Joshua Nkomo’s Speeech delivered at the funeral of Gen Lookout Masuku

On Saturday 12 April 1986, before a crowd of tens of thousands who had gathered to pay their last respects to former ZIPRA Commander Lt Gen Lookout “Mafela” Khalisabantu Vumindaba Masuku in Bulawayo , the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo delivered a powerful and emotional speech.

Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku (April 7, 1940 – April 5, 1986)

Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku (April 7, 1940 – April 5, 1986)

It was a speech of how Zimbabwe was losing direction, and most parts of the speech remain relevant today:

“Those who rule our country know inside themselves that Lookout played a very big part in winning our struggle.

And yet they let him die in prison.

I say he died in prison because he died on that bed on which he was detained.

It was not possible for him to leave that bed and it was not possible for you to see him.

Therefore, I say he died in prison.

Why should men like Lookout and Dumiso, after being found innocent of any wrongdoing by the highest court in this land remain detained? When we ask we get the same answer from the Minister as we used to get from the Smith regime.

Mafela, Lookout, after all his sacrifices, died a pauper in our own hands.

We cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy.

We who fought against these things now practise them.

Why? Why? Why? We are enveloped in the politics of hate.

The amount of hate that is being preached today in this country is frightful.

What Zimbabwe fought for was peace, progress, love, respect, justice, equality, not the opposite.

And one of the worst evils we see today is corruption.

The country bleeds today because of corruption.

It is appropriate that the site chosen for Lookout’s grave lies near a memorial to those who fought against Hitler.

Lookout fought against fascism, oppression, tribalism and corruption.

Any failure to dedicate ourselves to the ideals of Masuku will be a betrayal of him and of all those freedom fighters whose graves are not known.

Our country cannot progress on fear and false accusations which are founded simply on the love of power.

There is something radically wrong with our country today and we are moving, fast, towards destruction.

There is confusion and corruption and, let us be clear about it, we are seeing racism in reverse under false mirror of correcting imbalances from the past.

In the process we are creating worse things.

We have created fear in the minds of some in our country.

We have made them feel unwanted, unsafe.

Young men and women are on the streets of our cities.

There is terrible unemployment.

Life has become harsher than ever before.

People are referred to as squatters.

I hate the word.

I do not hate the person.

When people were moved under imperialism certain facilities like water were provided.

But under us? Nothing! You cannot build a country by firing people’s homes.

No country can live by slogans, pasi (down with) this and pasi that.

When you are ruling you should never say pasi to anyone.

If there is something wrong with someone you must try to uplift him, not oppress him.

We cannot condemn other people and then do things even worse than they did.

Lookout was a brave man.

He led the first group of guerrillas who returned home at ceasefire.

Lookout, lying quietly here in his coffin, fought to the last minute of his life for justice.

It is his commitment to fair play that earned him his incarceration.

Some of you are tempted to give away your principles in order to conform.

Even the preachers are frightened to speak freely and they have to hide behind the name of Jesus.

The fear that pervades the rulers has come down to the people and to the workers.

There is too much conformity.

People work and then they shut up.

We cannot go on this way.

People must be freed to be able to speak.

We invite the clergy to be outspoken.

Tell us when we go wrong.

When Lookout was in Parirenyatwa he requested to be able to say goodbye to his friend Dumiso.

The request was refused.

“No!” By our own government!

He is not being buried in Heroes’ Acre.

But they can’t take away his status as a hero.

You don’t give a man the status of a hero.

All you can do is recognise it.

It is his.

Yes, he can be forgotten temporarily by the State.

But the young people who do research will one day unveil what Lookout has done


31 thoughts on “Joshua Nkomo’s Speeech delivered at the funeral of Gen Lookout Masuku

  1. Dr Nkomo’s speech says it all about the zimb.set up.truely the struggle was fought to dislodge the oppressive regime but the current regime became more oppressive and corrupt.What a speech.

