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Rejoice Ngwenya


Writer, political activist, expert on Zimbabwean economics and one of the most outspoken critics of the Mugabe regime.

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Created: 31st Jul 2008
Modified: 1st Aug 2008
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Ngwenya went into exile in 1979 at age 19, just months before independence. That year, his twin brother had entered the Rhodesian military to fulfill the required year of service if he was to advance as an apprentice of the rail company. When word got out that one of the Ngwenya brothers had become a "sell-out" and joined Ian Smith's army, Rejoice's parents sent him away to spare his life. With a few belongings and his guitar, Rejoice left Zimbabwe and crossed the border into Botswana.

There, he entered a "rehabilitation" camp and had to decide whether to leave for the guerrilla military camps in Zambia or to apply for a scholarship to study marketing. Choosing education, Rejoice received a scholarship to the University in Nairobi where he took up business management.

After completing his studies in Nairobi (1979-1983) and earning a degree in Business Management (majoring in International Marketing), Rejoice was offered a job as a marketing assistant for a pharmaceutical company that was selling drugs all over the continent. He resigned to a post with the company in South Africa at the age of 24.

Throughout the '80s, Ngwenya honed his writing skills working for the Zimbabwe Herald. His column called "A Lighter Look" was a humorous social commentary.

In 1989, he established his own market research company which he ran until 1996. When he tried to open a media company that year, he realized that the gutted economy at that point made no space for the company. At that point, he sold the company and joined civil society as constitutional research consultant during 1999 debate about new constitution.

That year he began working with the Freidrich Naumann Foundation as a policy analyst. Until 2005, the Foundation sent him all over the world - South Africa, Tanzania, Morocco, Kenya and Germany.

Hearing of his political and economic expertise, Zimbabwe's opposition party, Movement for a Democratic Change (MDC) invited him to become a member of their of strategic partner team 2005.

He is also the head of the Coalition for Liberal and Market Solutions, a group he established when he realized that “instead of just writing about it, it's better to start establishing an institution, that can then be able to establish structures of influence.”

To read some of his pieces, check out:



"Ian Smith Was Better Than Mugabe"

Biographical Information
Rejoice Ngwenya
(At a Glance)
Gender: male
Place of Origin: Zimbabwe

Ngwenya received all of his secondary education in Rhodesian schools and went on to several months of teaching training in the country.

He and his wife married in 1992. They have three small boys. Rejoice also has one older son from a previous marriage who is following in his father's footsteps, working with an advertizing agency in Tanzania.

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