Difference between revisions of "Samhuri Ngonidzashe"

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[[File:Kugarakunzwana.jpg|150px|thumb|[[Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe]], 2013]]
 
Samhuri Ngonidzashe married the 18-year old [[Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe]] in 1918 in a marriage arranged by their parents. According to Samhuri, their marriage was "fruitful and happy," with the marriage lasting until his death in 1961. Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe died in 2014 at the age of 113, and never remarried: at the time of her death, she was the oldest person living in [[Rwizikuru]].
 
Samhuri Ngonidzashe married the 18-year old [[Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe]] in 1918 in a marriage arranged by their parents. According to Samhuri, their marriage was "fruitful and happy," with the marriage lasting until his death in 1961. Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe died in 2014 at the age of 113, and never remarried: at the time of her death, she was the oldest person living in [[Rwizikuru]].
  

Latest revision as of 20:40, 12 October 2019

His Excellency

Samhuri Ngonidzashe
Léon M'ba 1964.jpg
Samhuri Ngonidzashe in 1952
President of Rwizikuru
In office
2 July, 1946 – 2 July, 1954
Vice PresidentShungudzemwoyo Nhema (1946-1950)
Vudzijena Nhema (1950-1954)
Preceded byShungudzemwoyo Nhema as Premier of Riziland
Succeeded byIzibongo Ngonidzashe
Personal details
Born
Daniel Samhuri Ngonidzashe

c. 1899
Vongai, Riziland
Died2 July, 1961 (age 61-62)
Port Fitzhubert, Rwizikuru
NationalityEstmerish (1899-1946)
Rwizikuran (1946-1961)
Political partyRwizikuran National Movement (1927-1946)
Mubatanidzwa weRusununguko rweRwizikuru (1946-1959)
Spouse(s)Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe
Children9, including Izibongo Ngonidzashe
Military service
AllegianceRwizicolonialflaga.png Riziland
Service/branchColonial Militia
Years of service1926-1936
RankWarrant officer

Samhuri Ngonidzashe (c. 1899 - 2 July, 1961) was an anti-colonial activist who organized the Rwizikuran National Movement, which helped end Estmerish rule over Rwizikuru. Following its independence in 1946, he was sworn as the first President of Rwizikuru, as per the constitution of Rwizikuru, and served two terms, having been re-elected in 1950, before handing power to his son, Izibongo Ngonidzashe in 1954.

Samhuri Ngonidzashe was born in Vongai, and went to school in Vongai, but was forced to drop out in 1912 due to lack of money. After moving to Port Fitzhubert in 1916, he found a job, and was able to save money so when he returned to Vongai to marry his wife, he was able to live better than his parents. In 1923, he returned to Port Fitzhubert so his children could obtain a better education than he ever could. There, he became a lay preacher, and soon discovered the underbelly of racism. In 1926, when the Great War started, he joined the colonial militia, and served until 1933, when he fell ill with malaria. After recovering, he returned to the militia in 1934, and served until 1937. That year, he established the Rwizikuran National Movement, and over the next decade, he saw its growth into a dominant political force which led Rwizikuru to independence from Estmere in 1946.

As President, he oversaw the development of infrastructure and sought to build a national identity which was inclusive of the veRwizi and the Wopoto peoples. While he did succeed in developing infrastructure, healthcare, and education, he met significant resistance from Alai Aboydu Tsalar, who sought increased autonomy for Yekumavirira.

Following the expiration of his second term in 1954, he peacefully handed over power to Izibongo Ngonidzashe, and took up a seat in the National Assembly, where he served as speaker until his deteriorating health forced him to retire in 1960.

Early life

Samhuri Ngonidzashe was born sometime in 1899 in Vongai to Mutupo Ngonidzashe, and Chivaraidzo Ngonidzashe, as the seventh child, and the second son.

In 1904, he entered the mission school in Vongai, where he was baptized as a High Estmerian, and took the name of Daniel. At the mission school, he was described as having "excellent potential" to be a High Estmerian minister, due to his "quick absorption and application" of the concepts he learned in school. He was seen as being incredibly learned by his teachers.

While Samhuri Ngonidzashe wanted to continue his studies after he finished compulsory education in 1912, his family's poverty prevented him from continuing his studies. Thus, he was forced to work at his family's farm.

