later years, a casualty to social pressures.
2 Although he did obtain work for a while with an African newspaper firm in 1959-60.
3 July 1964.