Dr. Tichafa Samuel Parirenyatwa (1927-1962)

Zimbabwe's first black medical doctor. Dr. Parirenyatwa grew up in the high density surbub of Mutare called Sakubva.

The largest medical center in Zimbabwe, the famous Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare was named after him.

Dr. Tichafa Parirenyatwa was born in Rusape. He graduated to be a doctor of medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1957, where two of his fellow students and countrymen were Silas Mundawarara and E M Pswarayi.

There was backlash from the white people when he was appointed medical officer in charge of Antelope Mine Hospital in Matabeleland as some of the local white farmers were horrified. During his era, racial tensions were rising between the whites and the black people. A group of white people wrote to the Chronicle in protest, the inference not quite spelt out but nonetheless clear that it was unacceptable to have a black man attending to their wives.

When he resigned from government service in 1961 to go into politics full time, there was another letter to the Chronicle from local white farmers. They were wholeheartedly thanking him for his services and the inference not quite spelled out but nonetheless clear was that a future without Parirenyatwa at Antelope Mine Hospital was bleak beyond words for the farmers and their wives.

In January 1962 he was appointed deputy president of Zapu, having proved his mettle by laying the foundations of a party network from grassroots to national executive level. On 14 August of that year, he reportedly died in a car crash on the Gweru-Bulawayo road.