Zapu Matabeleland South chairman of the National People’s Council (NPC) Philemon Mabuza who died last week was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo yesterday.
The veteran of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence died in the early hours of Tuesday after a long illness.
Speaking at the funeral service, Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa said Mabuza was a stalwart of the liberation struggle who had people at heart.
“Mabuza was among the volunteers who were called to join the armed struggle following Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of Independence,” he said.
“After training in Cuba, Mabuza was part of a 30-strong battalion of guerrillas that crossed into Zimbabwe and engaged enemy forces in the Hwange area.”
Dabengwa said Mabuza was arrested and detained in Zambia in the early 1970s and upon his release, he went to the United Kingdom where he studied for a diploma in industrial relations and trade unions at Middlesex University.
Zapu alternate secretary-general Strike Mkandla described Mabuza as a dedicated and inspirational leader.
“Mabuza was calm, had good listening skills, and was always ready to accede to reasonable proposals. He masked a strong will and bravery against all odds,” he said.
“He was an inspiring leader who did not use force on comrades. No comrade’s blood could afford to be lost during his presence.
“We will miss his vision and guidance because he taught us that as a leader one has to have the people at heart.”
Mabuza worked for the National Railways of Zimbabwe where he was station manager.
He was into livestock farming and he was running a family business in the food industry.
Mabuza is survived by wife and five children.