His fortunes started to change when in 1916, he made his first trip to Port Fitzhubert to find work. There, he found a job as a servant with a white family, and met Shungudzemwoyo Ngonidzashe there. At his job, he admitted that:

"While the Fulkers [the family Samhuri and Shungudzemwoyo worked for] paid well, and the work itself was not stressful, the attitudes of the family towards us were counter to the values I had held so dearly: they saw us as lower than them because of our skin, while I believed that we are brothers in Sotiras."

In 1918, after receiving news that he was to marry Kugarakunzwana Mbangwa, he quit his job and returned to Vongai, where he married her. With his savings, he was able to find a "better life" in Vongai than that of his parents, with him getting a job as a lay preacher at his old mission school.

However, in 1923, realizing that Gamuchirai would be entering school the following year, he realized that if he stayed in Vongai, his children would not receive an opportunity to better themselves. Thus, he and his wife moved back to Port Fitzhubert, and their home was sold to some white settlers.

With the proceeds of the sale of their home in Vongai, they were able to buy a "well-off" home close to the Euclean core of town, and had enough left over to get Gamuchirai and Izibongo to attend the Charles Fitzhubert School, as well as find a new job as a lay preacher at a nearby church. He soon made contact again with Shungudzemwoyo Nhema, where he discovered that the Fulker's fired him in 1922 after having spoken up against the Fulker's increasing mistreatment of their Bahian servants.

He noted that the conversation with Nhema:

"...caused my blood to boil in pure and unbridled anger. As we recounted our experiences of racism in our adulthood in Port Fitzhubert, compared to the values that we were taught [in school], I realized that there is something wrong, something unnatural with Estmerish rule over this land. I couldn't quite place what, but I knew it had to be there."

Over the next few years, many at his church talked to him about the racism that they have faced by colonial officials and by Eucleans who have come to Riziland, and combined with his experiences in dealing with racism directed at him, he began to feel that Estmerish rule was inherently unjust.

Military service

By the time the Great War begun in earnest in June 1926, despite his beliefs that Estmerish rule over Riziland was unjust, he enlisted in the colonial militia, saying that "it is better for us natives to deal with the devil we know as opposed to gamble with the devil we don't know."

After training, he was deployed in October to Port Graham, where he would live for the next five years. In Port Graham, he was assigned to defend the city from Gaullican attack by both sea and land, as Port Graham was the end of the rail line to Port Fitzhubert. While Port Graham was subject to several bombardments by the Gaullicans during his time in Port Graham, from both sea and air, he never faced a serious attempt by the Gaullicans or their colonial troops in Quigomba to attack Port Graham. By 1928, he had risen to the rank of Sergeant, and by 1930, to that of warrant officer.

By 1931, he had been redeployed from Port Graham to Rusere, where he noted that the conditions there were significantly harsher than in Port Graham. In 1933, he fell seriously ill with malaria, and nearly died from it. However, "divine providence," combined with treatment in Port Fitzhubert helped him recover from the illness, and he returned to service in 1934, although he was reassigned to Port Fitzhubert as a sentry to guard an armoury.

After the end of the Great War in February 1935, he maintained his position as sentry, while the military downsized, with the threat from Gaullica having passed. In March 1936, he was given a honourable discharge, allowing him to leave the colonial militia.

Early political career

With the end of the war, he and Shungudzemwoyo Nhema decided to establish the Rwizikuran National Movement in 1937. They believed that with the end of the Great War, the war had, according to him:

"...thoroughly destroyed the notion that Euclean imperialism can be maintained by the defeat and destruction of the Entente forces. For the victors to continue to maintain their imperial rule over the colonies in Bahia are thoroughly unacceptable, and are a direct insult to all the Bahians who died in the war."

Thus, on 1 May, 1937, the two held a conference in Port Fitzhubert to establish the Rwizikuran National Movement, with sixty people attending, most of whom were those who served alongside Ngonidzashe during the Great War.

Over the next few months, he and Nhema travelled across Rwizikuru to encourage people to join. He notably paid a visit to the recently annexed city of Saint-Germain in August, where he was met with a positive reception by many of the Bahian community, especially by the local veRwizi.

By the start of 1938, the Rwizikuran National Movement had around ten thousand members. At around this time, the colonial authorities began to be concerned about Samhuri Ngonidzashe's and Shungudzemwoyo Nhema's activities, as the authorities deemed them to be a threat to the stability of the colony of Riziland.

