Tawanda Chandiwana was a young peacebuilder from Zimbabwe who attended MPI's 2018 Annual Peacebuilding Training. Tawanda passed away from what was most likely leukemia on December 13, 2019. The General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church wrote he "had been hospitalized for several weeks, likely suffering from leukemia. His health situation and treatment were complicated by a prolonged strike of many doctors in Zimbabwe."
Tawanda came to the Philippines as a Global Mission Fellow along with two other MPI alumni, Miracle Osman and Mely Sabina Lengkong. Mely was assigned to MPI, while Tawanda and Miracle were working with Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace Mindanao).
It was during the 2018 Annual Peacebuilding Training that Tawanda was picked up by agents of the Bureau of Immigration for questioning because he allegedly had overstayed his visa, which was actually in process. According to the General Board of Global Ministries, "He was charged with overstaying his visa and was found to be on a government watch list for suspected subversives. He and two colleagues were suspect because they had taken part in an international team investigating allegations of human rights violations in Mindanao" (https://www.umcmission.org/share-our-work/news-stories/2019/december/former-young-adult-missionary-once-held-in-the-philippines-dies-in-zimbabwe).
We will remember Tawanda as a dedicated peacebuilder despite the fact that his time in the Philippines had been cut short. May Tawanda rest in peace, and may we continue to work for peace and justice in the Philippines, Zimbabwe and in the many places around the world where the task of peacebuilding is so badly needed.
Messages of condolence can be sent to:
Tawanda Chandiwana Memorial
Young Adult Missionary Service Office
General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
458 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308