Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo (19 June 1917 – 1 July 1999)

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo (19 June 1917 – 1 July 1999), first black professional social worker in Zimbabwe and a pan-Africanist

The first trained black social worker known more for liberation and nationalism than social work, Nkomo was born in Bukalanga or Bulilima, now referred to as Semokwe Reserve, Matabeleland South and was one of eight children. After primary school, he did a carpentry course at the Tsholotsho Government Industrial School and then attended Adams College and the Jan H. Hofmeyr School of Social Work in South Africa where he met Nelson Mandela and other future nationalist leaders. It was at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work that he was awarded a B. A. Degree in Social Science in 1952. He became a highly influential Zimbabwean, revolutionary leader who led in landmark trade unionism and the first political movement against the oppressive minority government of Southern Rhodesia. He was jailed for ten years by Rhodesia’s white minority government. He joined the trade union movement for black rail workers and rose to the leadership of the Railway Workers Union and then to leadership of the Southern Rhodesian chapter of the African National Congress in 1952 (later the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress). He served as the president of National Democratic Party (NDP), Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) and various government portfolios including Vice President of Zimbabwe and ZANU PF under Unity Accord with Robert Mugabe from 1987 until his death in 1999.