After a speech in March 1939 in Crogan, a police officer arrested Samhuri Ngonidzashe for sedition after making a speech condemning colonial rule. The arrest garnered outcry by many Bahians, and in his trial in January 1940, when he was tried in an all-white jury. There, Samhuri Ngondizashe hired prominent lawyer Barnabas Figgins to give the defense. Figgins said that:

"The accusations of sedition against my client is patently untrue. In his speech in Crogan, he never expressed any statements urging the Bahian population to promote any ill-will between the Bahian population and the colonial government. What he was saying was that the colonial government should be more representative of the Bahian population, and prepare the Bahians for independence at some point in the future."

The prosecution responded with claims that Samhuri Ngonidzashe's speeches since the establishment of the Rwizikuran National Movement were advocating an end to colonial rule "by any means possible," and therefore, it has demonstrated a clear pattern of sedition.

After a few weeks of deliberation, an all-white jury convicted Samhuri Ngonidzashe of sedition, and the judge sentenced him to life in prison, with parole after twenty-five years.

The verdict garnered outrage by many veRwizi, and Samhuri Ngonidzashe launched an appeal against the verdict, citing flagrant biases by the all-white jury, and the fact the prosecution's case was more focused on his general pattern as opposed to the specific speech at Crogan, which he was arrested for. Thus, in October 1940, the Court of Appeal heard the case, and ordered a retrial.

In March 1941, the retrial was held, and after rehashing the defense and the arguments of the prosecution, a jury comprised of six Bahians and six Eucleans agreed to acquit Samhuri Ngonidzashe.

Rise to power

Negotiations in Ashcombe, 1945

At around this time, Riziland was granted limited self-government by Estmere, in an effort to heed off independence. This included the establishment of a sixteen member legislative council, with eight legislators being elected from the Eucleans, and eight from the Bahian community.

This greatly outraged Samhuri Ngonidzashe, who wrote to Shungudzemwoyo Nhema, saying:

"In an attempt to maintain their illegitimate colonial rule over Rwizikuru, the varungu have decided to create a legislature in which we ostensibly have a say, but in practice do not, for the vote of a murungu is worth the votes of two-hundred-fourty-one Bahians."

To his surprise, Nhema felt that it was essential for the Rwizikuran National Movement to compete in the upcoming legislative elections.

This shocked Ngonidzashe, who said that "it is pointless for blacks to participate in these farce elections when the real power will remain in the hands of the whites."

Ultimately, they decided that while the RNM can run candidates, as per Nhema's wishes, Ngonidzashe would try and convince the Bahian population to not vote in the elections. Thus, over the next few months, while Nhema campaigned for the RNM candidates, Ngonidzashe sought to convince the Bahians to stay home and not vote.

Thus, in September 1941, the turnout for the elections was at 30%, as while 80% of the white community voted, only 30% of the black community voted. The Rwizikuran National Movement also did not do well, only gaining two seats, compared to the Movement for the Advancement of Bahians in Riziland, led by Mazomba Tungamirai, who gained three of the eight Bahian seats.

Thus, it seemed to Samhuri Ngonidzashe proof that "the system had been rigged to hamper the ambitions of the black community." However, with the white roll split between the Gaullophone Alliance paysanne and the Anglophone Conservative Front, Samhuri and Nhema felt that it might be possible for the Rwizikuran National Movement to influence politics.

In 1942, Nhema was able to influence the government to amend the bill to grant official language status to veRwizi, alongside Estmerish and Gaullican, after threatening to end an agreement which allowed the Rwizikuran National Movement to support the AP. With this success, combined with many others over the next few years, Samhuri Ngonidzashe began to be convinced that it may be possible for the black community to use the legislature to advance independence.

By 1945, with the legislative council dissolved for another election, Ngonidzashe and Nhema decided to campaign together for the Rwizikuran National Movement, and to encourage the Bahian population to register and vote for the Rwizikuran National Movement, on a platform of independence. Thus, in August, the Rwizikuran National Movement succeeded in taking all eight of the Bahian seats, while the Conservative Front and Alliance paysanne each had four of the white seats.

