Monday, February 10, 2014

(NEWZIMBABWE, LONDON EVENING STANDARD) Cyclist killed in London was a ‘war hero’
20/11/2013 00:00:00
by London Evening Standard

THE sixth cyclist killed on London’s roads in two weeks was a writer who endured years of torture as a political prisoner in Zimbabwe before being freed in a deal brokered by Margaret Thatcher.

Richard Muzira’s family has described the 60-year-old - who died on Monday following a collision with a tipper truck in Camberwell - as a “war hero” as they told of their shock that his life had been brought to a sudden and tragic end.

His daughter Niadzi, a 24-year-old web-designer, said: “I’m so proud of my dad. He wrote books, plays and poetry, he was a bit of a maverick. He was always very active learning and teaching himself.”

Muzira grew up during Zimbabwe’s war of liberation and spent his teens and early twenties in and out of jail until intervention by the Thatcher government in 1979 led to the end of white minority rule.

He came to England as a refugee and studied film at the University of Westminster, before becoming a volunteer for mental health charity CoolTan Arts. The father-of-four was given a “Local Heroes” award for his community work from the Bank of America in 2011.

Michelle Baharier, a close friend and colleague, said Muzira had been jailed throughout his early life for joining protests against colonial rule.

She said: “The first time he was no older than 12. Everyone at his school was put in jail for a night. They were just doing a protest and had no idea that would happen to them.

“He went to prison more than once. He believed in human rights and he ran a political radio show. He had his idea of justice and that was not what was happening. I know he was tortured.

“He would say it was a very hard time. Margaret Thatcher got him out. We used to laugh about it because no one would have expected Thatcher to have done anything about it,” she said.
His family today called for London’s roads to be made safer for cyclists.

Jane Reynolds, his former wife, who lives in Kennington, said: “You have to have cycle lanes. You can’t bring hundreds of people onto roads and not have safety provisions in place. Cycle lanes first, then Boris bikes.”



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