Strictly Come Dancing star Natalie Gumede – who formerly starred in Coronation Street as husband- batterer Kirsty Soames – has revealed that her grandfather, Josiah Zion Gumede, was President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia!
However, his tenure in office was short lived – just a matter of months between 1979 to 1980 – but he claimed the distinction of having been the only president of the self-proclaimed state.
The Sun’s TV Biz reports, “Teacher Josiah was in power for just six months in 1979, the year before current Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe took over.”
Gorgeous Natalie never met her grandfather, who died in 1989, but of him, she said, “I have done some research and managed to acquire some medals and coins that show my grandfather as president.
“It was a great achievement.”
Here’s what Wiki has to say of Josiah…
Josiah Zion Gumede, OLG (19 September 1919 – 28 March 1989) was the only president of the self-proclaimed, and internationally unrecognised, state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia during 1979, before Rhodesia briefly reverted to British rule until the country’s independence as Zimbabwe in 1980. He died in 1989.
Josiah Gumede was born in Bembes, in the Bubi District (now in Matabeleland North) of Southern Rhodesia. He was educated at the David Livingstone Memorial Mission and Matopo Mission before matriculating in the Cape Province (South Africa) in 1946.
He taught at various mission and government schools and ended his teaching career as a headmaster. He was the assistant information and education attache for the Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland at Rhodesia House in London between 1960 and 1962. He then joined the Ministry of External Affairs (1963–1965).
He was at one time general secretary for the then African Teachers’ Association of Rhodesia; a member of the Wankie Disaster Relief Fund’s Board of Trustees; a director of the Tribal Trust Land Development Corporation; and a board member of the National Free Library of Rhodesia. He was also an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa.
Meanwhile, Natalie is still battling against critics who reckon that her former dance training gives her an edge over her fellow celebrity contestants on Strictly.
She recently said, “I have danced a bit before, I went to Italia Conti (stage school).
“[But] I’ve never done any dancing professionally at all and I haven’t danced for over ten years.”
She added, “I feel like I have more to prove. We all have to work hard and improve.
“There is so much talent — it is up to the public to decide.”
Indeed it is!
Are you enjoying seeing Natalie on the show? Here’s a reminder of one of her performances…