Thus, there was substantial tension as the Conservative Front and the Alliance paysanne tried to negotiate a coalition between the two parties, in order to prevent Nhema from becoming Premier. However, numerous issues forced AP leader and outgoing Premier Jean-Louis Milhaud to abandon the negotiations by 15 October, and instead negotiate an agreement with the Rwizikuran National Movement, where they came to an agreement on supporting the RNM on any confidence vote, and any agreement with Estmere.

This enabled Nhema to become Premier on 23 October, 1945, and thus allowed negotiations to begin with the Estmerish authorities. At this point, the Estmerish government was tied down in the Solarian War against Solaria. Thus, according to Samhuri Ngondizashe:

"It would be incredibly easy at this point to demand immediate independence: if they are unwilling to grant us immediate independence, then we should begin to fight for independence. Such a strategy would force Estmere to decide whether they wish to continue their unjust rule over Rwizikuru, or to continue fighting against Etruria."

To their surprise, the negotiations were quick, as Estmere was more than willing to grant independence to Riziland, although they agreed to have the independence date be on 2 December, 1946. While Samhuri Ngonidzashe was privately disappointed by the turn of events, he was also delighted that the Estmerish have realized that colonial rule was no longer tenable.

Thus, over the next several months, preparations were made for an independent Rwizikuru: a constitution was drafted, national symbols adopted, renaming the Rwizikuran National Movement to the Mubatanidzwa weRusununguko rweRwizikuru, and finally, holding elections in September, where Samhuri Ngonidzashe was to run for the newly-established post of President, with Shungudzemwoyo Nhema being nominated as his running mate for the vice-presidency. He won with 57% of the vote, compared to Mubatanidzwa weVakuru's candidate, Carter Chimutengwende, who won with 43% of the vote.

Presidency

First term

Samhuri Ngonidzashe, 1946

On 2 December, 1946, he presided over the independence ceremonies at Port Fitzhubert, alongside the outgoing Governor of Riziland, (TBD). At the independence ceremonies, he was sworn in as the first President of Rwizikuru, and swore to uphold the Rwizikuran constitution. Following this, outgoing Premier Shungudzemwoyo Nhema was sworn in as Vice-President. With this, he and his family moved to the Presidential Palace, formerly Government House.

Almost immediately, Samhuri Ngonidzashe and the government began to set out on a "nation-building" policy to unite the veRwizi and the Wopoto peoples under one nation, with Samhuri stating that "it is inconceivable for the Rwizikuran people to be two nations in one state."

To this end, he set to reduce the role of Estmerish in schools, and in April 1947, he passed the First Amendment which amended the constitution so the veRwizi language text of the constitution would take precedence over the Estmerish version, and to restrict Estmerish language instruction to a single subject, with Estmerish to only be used as a language of instruction in areas with a sizable Estmerish varungu population.

In addition, he almost immediately set out to improve the infrastructure between the cities of Port Fitzhubert, Port Graham, and Saint-Germain (present-day Port Tsalar, Nasana). To this end, he envisioned a mugwagwa, or motorway, to connect all three cities, and to improve telephone connections.

By the end of his first year in office, Samhuri Ngonidzashe had garnered high approval ratings among the veRwizi people. However, his focus on promoting the weRwizi language as the national language started to alienate the Wopoto people.

Despite this, he pressed on: in 1948, he began preparations for a national radio network called the Nhepfenyuro mubatanidzwa yeRwizikuru, or NMR, with transmitters being erected across the country, and trained engineers. On 2 December, 1948, the radio network began to broadcast in the weRwizi language, and the Wopoto language.

As well, Samhuri Ngonidzashe invested effort into standardizing the national curriculum, so to ensure that all students across the country would learn the same things "at the same pace," in order to ensure that a student in Saint-Germain moving to Port Fitzhubert can easily catch up with their peers.

These policies helped improve Samhuri Ngonidzashe's popularity among the veRwizi majority. This allowed him to easily be nominated in June 1950 as the presidential nominee. However, due to Shungudzemwoyo Nhema's declining health, Nhema decided to retire from the vice-presidency after the 1950 elections. In his place, Shungudzemwoyo's nephew, Vudzijena Nhema was selected to be the vice-presidential nominee.

He faced a vigorous campaign against Mubatanidzwa weVakuru's candidate, Tashongedzwa Chiroto, but on 22 September, 1950, he defeated Chiroto with 55% of the vote, compared to Chiroto's 45% of the vote, while the MRR won ninety seats in the National Assembly, and the MV taking the sixty seats in the legislature.

