Peter Dingiswayo Zuze
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Portrait of Peter Zuze
Peter Dingiswayo Zuze
December 18, 1942
|Occupation||Former ZAF Commander, Diplomat|
Lt. Gen. Peter Dingiswayo Zuze (born 18 December 1942) is a former Zambian Air Force (ZAF) (then Zambia National Defence Force) Commander and diplomat. He was commander during the period of liberation struggle of Southern Africa.
Early life and education
Politics and fight for independence
Like many young people of his time, he too took interest in politics and took part in fighting white superiority. One day while cycling into the town centre of Kabwe, Zuze came across a meeting that was being conducted by Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Nkumbula and few other freedom fighters. It was his first time to come in contact with black men who spoke the English language very well and castigated the white man. He got very interested and joined in the crowd to listen to the political speeches. After this meeting he took keen interest in the political affairs and took part in many political youth programmes and met and worked with people such as Wilson Chakulya, a trade unionist.
He joined the Zambian Air Force in 1965 and later served as Commander, Operations Squadron in 1968. In 1970 he was Commander of the Helicopter Squadron. A year later he moved to become Chief of Staff in 1971 and Air Commander in 1972. From 1976 to 1977, Zuze served as Commander and Chief of General Staff.
Southern Rhodesia ordeal
It is believed that during one of his covert missions in Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe) on orders by President Kenneth Kaunda, Zuze was intercepted by Southern Rhodesian jet fighters under Ian Smith. They escorted him back to Salisbury (present day Harare) in fighter formation. Zuze complied and flew with them to an air base in Salisbury. As the jets descended to land, Zuze swiftly touched down and then created a thick cloud of smoke and flew off. This destructed the Zimbabwean forces and he was able to escape.
He was appointed High Commissioner to Canada from 1979 to 1982 during the Kenneth Kaunda government. He was later appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1986. From 1986 to 1991, Zuze was Permanent Representative to the United Nations 1986 to 1991.