Maria Moyo (15 March 1950 – 6 November 2007) – a shero remembered – a life celebrated


Maria Moyo was born on 15 March 1950 in Gwanda. She died on 6 November 2007, aged 57 years. She was married with 9 children and her last born is a Grade 4 pupil. She left behind 12 grandchildren. She did her primary education in Gwanda at Siboza Primary School up to Standard 4. She joined the liberation struggle in 1970’s and went to Zambia and Botswana.She joined WOZA at its formation in 2003 and was normally in the front of the protests and normally one of the first to be arrested. She was arrested 10 times and was once kept in solitary confinement in Sauerstown Police station. Maria was often just picked up from her home for no apparent reason.

The late Maria Moyo at the front of the Charter Launch demonstration, Bulawayo, 29 November 2006On 24 August at around 4 am, Law and Order officers known to WOZA arrived at her Mabutweni home. Even though her daughter and husband told the officers that she was very ill and tried to refuse them access, they insisted on taking Maria from her home in the freezing cold conditions of that day. Some of the officers involved in this abduction operation are Tshuma, Mthunzi, Masarira, Ncube, Mpofu, and three female officers, one called MaNdlovu. They took her to a bushy area at Khami Ruins and interrogated her and 5 others on the rocks overlooking the Dam. They threatened to throw her into the dam tied up with ropes and rocks.

When WOZA members Williams and Mahlangu visited her that day, she testified speaking in iSindebele, “I have never been so scared in all my life – they wanted to kill me. I became very cold and began to shake uncontrollably, the police became worried so they put me in the car and switched on the heater until the shaking subsided.” The sudden appearance of a white person carrying what looked like a camera bag is what made the police officers fear exposure and they took the 6 members and 18 month old baby home. But having survived the liberation war and despite medical treatment Maria never recovered.

Maria was laid to rest on 11 November in Bulawayo. She will be remembered for her ready smile even in the harsh jail conditions. She will be remembered for her courage and commitment. We will remember her as an outspoken defender of human rights and as our shero. May her soul rest in peace in a better place than the living hell of Zimbabwe.


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