Second term

On 2 December, 1950, Samhuri Ngonidzashe was sworn in for a second term as President, while Vudzijena Nhema was sworn into the Vice-Presidency. Just days after his inauguration, speaker Lucas Maraire died, leaving the MRR to name Samhuri's son, Izibongo Ngonidzashe, as mutauri.

At this point, Alai Abyodu Tsalar established the Yekumavirira Liberation Movement, to advocate for increased autonomy to the district of Yekumavirira, especially over education. Over the next few months, the Yekumavirira Liberation Movement gained a lot of support from the Wopoto living in the country, and in July, he met with Tsalar to negotiate a compromise, in which children attending infant school would be educated in the Wopoto language, and that throughout their education, children will be also taught in Gaullican.

With this agreement made, it was tabled to the National Assembly, which came into effect in August as the Second Amendment to the Rwizikuran constitution.

On 10 September, 1951, after Izibongo Ngonidzashe kicked Cecilia Sands out of the legislature, the rest of the Mubatanidzwa weVakuru, save for Rambwa Dabengwa, left the chamber. On the next legislative day, Izibongo tabled a motion which expelled all those who have left, and called for by-elections. With this passed, Izibongo was able to convince his father to call by-elections on 6 November.

The MV refused to take part in these elections, allowing the MRR to take all the fifty-nine vacant seats, thereby giving the MRR all but a single seat in the National Assembly.

In July 1952, Samhuri Ngonidzashe formally opened the first section of the Mugwagwa, a section connecting Port Fitzhubert with Port Graham, to the public. Later that year, Samhuri Ngonidzashe started to take a more socialist tone, with his administration reaffirming universal healthcare for all, and opened a hospital in Nhiri.

In October 1952, he attended the funeral of Shungudzemwoyo Nhema, after Nhema died of lung cancer. Speaking at the funeral, Samhuri Ngonidzashe said that:

"Shungudzemwoyo was a powerful influence in my life, from the day we met at the Fulker's mansion. He taught us that we ought to fight for a just world, to change the unjust, and to create a better world in its wake. But most importantly, he was like a brother: one who cared for me, just as I cared for him. I do not know how I can move forward, but I know when I depart, he will be ready to receive me."

The following year, the constitution was amended a third time in July, so to replace the colonial seal mentioned in the additional articles of the constitution with a new emblem which further reflected Rwizikuru's ambitions to adopt Bahian socialism.

At around the same time as the amendments, the Great Nasanic Exodus was taking place, as Sotirian Nasanis were fleeing persecution under Gyowade !natan's government in the aftermath of the Third Nasani War. As most of them were heading to Yekumavirira, this further increased the tensions between the Wopoto and the veRwizi, as disputes over land became much more commonplace. The Yekumavirira Liberation Movement began advocating that the refugees from Nasana be resettled onto public lands, or in other districts, as many of them were squatters on land owned by Irfanic peoples.

By early 1954, as refugees continued to pour into Yekumavirira, Samhuri Ngonidzashe was faced with a conflict: as a Sotirian, he wanted to welcome them and to give them a place where they can practice their religion freely. Yet, as President, he felt obliged to prevent them from settling on Irfanic-owned lands. At around this time, he had to decide on a successor, as while Samhuri Ngonidzashe still intended to lead the MRR, he was approaching his two-term limit.

Thus, in June, a party conference was called with the intention to decide the presidential nominee for the 1954 elections. With both Vice-President Vudzijena and speaker Izibongo Ngonidzashe both wanting to run for the position, Samhuri Ngonidzashe initially stayed neutral, before on 18 June, Samhuri endorsed Izibongo as the nominee for the Presidency. The following day, Vudzijena Nhema renounced his candidacy, and the MRR would back Izibongo as the presidential nominee, although Samhuri Ngonidzashe would remain the party leader.

With Izibongo Ngonidzashe now the presidential nominee, the MRR had to nominate someone to take Izibongo's Dockside constituency. Thus, they chose Samhuri Ngonidzashe to take his son's seat. As the Speaker's seat was traditionally uncontested, it was also seen as a sinecure position for the aging leader.

