Home » Governance » Cde Solo Maimbodeyi Was Fearless, Aggressive

A GALLANT fighter of the Chimurenga War, Cde Stanford Tofa Shamu died in Harare on June 2, 1996 of injuries sustained during the war.

He was buried at the national shrine as the 33rd hero.

The death of Comrade Stanford Tofa Shamu popularly known by his Chimurenga name Solo Maimbodeyi, brought to the fore the plight if not trauma still haunting the former combatants years after the end of the war.

Like most of his colleagues, Solo bore that pain — a reminder of the brutality of colonialism and racism — in a manner that only true patriots can manage.

To him it was the attainment of independence more than his personal gain that mattered.

Born in Harare on April 27, 1950, Solo Maimbodeyi went to Chirodzo Primary School in Mbare. He was employed by the Postal Services on completion of primary education. He, however studied privately for “O” Levels. Cde Solo was caught up in the nationalist fever of the 1960s. And when the Smith regime banned all political parties after imprisoning their leadership, Solo became involved in the clandestine recruitment of cadres for the armed struggle.

Under Rhodesian laws such activities were punished by heavy jail terms and even the death sentence.

Undeterred, Solo travelled extensively inside Rhodesia recruiting youths.

In 1974, together with Air Commodore V. R. Zimondi and others, Cde Solo crossed into Mozambique to join the ZANLA forces.

Unfortunately, they arrived in Mozambique at a time when the war of liberation was mired in turmoil and uncertainty brought about by the Nhari-Badza rebellion and the detente exercise.

As such recruits could not get the attention of leadership and if they did get it, it was from the dissident elements.

Cde Solo’s goal was to fight and indeed he walked from Mozambique to Zambia to tell the leadership that their only mission was to receive military training. After a year-long delay they were finally sent to Mgagao in Tanzania.

He was deployed in the vast Gaza Province among the first group charged with the opening up of that war zone.

As a Detachment Commander, Cde Solo was fearless, aggressive and took great personal risks to achieve military objectives.

He was bold to the extent of being careless with his own personal safety. This side of him was shown in 1977 when he was shot in the waist while trying to rescue a colleague.

Cde Solo was to be wheel-chair bound for the rest of his life.

At independence, he joined the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) as a commissionaire before being promoted to VTR editor.

Solo was an epitome of self-reliance as he worked for full days like able bodied persons. His loyalty and dedication to the Zanu-PF ideals remained steadfast.

As a Central Committee member and an executive member of Harare Province, Solo was known for his ability to moderate internal disputes.

He was instrumental in the formation of the War Veterans Association and devoted much of his time to programmes aimed at rehabilitating ex-combatants.

At the time of his death, Cde Solo was survived by his wife and two children.

Source : The Herald