Home » General » Dr Sakupwanya – Portrait of a Hero

Dr Stanley Urayayi Sakupwanya was born on May 14, 1939 in Bulawayo to Steven Urayayi and Estella Sakupwanya. He grew up in Bulawayo and did his primary education at St Columbus Primary School before proceeding to Moeng College in Botswana.

As a young boy, Dr Sakupwanya indicated his desire to study as a medical doctor, but a white pharmacist at his father’s workplace said this could never be because it was above a black man’s intellect.

This strengthened his resolve to become a medical doctor.

The Sakupwanyas are part of the Mutasa dynasty of Manicaland.

While growing up, Dr Sakupwanya would hear his father and uncles strategising on how to resist removal from the land of their ancestors to pave way for a wattle plantation.

Such injustices drew young Stanley to politics with the aim of correcting them.

He joined the Youth League of the National Democratic Party in 1960 and that of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) in 1961 when NDP was banned.

The Rhodesian regime’s oppression made Dr Sakupwanya and other youths realise that only the armed struggle would bring about change in their country, make them get back their land and gain one-man-one-vote.

He left Rhodesia in 1963 and was deployed by the party to the Soviet Union to read medicine in preparation for future tasks.

Some of the students who were together with him were Isaac Nyathi, Steven Vuma, Andrew Mpala, Elita — who later became his wife, Matsikidze Munyathi and Columbus Chipundla.

Dr Sakupwanya was elected President of the Zimbabwe Students Union.

He was a disciplinarian and forced discipline among his fellow students sometimes using aggressive methods to his fellow students.

While in the Soviet Union, he married Elita and were blessed with three children in Moscow.

He completed medical studies in 1971 and was recalled to Zambia and later redeployed to Uganda.

It was common practice to deploy students to gain experience when they completed their studies.

On leaving the Soviet Union he went to Uganda where he worked as a medical doctor at Kilembe Mines.

He later on was made the party’s representative, taking over from Cde Simon Khaya Moyo upon the latter’s recall to Lusaka, Zambia as special assistant to the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

Later on Dr Sakupwanya was recalled to Lusaka to assist with the critical medical requirements after bombings by the Rhodesian forces.

He indeed played a pivotal role in treating wounded guerrillas.

Among some of the tasks he got involved in was when Cde Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo was killed by a parcel bomb in January 1977. He played an important role in trying to put the remains together.

At ceasefire Dr Sakupwanya was deployed with the aance team to integrate the guerrillas into one force to form the Zimbabwe National Army.

He was co-opted into the medical corps and served in 1 Commando Regiment, retiring later on as Colonel, in 1986 after receiving various decorations. He then went into private medical practice in Rusape.

He played a major role in the integration of Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu into a united Zanu-PF.

He became a member of the united Zanu-PF Central Committee and later on a member of the Politburo until his untimely demise.

Dr Sakupwanya was Secretary for the Welfare of the Disabled and people living with disabilities, at the time of his death.

He is survived by 11 children and 15 grandchildren.

Source : The Herald