Speaker

On 24 September, 1954, Samhuri Ngonidzashe won the Dockside constituency with 99.5% of the vote, with the remaining 0.5% going to Lucy Dulini, an independent candidate.

Thus, on 2 December, 1954, Samhuri Ngonidzashe formally passed the powers of the Presidency to Izibongo Ngonidzashe, while Vudzijena Nhema passed the powers of the Vice-Presidency to his third son, Fred Ngonidzashe. However, Izibongo Ngonidzashe allowed him to continue living at the Presidential Palace.

At the first sitting of the National Assembly, he was elected mutauri by all 135 MRR legislators.

Unlike his son, who had abused the position and powers of the Speaker, Samhuri Ngonidzashe took a more traditional role as the speaker of the National Assembly. Thus, he only voted in case of a tie-break, and never advanced his own agenda, although he did advance his son's agenda from time to time, although he never voted in these situations.

While many of the moderate members were relieved that Samhuri Ngonidzashe was an effective speaker, and did not abuse his powers as much as his son and predecessor did, some in the radical faction of the MRR felt that he was not assertive enough. At around this time, his health started to decline, with him being hospitalized in 1956 and again in 1958 for respiratory distress, which was believed to be a result of his infection with malaria in late 1933 and early 1934.

In light of this, Samhuri Ngonidzashe announced at the 1959 party conference that he would step down as party leader, on account of his declining health, and retire from politics. However, he remained a member of the MRR.

Retirement

After the 1959 elections, Samhuri Ngonidzashe was succeeded in his constituency by his second son, Ingwe Ngonidzashe, who was elected as Speaker of the National Assembly.

While initially, he was doing well, having attended the inauguration of Izibongo Ngonidzashe on 2 December, 1959, Samhuri Ngonidzashe's health started to decline in 1960, with Samhuri being hospitalized in February for respiratory distress.

While he was released from hospital in April, Samhuri Ngonidzashe suffered another episode of respiratory distress in July, and was later released from hospital by September. In late 1960, Samhuri Ngonidzashe had made an apparent recovery, saying in a radio interview in November that:

"So long as I do not exert myself, so long as I do not push myself too hard, I will be able to do just fine. After all, I need to learn that I am no longer a young man, but rather, an old man."

In early 1961, alarmed at his son's increasing authoritarianism, and his efforts to take Bahian socialist policies to a new level, Samhuri Ngonidzashe started to plan a return to politics: in particular, to challenge his own son in the 1964 party conference for both the leader of the party, and presidential nominee for that year's elections, as he believed that his son was "taking Rwizikuru down the wrong path."

He confided in February 1961 to Vudzijena Nhema that "my greatest mistake was not endorsing you in 1954: had I known my son would be far more authoritarian as President than as Speaker, I'd certainly have voted for you."

In the spring of 1961, Samhuri Ngonidzashe began to talk to party officials to try and find a way to remove his son from power, or at the very least, guarantee their support of him at the upcoming party conference in 1964.

By May 1961, Samhuri Ngonidzashe moved out of the Presidential Palace to a home in a Euclean-majority neighborhood, buying the old home of the Fulker family, as he felt both much better, and believed that if he stayed at the Presidential Palace, Izibongo Ngonidzashe would find out about his plan to remove Izibongo from power.

Throughout the next month, he started to rebuild his political base, going door to door to meet with his new neighbors, and started planning to hold speeches in late 1961 to help boost his profile.

Death

On 27 June, 1961, Samhuri Ngonidzashe fell ill with algid malaria and was rushed to the Moffat Hospital in Port Fitzhubert.

His condition quickly deteriorated, as he experienced chills and circulatory shock. By 29 June, Samhuri Ngonidzashe fell into a coma. The following day, NMR informed Rwizikuru of Samhuri's declining health, with the presenter asking for the nation to pray for his recovery.

Thus, many gathered outside the Moffat Hospital to pray for his recovery, and flowers began to be left by well-wishers outside of the hospital. On 1 July, the family was informed that Samhuri's condition was grave.

Thus, his wife Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe, three of his four sons, Izibongo Ngonidzashe, Fred Ngonidzashe, Shungudzemwoyo Ngonidzashe, and all surviving daughters gathered at his bedside, as well as some of his grandchildren, such as Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe.

