By Margaret Kamba
Various ZIPRA liberation war fighters trained by the late National Hero Cde Stanley Nleya have described his death as a great loss of ZIPRA’s think-tank.
Cde Christopher Ndiweni liberation war name was Ntandokayise Sitsha said the late National Hero instilled discipline which carried them through the struggle.
“I left home for Botswana for training in 1976 where I stayed for six months. From there I left for Nambundo where I met Cde Stanley Gagisa. We are all here because of him. We knew him even before we got there and he told us that if we needed to be successful in bringing freedom to our country, we had to be disciplined. He wanted us to have a symbol of a soldier carrying a child meaning we were the ones who were meant to protect the people,” Cde Ndiweni said.
“He made sure that he laid the ground for us on how we were meant to be soldiers. At Emlungushi it was written at the gate that “This was a ZIPRA zone, dig in or die” and this meant that we had to follow the rules or die. The camp was being bombed daily and anytime and it was important that to adhere to the rules so that we don’t die.”
Cde Meyiwa Mzobe liberation name Bigboy Dlodlo described Cde Nleya as a humble soldier who preached unity.
“I was trained by the National hero Cde Stanley Nleya and he was a soldier, a commander and a leader. The entire ZIPRA leadership came out of him. He was humble and he preached unity among soldiers. Cde Nleya was a hard worker. He underwent high training in Lebanon and Palestine and operated in these areas,” Cde Mzobe said.
“He was a strategist, a think tank of the ZIPRA High Command under Nikita Mangena and Mike Renalls Umkaradi. They drafted strategies used in the operations by the likes of Richard Mataure among others.
He was not an ordinary soldier all the tactics made ZIPRA what it was. Training was hard but you appreciated the training once in the front. The entire ZIPRA Army Nicholas Dube and Basuthu among others including Sibusiso Moyo came out of the training from Cde Nleya. We are grateful for this hero’s status. He deserved it.”
Cde Fidelis Moyo also took time to describe Cde Nleya as a straightforward soldier who never forgot his own.
“When I grew up I knew something called the Ndambe. So the time I left for war liberation struggle I met him at the CTT camp. There had been a group that was undisciplined and he taught that group discipline and hard training. Later when I met him, he made a group of 250 people cross the Zambezi
He loved his soldiers and the rigorous training that he gave us was tremendous. When he joined the ZNA, he did not forget his people. He united each of us. We have lost a straight forward man. He was not greedy but shared what he had.”