The National Heroes Acre, our revered shrine, is the pride of the people of Zimbabwe. It is a symbol of bravery and selflessness for those whose remains are laid to rest there. Towering majestically is the Tomb of the Unknown soldier which symbolises the final resting place for tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our freedom and independence, but whose remains are scatered in the valleys, disused mines, caves, unknown graves and mass graves spread accross the nation and neighbouring states.
Cde Maurice Nyagumbo, one of Zimbabwe's veteran nationalists in the struggle for independence, died in Harare on April 20, 1989. The former Senior Minister of Political Affairs and Secretary for Administration of the Nyagumbo, Maurice Tapfumaneyi. ZANU PF Politburo and Central Committee was buried at the national Heroes Acre on April 23.
Born in Makoni near Rusape on December 12, 1924, he went to St Faith Anglican Mission and St Augustine's Penhalonga for his primary education. He then worked in South Africa, where he developed an interest in politics and became a member of the Communist party. He was deported from South Africa because of his political activities. Back home he became a founder member of the Youth League in 1955. In 1959 he joined the African National Congress and later that year he was detained, subsequently beginning what was to be his long career in prison. On his release in 1963, he joined ZANU and at its inaugural congress of 1964 was elected to the party's central committee. When the party was banned later that year, Cde Nyagumbo was one of its leaders who were not arrested. He became a link between the detained party leaders and members of the Central Committee in Zambia and Tanzania; and later between the Revolutionary Council in the Zambian capital and guerrillas who had entered the country after the Chinhoyi Battle of 1966. From 1967-1973 Cde Nyagumbo was detained at Salisbury Prison and Que Que. On his release, he got involved in the recruitment of cadres for the armed struggle, for which he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released in 1979.In all, he spent about 21 years in prison or detention for his part in the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe. While in detention, he spent most of his time writing a book - With the People - published soon after independence.
Cde Nyagumbo was elected to the House of Assembly in 1980 and subsequently appointed Minister of Mines. He later became Minister of Political Affairs until 1988, when he was appointed Senior Minister of State for Political Affairs Cde Nyagumbo resigned from his cabinet and party posts on April 13, 1989 following the publication of the Sandura Commission Report on the sale of motor vehicles to the public by Willowvale Motor Industries. At the time of his death, a wife and six children survived Cde Nyagumbo.