Josiah Zion Gumede

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Josiah Zion Gumede

Josiah Zion Gumede
1st President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia
In office
1 June 1979 – 12 December 1979
Prime MinisterAbel Muzorewa
Preceded byHenry Everard
Succeeded byCanaan Banana
Personal details
Born19 September 1919
Bembesi, Southern Rhodesia
Died28 March 1989(1989-03-28) (aged 69)
Spouse(s)Esther Gumede
ChildrenNdabiqondile Mandla Gumede, Titus Tofi Gumede, Nkosinathi Boxie Gumede, Bekinkosi Sofaigiya Nyamie Gumede
ResidenceBulawayo, Manxeleni
OccupationSchool teacher, Politician, Diplomat

Josiah Zion Gumede, GCLM (19 September 1919 – 28 March 1989) was the only president of the self-proclaimed, and internationally unrecognised, state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia during 1979, before Rhodesia briefly reverted to British rule until the country's independence as Zimbabwe in 1980. He died in 1989.


Josiah Gumede was born in Bembesi, in the Bubi District (now in Matabeleland North) of Southern Rhodesia. He was educated at the David Livingstone Memorial Mission and Matopo Mission before matriculating in the Cape Province (South Africa) in 1946. He taught at various mission and government schools and ended his teaching career as a headmaster. He was the assistant information and education attache for the Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland at Rhodesia House in London between 1960 and 1962, before being appointed First Secretary in the office of the Commissioner for Rhodesia and Nyasaland in Nairobi.[1] He then joined the Ministry of External Affairs (1963–1965).

He was at one time general secretary for the then African Teachers' Association of Rhodesia; a member of the Wankie Disaster Relief Fund's Board of Trustees; a director of the Tribal Trust Land Development Corporation; and a board member of the National Free Library of Rhodesia. He was also an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa.

Gumede is the grandfather of British television actress, Natalie Gumede.[2]


  • Newitt, Louise (ed). Prominent Rhodesian Personalities (Cover Publicity Services, Salisbury, 1977).
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Everard
(of Rhodesia)
President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Succeeded by
Canaan Banana
(of Zimbabwe)