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FORMER firebrand University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader Paul Rumema Chimhosva has died.
Chimhosva is said to have succumbed to cardiac arrest at his South African base on Sunday.
Chimhosva rose to prominence in the early 1990s when, as Students’ Representative Council (SRC) president, he led numerous student demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s regime. Current Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha was part of Chimhosva’s executive.
The resistance resulted in closure of the university for several months, forcing Chimhosva to relocate to South Africa where he completed his BSc Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1995.
When news of his death filtered through yesterday, several activists took to social media to express their condolences.
Alex Magaisa, an academic and former adviser to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, tweeted: “Very sad to learn that @Chimhosva died today. The name might not be familiar to the young generation of Zimbabweans, but he’s a struggle legend.” Magaisa again posted: “Way back in the early 90s when most Zimbabweans were still comfortable, @Chimhosva and UZ students had already seen the rot and begun to challenge it.”
Deprose Muchena wrote: “I arrived at UZ and was greeted by Paul, Tawanda and the impressive SRC of the time. Really sad!”
Another luminary activist and academic, Tawanda Mutasa, tweeted: “Shocked! Paul fought a good fight when struggle risks were especially untampered by social media.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe also chipped in: “True, Paul was in a class of his own. A real hope for the future, sad he has gone too soon. He inspired me a lot. A real leader of his generation.”
At the time of his death, Chimhosva was project manager at Exxaro Resources in South Africa. He is survived by one child.
Plans are reportedly underway to repatriate his body for burial in Zimbabwe.Source-newsday