  2. It is very sad,l am part of his junior commanders during the reign of General Mujuru and him Commander Masuku we had direction than it is. He spoke about unit of the forces and we enjoyed their leadership the two of them and then problem of untruth CIO information made the Great Commander die in prison. Cde Lookout Mafela Masuku your vision is still on NOW!!! Col Mubaiwa

  3. Its been decades since this speech was deliverd by UMdala wethu, yet it still as touching …and all we can say is “THE REAL zimbabwean independence is still a possible dream”

  4. aphi amanga akho mqabuko….God for us all evn bambulala okamasuku bona bophelelaphi? bazolingena yini izulu ngenyawo njengo elijah?

  5. It was only in 1986 and J.M Nkomo kaNyongolo could tell of corruption, unemployment, homelessness etc that was rampant. He clearly says “life under the regime was better” . I was a kid under the regime , but when I became an adult under the so called ‘independence’ I could tell life has been adulterated by the so called ‘ liberators’. Then I tend to wonder when I meet a “normal” person (adult) , who says/ believes in Bob, hhayi bo; ‘nyika mamuyichemera yaba manvere” I quote. Ahh!! Intshaka , shreds , or imvuthu.

  6. What we see,It’s just something else our young men and women never thought they could afford to die for,That was a strong speech you can’t take out anything from its cutting ages speech, the children and families of those who fought better lives of their grandchildren have to seek for survival in better life from other countries because of unemployment, you then hear the destroyer leader shouting , where you have gone , bring yourself wheelchairs , him failing eve to prepare for his aging freedom fighters, what a disgrace, but let’s keep the light on by talking for the following generations .

  7. Amazwi kaMdala u J.M Nkomo they are still alive , angathi uwakhulume izolo.Our brothers fought for Peace & Freedom from White Regime. but in reverse we are being oppressed by our own government,its painful to see the youths jumping borders to neighbouring countries just to put bread on the table.Zimbabwe ngeyethu sonke.

  8. Our country is being ruled by Selfish , Heartless & Corrupt government officials . who only think about themselves , forgetting that they where elected to serve the people of Zimbabwe.But I have a dream that if we unite & work together , Zimbabwe will & Can once again become a jewel of Africa . we have resources & manpower ,we can do it..

  9. surely Mqabuko spoke as a prophet but the most sad part is there are even youth who are participants in their own oppression

  10. surely Mqabuko spoke as a prophet but the most sad part is there are even youth who are participants in their own oppression,Zim needs a new blood

  11. Mina ngiswele amandla kube ngiyazenzela bengizo inherita ispirit sikaKhalisabantu. Sisakukhalela lamanje qhawe langakithi, wayibeka induku ebandla. Usazolala ngoxolo sisazolandela izifiso sakho

  12. R.I.P Lookout and Joshua….
    i am amazed that 29 years ago Dr Nkomo had seen what some are yet to see now. Both of you inspire me to believe and do something for my land. It’s time for Mugabe to leave office and let younger guys add value to our land. Thank you Dr Nkomo. Thank you Lookout and all the progressive fighters vakaitwa rough na Mugabe

  13. The speech says it all about the current state of affairs in our country. you can’t add or subtract anything from it. If Nkomo was alive today, Perhaps Zimbabwe was going to be a jewel of africa again

  14. Fast forward to 2016 mqabuko its shocking to realise u were spot on about where the country was headed u knew where it was headed my question is though mdala wethu
    Were u tired to sit and let dirty politics play out right in front of your face
    U saw it coming qhawe lethu
    We needed u to be stronger n nip the problem in e bud before it became cancerous
    U taught Zimbabweans that they could just sit n let oppression n human rights violations happen
    Now our country men cannot even stand up to the wrongs that are happening
    Yes I blame him
    I blame u qhawe lethu

  15. UMdala Wethu was too honest and open for the comfort of theses bastards no wonder they never liked him from the start. We are taking back our beloved nation and re-write the skewed history of our struggle since 1980. Comrade Lookout Masuku is our hero, just like Father Zimbabwe uJoahua Nkomo, and we will afford him a reburial he deserves. It’s just a question of time.

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