Joseph Luke Culverwell
Joseph Luke Curlvewell .jpg
Born Joseph Luke Culverwell
10 July 1918
Died 16 July 1993
Parirenyatwa Hospital
Cause of death stroke
Resting place National Heroes Acre, Harare
Nationality Zimbabwe
Known for War veteran, senator , and former Minister of State in the Presidents Office
Political party Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front

Joseph Luke Culverwell, was a Zimbabwean liberation fighter,psychologist and Former Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Scholarships and Former Deputy Minister of Education and Culture. He passed on in 1993. He was active in getting Zimbabwe to accept the threat of HIV and Aids, especially for the young population. .[1]



Joseph Culverwell was born while his mother was on a short trip to South Africa from Bulawayo on 10 July 1918. He attended McKeurtan (Bulawayo) and Moffat (Arcadia, Salisbury, where there is now a street named after him) primary schools. Then he completed his education in Cape Town and Nottingham, England..[1]


He attended McKeurtan and Moffat primary schools in Bulawayo and Harare respectively, before going to Trafalgar High School in Cape Town. A graduate of education and psychology from the University of Cape Town and Nottingham University in England. [2]


He had a teaching career of 27 years, teaching in Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Iran and England.

Involvement in Politics Pre- Independence

He served as a sergeant in the Second World War in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Egypt. After the war he became involved with the liberation struggle with such political veterans as George Nyandoro, James Chikerema and Joshua Nkomo. He actively participated in the inaugural meeting of the African National Congress of the Southern Rhodesia. He became a member of Zapu and after it was banned joined Zanu in the 1960s. Curvwell formed the National Association of Coloured Peoples in 1938 and he was elected secretary-general. He was imprisoned for 18 months in 1967 by the Rhodesian Authorities for political activities but subsequently taught in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and England, supporting the liberation struggle and Zanu-PF by obtaining clothes, medicines, and ambulances for war liberators fighting in this country. Curvwell supported Zimbabwean refugees by securing jobs, accommodation, and scholarships for exiles. He was a delegate both to the Geneva and Lancaster House conferences.[1]

Post- Independence

After independence, he was made a senator and deputy Minister of Education and Culture. In 1988 until 1992 he was made Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Scholarships. He then became Deputy Minister of Higher Education he left Parliament and Government in 1992..[1]


Curvwell passed on on July 16, 1993, in Harare.At the time of his death, he had a wife, four children, and eight grandchildren. He was laid to rest at Heroes Acre on July 22, 1993.


He often joked that he was a “pure Coloured”


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Our national heroes, , Published: 4 August 2011 , Retrieved: 2 February 2018
  2. [ Culverwell: A veteran teacher, psychologist ], , Published: 8 August 2012 , Retrieved: 5 February 2018