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Samkange, Sketchley Siyangapi (1936–1961)

Catherine Cymone Fourshey


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Born in 1936 into a deeply Christian and politically active family in Southern Rhodesia, Sketchley Samkange became an important figure in Zimbabwean nationalist politics as a founder of the National Democratic Party (NDP), before he died at the age of 25 due to heart failure while swimming in Malawi. The youngest son of Thompson and Grace Samkange and brother of Stanlake Samkange, he grew up in a politically conscious, Methodist family that had focused primarily on the goal of a multicultural Zimbabwe. He was affectionately known to friends as Pip and to his family as Jack (of all trades). While his father was an eminent figure in colonial Southern Rhodesia due to his leadership role in education and the Bantu Congress, Sketchley was the least educated member of his family. Having done poorly in school, he only progressed to a Junior certificate at Tegwani and remained in Zimbabwe rather than studying abroad like his older siblings. He briefly ran the Tryfortune farm that his father had bought for his elder brother, Ernest, but this venture floundered, and the farm went into foreclosure under repression by the Land Board. Sketchley then moved to the nearby Tambaram farm with his mother. It was here that he became involved in a more radical form of politics that called for African majority rule in Zimbabwe. Because Tambaram was in the Makwiro area, the ancestral home of his family, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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