Zimbabwe’s highest graded karate instructor Jimmy Mavenge Dies at 53
Mavenge, who had reached the Shihan level — Japanese term for master instructor — died on Sunday, November 25, 2007 at Parirenyatwa Hospital and was buried at Badza Village in Chivi yesterday.
Details surrounding his death were still sketchy, but Mavenge is understood to have been stung by a scorpion-like creature on Saturday at his home in Harare.
His hand reportedly got swollen and the former Zimbabwe Karate Union president was admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital where he later died on Sunday evening from the suspected infection.
He leaves behind four daughters and twin sons who are actively involved in karate.
ZKU president Lucky Munkhondya yesterday expressed shock at the untimely death of Mavenge.
“On behalf of the Zimbabwe Karate Union, I would like to express my most profound deepest and heartfelt condolences to Shihan Jimmy Mavenge’s family, friends and relatives.
“The Zimbabwe karate fraternity has been robbed of a visionary in the world of karate,” said Munkhondya.
Mavenge was the highest graded seidokan karateka after being elevated to fifth dan black belt holder in 1999
He was also a chief seidokan instructor and served in the ZKU technical structures.
Along with the likes of Hanurobu Chiba, Vusimusi Ndlovu, Wages Anifasi, Tonny Wolfe, Willie Blumeris, Freddy Bass, Lynn Bass, Eugene Moody, the late Crispen Musonza, David Matipano and Kays Mushunje, Mavenge was among the founding generation of ZKU instructors.
Mavenge also trained such seasoned fighters as Fredson Shavi, Tichafa Masvinge, Paul Danisa, Angelo Hlatshwayo, Innocent Bizalieli, Douglas Chivandire and Nesbert Kambani, who have all been upgraded to shihan level.
Mavenge was the first local karateka to travel, train and be graded in Okinawa, Japan, the home of Japanese martial arts.
He was also the first instructor to introduce karate en masse to the high-density suburbs of Mbare, Dzivaresekwa, Highfield and Warren Park.
Between 1993 and 1994, Mavenge was president of the ZKU before relinquishing the position when he was posted to the Zimbabwe Trade Mission in South Africa.
During his stay in South Africa, Mavenge helped Zimbabwean fighters who were preparing for the 1995 All-Africa Games in Harare and he also travelled to coach in Swaziland once every month.
On his return in 1996, he was re-elected ZKU president and was also the union’s national technical director. The celebrated karateka started his career in 1975 when he enrolled for the shukokai style.
After completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology, he then changed to seidokan, which is the Okinawan form of karate involving weapons like tonfa, sai and bo.
During his peak as a competitor, Mavenge held the heavyweight championship for Zimbabwe and Zambia in the early 1980s.
Because of his contribution to karate, ZKU have been holding a tournament in Mavenge’s honour with the last coming on September 29 at the City Bowling Centre in Harare.
By Augustine Hwata