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Susan Tsvangirai: A Comforter of Struggle Victims

Susan Tsvangirai was seldom in the frontline – but she was a pillar to her husband – Morgan – in moments of pain, persecution in pursuit of ...

Susan Tsvangirai was seldom in the frontline – but she was a pillar to her husband – Morgan – in moments of pain, persecution in pursuit of a national dream – until she died in a car accident, aged 50.

Her departure signalled the dearth of motherly affection to those who encountered her – including this writer. The death of Susan on 6 March 2009 robbed not only her family but Zimbabweans of a motherly symbol.

By @Comic24Derick

Born on 24 April 1958, Susan, nee Mhundwa was a mother to her six children, who provided strength to his late husband, Morgan Tsvangirai behind the scenes. The couple met in 1976, Bindura, the then Rhodesia, where Morgan was a mine foreman.

At that time, Morgan reportedly confided to a friend, “That is the girl I am going to marry.” And the forecast became reality in 1978, when they got married, in a marriage that lasted for 31 years.

Few, except those who encountered her, knew about Susan’s influence. One of those was Dennis Murira, opposition member, who said she was “a woman who was of immense significance to the party, a woman who on several occasions managed to comfort a number of us who were victims of this struggle.” At rallies, supporters vociferously chanted, “Mother, mother”.
The Late Susan and Morgan Tsvangirai
When Morgan was harassed, which was often by his distractors, Susan pitched to nurse him, even when he faced treason trials at the height of persecution under the Robert Mugabe regime. During the incarceration of MDC activists, she visited them in prison, availing them food and emotional support.

The signing of the unity government in February 2009 was a welcome gesture to Susan. “People went through hell, but they stuck to their ideals to seek change through democratic means. This was a struggle that we endured with MDC cadres, activists, supporters, and peace-loving Zimbabweans,” she told BBC. “To them, I say thank you so much for the support they gave the MDC to reach this momentous period.”

A month into the new dispensation, Susan died in a car collision on March 6, 2009. Morgan believed the accident, involving his convoy and an aid project van was genuine, however, his driver was found guilty of culpable homicide.

The pillar of strength’s death robbed the nation of her gallantry. “She was a mother figure for the whole nation. Few people knew about her work. Whenever they saw her she was accompanying her husband to court or to vote, but very few people knew she played a very crucial role behind closed doors,” Thabitha Khumalo said.

“She was a pillar of strength to her husband. In a struggle like his, you need someone to lean on and she was always there for him.” She was buried in Buhera, her rural home on March 11, 2009.

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