One of the most prominent political figures in the turbulent years before the independence of Zimbabwe, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, has died, aged 85.
He was seen by many as a moderate black leader at a time of extreme political change. But black militants saw him as a puppet of white politicians.
Bishop Muzorewa entered politics in the 1970s when nationalist politicians were either imprisoned or in exile.
After Zimbabwe's independence, Bishop Abel Muzorewa was virtually forgotten by the outside world, yet in the 1970s he played a similar role in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to that of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Allan Boesak in South Africa in the 1980s.
In the 1970s most opposition leaders in Rhodesia were in jail or in exile, and Muzorewa's African National Council revived the internal opposition to the Smith regime in much the same way as the United Democratic Front (UDF) did in South Africa.
The difference was that towards the end of the 1970s Muzorewa allowed himself to be co-opted by the Smith regime, entering a coalition government. But today history is repeating itself as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change, has similarly allowed himself to be coopted by the Mugabe regime.
You are quite right about him being forgotten. For my part I had not though about him for years
As a child growing up in England during that time (the late 70s and early 80s) the television news was often filled with names of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia politicians, such as Bishop Muzorewa, Robert Mugabe, Ian Smith, Joshua Nkomo and Canaan Banana. It was a turbulent time in South Africa too.
No matter what views we have today on Muzorewa's politics and influence, it is good to see he lived a long life in the country he loved, when so many were not so fortunate.
I found a tribute page to him here http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/muzorewa/3294949 where you can pay tribute and find out more.
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