In Proverbs 31:10 KJV, God in His Word describes a virtuous woman as the recipient of blessing and praise from her children and her husband. She is above all a God-fearing, Godly woman…Her traits include strength of character, dignity, love, selflessness, being fully trustworthy, diligence, hardworking, generosity and an awareness of the needy. That is the life we celebrate in, Ethel Matiza, wife, mother, sister, grandma and aunt…
Born on the 16th March 1945 in Fort Victoria now known as Masvingo, in Zimbabwe Ethel was the fourth child of the late Jimmiel and Zvichirebgwo Chikukwa. Affectionately known by her late mother as “Chigegege” because of her warm infectious laughter, Ethel was approachable, generous and very loving. She has been described by her dear friend Mai Bonga from Saint Alphonsus Parish in Tafara Mabvuku, as a woman of integrity, who loved and genuinely cared for and showed concern for her fellow section and guild members, as well as her church mates, through various acts of kindness. She had a special gift, that of generosity. She did not distinguish or segregate, her love was non-selective and inclusive. (“uyezve vaive nerudo. Murudo imomo makaita kuti vave nemwana wavo wechitendero Father Cornel, vekuKenya. Vaive vasingasarudze, vaida munhu wese, vaive nechipo chekupa kuchechi nekuchita chavo” which translates to) She had a big heart, she was a mother figure and was very loving. It is as a result of these qualities that when she met Father Cornel, a priest from Kenya her family became complete with the addition of her son, Cornel Omondi Oredo, whom she loved dearly.
Ethel attended both primary and secondary school at Gokomere in Masvingo with her siblings. Determined to obtain professional qualifications at a time when girls were relegated to the role of home makers, Ethel and her older sister Mai Mambara defied their father and subsequently left their parents’ home as young teenagers in order to further their education and pursue professional careers. These principles coupled with the fact that one must live a life of service and glorify God in one’s work and profession, have been the driving force for ensuring that their children are educated and pursue professional careers. More importantly, that they must give back to society.
Ethel was enrolled as a student and studied both at The African-American Institute in Tanzania, as well as the Kenya Institute of Administration. In a recommendation made by her Principal at The African-American Institute in Tanzania in 1969, he recommended her for employment or further studies, describing her as “an asset to Kurasini International Education Centre, for she is a fine person with initiative and integrity, two main traits of her character.”
She qualified as a Social Worker after studying in Kenya and Tanzania. In 1974 the Executive Officer of The Child Welfare Society of Kenya wrote a personal note to Ethel and expressed her appreciation in having known and worked with her during the last three years when she was attached to Mama Ngina’s Children’s home. She described Ethel’s “capacity, enthusiasm and attitude to her work as excellent, and hoped that one day she would return to work with the Society.” Thereafter, her dear mother affectionately referred to her as “Mabie wemhiri – my daughter Mable who has studied abroad”.
In 1977 Ethel worked as a Social Welfare Officer at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe, Botswana, the only non-citizen employee at the hospital during that period. This was indeed possible because she was a hard worker and never took anything for granted. As a Catholic she believed in Opus Dei, the ability to glorify the Lord through one’s work. Throughout her career Ethel excelled and was acknowledged by both her peers and superiors. In 1982 Ethel joined the Department of Social Welfare Services bringing in a wealth of experience to this position. During her employment with the Social Welfare Services she held several leadership positions, including Social Welfare Officer, a post she held until 2002 when she retired.
Her husband George Farai Matiza has described her as a loving wife who cared for and provided for her family and in-laws. In his testimonial, he expressed heartbreak when Ethel passed on as he realized that she had left a void in the family. He thanked her for taking care of and unconditionally loving both his parents, Tamari and Timothy Kumucha Matiza. He acknowledged her for raising their girls to be the kind, loving, generous and united team that they are.
Ethel and George were married on December 14, 1974 in Ndola Zambia. There are two children born of the marriage Chengetanai Tamari and Dorothy Tafadzwa. Ethel and George have been blessed with their three beloved grandchildren Raymond Tinopiwa, Chido Tafadzwa Makanaka and Munashe Tafara, and their son-in-law Alan.
Ethel attended church at Saint Alphonsus in Tafara with her family. Her daughters were both baptized at Saint Alphonsus and Chenge celebrated her marriage to Alan at Saint Alphonsus Church. She was committed to her faith and fellowship in Tafara. She often said that she felt that she truly belonged to a community built on love, respect and integrity. In July 2015 Ethel was admitted as a member of the Guild of Saint Annah, a sisterhood and fellowship which she was deeply devoted to, till her death. She was a member of Saint Kizito Section. She respected and valued the fellowship of her section members. They in turn loved and respected her.
Ethel was a loving and committed wife to her husband George. They have shared a special bond. She loved and adored her two girls Chenge na Dorry and dotted on her grandchildren Ray, Chido and little Mumu. She was very close to her sisters and brothers, and spoke daily with her sisters. She loved and treasured her friends from the guild of Saint Annah and Saint Kizito Section. She appreciated the precious time she spent with her neighborhood friends. She loved all her relatives alike and did not distinguish between her relatives and her husband’s relatives. In various testimonies given, Ethel has been described as a loving, caring, generous mother figure.
She is survived by her husband, George, her daughters Chenge na Dorry, her son Cornelius Omondi Oredo, her son in law Alan, her grandchildren Ray, Chido and Mumu, her dear brothers and sisters, her nephew Adiel and nieces Rose, Persy and Rumbi. Ethel’s family includes the Mushamba’s with whom she had a special bond.
Ethel had always wished that her work of care and hospitality be continued beyond her physical life here on earth. And it on this wish that ETHEL FOUNDATION FOR THE AGED is based under the ex-officio leadership of Ethel’s immediate daughters Chengetanai Tamari and Dorothy Tafadzwa who are the bonafide members of the foundation.