On 2 July, at 4:37 am, Samhuri Ngonidzashe's heart ceased beating, and he was declared dead at 4:45 am. Almost immediately, Izibongo Ngonidzashe informed the newspapers, and NMR. Samhuri's body was moved to the morgue, where the coroner declared his cause of death to be from malaria.

At 6:30 am, NMR announced the death of Samhuri Ngonidzashe on national radio. At that moment, all Rwizikuran flags were ordered to be at half-mast, and his body was moved from the morgue to the Presidential Palace, where he laid in state. During the next seven days, hundreds of thousands of mourners paid tribute at the palace.

On 8 July, the funeral was held at Saint David's Church, with High Estmerish rites. Following the funeral service, his body was interred at the Civic Cemetery: a marble tombstone was erected, with the epitaph reading:

SAMHURI NGONIDZASHE

1899-1961

Chiedza chako ngachivhenekere pamberi pevamwe, kuti vaone mabasa ako akanaka![1]

Legacy

Following his death, Samhuri Ngonidzashe was recognized in August 1961 as Baba veNyika (Father of the Nation) by President Izibongo Ngonidzashe.

While throughout his life, Samhuri Ngonidzashe tried his best to prevent a cult of personality from arising around him, after his death, many streets and landmarks were named after him, such as the Samhuri Ngonidzashe International Airport, which was formerly the Port Fitzhubert International Airport. While this cult of personality subsided after the establishment of the Rwizikuran monarchy in 1964, Samhuri Ngonidzashe is still perceived to be a virtuous father.

Samhuri Ngonidzashe's legacy has generally been positive, with leader of the Rwizikuran government-in-exile Muchazvireva Ngonidzashe saying in 2010 that:

"[Samhuri Ngonidzashe] cared for the best interests of the people. Unlike his son or grandson, he was not so obsessed with taking power, or using the funds that fueled the state to help enrich his own family, but rather, to improve things for the average Rwizikuran, as he knew how bad things were for the average Rwizikuran during his youth. This goes a long way to explain why decades after the Republic of Rwizikuru has ceased to exist, Samhuri Ngonidzashe is still fondly remembered by the people."

Professor Ndanatsei Mtawarira of the University of Rwizikuru said in 2012 that his greatest achievement was "ensuring that everyone received free education and free healthcare: these two things had the potential to greatly improve the lives of everyday Rwizikurans, as it would have permitted people to focus on bettering the nation." She also said that his greatest legacy that lives on was "the development of the House of Ngonidzashe into a political family which evolved into the current royal house."

Personal life

Samhuri Ngonidzashe married the 18-year old Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe in 1918 in a marriage arranged by their parents. According to Samhuri, their marriage was "fruitful and happy," with the marriage lasting until his death in 1961. Kugarakunzwana Ngonidzashe died in 2014 at the age of 113, and never remarried: at the time of her death, she was the oldest person living in Rwizikuru.

Together, they had four sons: Izibongo Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1921 and died in 1979, Ingwe Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1925 and is still living, Fred Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1928, and was executed in 1981 for an attempted coup against the monarchy, and Shungudzemwoyo Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1932.

They also had five daughters: Gamuchirai Mumbengegwi, who was born in 1919, and died in 2015 at the age of 91, Tariro Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1923, and died in 1927 from smallpox, Vimbainashe Ngonidzashe, who was born in 1926, and died in 2016 at the age of 89, and twin sisters Tinotendaisheanesu Chimusasa and Yemurai Kyagumbo, who were born in 1931.

He was noted to be a doting father and grandfather, with Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe fondly remembering his grandfather as a "benevolent figure," and a "brother-in-arms."

Samhuri Ngonidzashe was a devout High Estmerian, with his noted propensity for plain dress, fasting on Sundays, and was a teetotaler, refusing to drink any alcohol, and his strict adherence to the High Estmerian concept of outward holiness. He was also noted to be a lay preacher, often preaching at churches, even during his tenure as President.

He spoke weRwizi as a native language, and was fluent in Estmerish, and could comfortably carry a conversation in Gaullican and Wopoto.

Honors

Domestic honors

  • Rwizikuru - Anogamuchira iyo Kurongeka kweTembo, 1946
  • Rwizikuru - Anogamuchira iyo Kurongeka yeMeriti, 1946

Foreign honors

  • Rwizikuru - Cross of the Federated Republics, 1946

Notes

  1. Translation: Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works! (Matthew 5:16)