Tributes pour in for firebrand Zimbabwean engineer Paul Chimhosva

Dhewa Paul Chimhosva remained humble and down to earth. The former Joburg Water engineer, who used to cruise around in a black Jeep Commander, rarely looked down upon anyone, writes Sibanengi Dube.


Obituary: By Sibanengi Dube

l met Paul Rumema Chimhosva for the first time in 2001 in Johannesburg’s high-rise suburb of Hillbrow. Chimhosva was tracking Munyaradzi Gwisai who I had just dropped at a hotel in Johannesburg after a meeting.
I initially did not even bother to look at his face when walked to my car window to inquire where Gwisai was.
I thought it was a security risk to disclose the location of the then controversial MDC Legislator to a stranger.
It was only after he disclosed his identity as Paul Chimhosva that I enthusiastically entertained him.
I had read about his heroic clashes with Zanu PF which led to his expulsion from the University of Zimbabwe. He was the kind of a character I was looking upto when I was a student leader in Harare. His bravery inspired us to stand up in defense of the student interests.
I and Dhewa have been loyal drinking mates from then until this morning. Today Dhewa collapsed and died in Johannesburg at his mountainous home of Bassonia Suburb in Johannesburg South. Needless to mention that Zimbabwe is more poorer without Chimhosva.
It is a pity that he kicked the bucket before Zimbabwe could utilise his leadership skills.
I used to meet him over the weekends at Time Square, Momgos, Columbine Square and Tintis for debates over a few cold ones. Of course he did most of the buying as he was too generous with his fat wallet, while I gulp. I am not the only one who had access to his calabash, but a lot of other Yeoville fellows who used to guzzle the nights away from his purse.
He had a flair and aura of respectability and likability. His presence was difficult to ignore. His oratorical eloquence was second to none. This explains why he managed to snatch the SRC Presidency of the University of Zimbabwe in 1990-1.
The former student leader was passionately known as Dhewa at his favourite watering holes, Times Square or kwaGumede.
Dhewa was a free spirited bird who enjoyed socializing at all levels. Apart from his undisputed love for the green bottle (Heineken), the man had his country at heart.
The charismatic Dhewa would not shy away from declaring his interest in running for the highest office in Zimbabwe. He had no faith in the leadership of the opposition parties in Zimbabwe, who he viewed with skepticism. Dhewa was fiercely independent and open minded. Although he was not a cry baby, but he felt betrayed by a number of prominent characters in Zimbabwe. He once confided in me that his Secretary General, Martin Dinha, now a Governor in one of Mashonaland Provinces, deceived him.
He also had unkind words for Professor Welshman Ncube, who he accused of unfairly expelling him from the University of Zimbabwe.
The late engineer had a good taste for fine things in life. He used to drive swanky cars on the fast lane with personalised number plates. Although mwana wamai Peter enjoyed an opulent life style, Dhewa remained humble and down to earth. The former Joburg Water engineer, who used to cruise around in a black Jeep Commander, rarely looked down upon anyone. He would fraternize with anyone including this lowly newsman. Go well Dhewa and rest in peace.

Other selected tributes:

Victor Wirimai Mugobo: Rest in Peace Paul Rumema Chimhosva. You will always be a hero to all Africans in general and Zimbabweans in particular. You are a hero among heroes.
Chofamba Sithole: These are some of the generations of post-independence leaders that Mugabe has denied an opportunity to serve by his selfish ambition to rule for life. The nationalists made a huge mistake by refusing to contest the 1980 elections as the Patriotic Front with Nkomo at the helm. There would have been enough room for the younger generation of nationalists or war vets to succeed the founding leader, and by the 90s we’d have been looking at a third post independence leader, and after 2000 the non-war generation, including the Chimhosvas, would now be comprising the crop of national leaders occupying positions of leadership…
Mos Maja: Just read the news that my former classmate, a very close university friend Paul Rumema Chimhosva is no more. This was a genius, student leader from Zimbabwe who joined the school of mechanical engineering of The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1993. He left Zim as the SRC president and engineering student to join South West Engineering (SWE) of the East Campus under the sponsorship of World Council of Churches. We were a trio: Moses Maja, Themba Lupuwana and Paul Chimhosva. Themba was also a former SRC president of The University of Zululand. It was indeed a privilege to have shared space with these two geniuses.

Paul was the only black engineering student who passed all the 14 courses in our 2nd year of study in Mechanical Engineering. We were about 10 in a class of about 80 students. Majority were white students. He would walk into lecture, sit and listen without taking notes. He was the 1st to finis afternoon tutorials at the Senate House drawing hall, at the basement below the concourse. This is a big blow to the engineering fraternity and very sad news to all those who knew Paul. Gone forever but never to be forgotten.

Gilbert Handara: Rest in peace Paul Rumema Chimhosva… of a kind….. A man of high intellect and integrity. Principled to the core… had such an ability to analyse issues objectively. You belonged to all of us but my thoughts are especially with the family. I wish all family the strength they most need at this hour. Go well Paul …… it was an honour to be counted among your many friends.
Babington Maravanyika: Rest in peace Mwana Wevhu. Your legacy will truly live on. I salute you Paul my dear friend.
Godfrey Mushandu: Waenda hako Paul Chimhosva
Dzako mhosva pano pasi wasiya.
Pako wakasakura Dehwa kwasariresu
Waimbova nemazuva awaizhangandira
Uchitamba toi toi pachikomo chematohwe
Chokwadi shindi kuzhiririkizha huona mbango
Kuputsika kwegomo nyika inoita zinyekenyeke

Ndizvo zvokwadi here kuti Moyo,Dehwa hamuchiko?
Wadiniko kutanga waridza hwamhanda mwana wamai?
Machinda awakagwa nawo hondo PaKamba taiwungana.
Shangwa iyi yandikangisa majuru nechigunwe.
Unye rudzii hwandisvuura rurimi?

Nhasi wandidyisa nhopi ine goko Moyo.
Kutonyenama seuchaseka
Pasi panodya zvikomba vehama
Paul hakuchina, waenda zvokwadi Dehwa

Ko mhashu dzataidzingirira?
Ko makombo ataitipura?
Ko toi toi yawaitungamira?
Ko PaMakanda pataitandara tese?
Tichitiza mapurisa tese,
Nhasi dzangova ndangariro


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