We honor our friend and colleague.

The staff and Board of Directors of IRMA join with the world in mourning the passing of IRMA Board leader Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, who passed away suddenly on 4 December while working in southern Africa. He was 41 years old, and leaves behind his wife Fiona, four young children, and mother. We grieve with the world, send blessings to his family, and honor Dewa’s lifetime of dedicated work in support of the dignity of all people.

Human Rights Watch honors Dewa’s life here.

In a memorial event organized by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, testimonies on the impact of Dewa’s life included:

“In the way of Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King. He was a defender for the rights of all, despite race, class, gender or creed — he believed in power of ideas.”

“He was committed to arguing things out, but did so by uplifting other people. It wasn’t the activity of struggle, he humanized the struggle…He saw the humanity of every person he was struggling with. He humanized everyone in society, the victims and the oppressors.”

“He brought faith, community, solidarity, logical disputations as not only values but also as practices…He was a man of faith, not only religious, but faith that the people of Africa would live on the continent free of human rights abuses.”

“From the logic of force, to the force of logic….He was a brilliant man.”

“He was a humble great mind and a unifier…To me his death is like the burning of a library.”

“Dewa became a global go-to person for human rights across southern Africa. We have lost not only a colleague but the world has lost an indefatigable champion. Our hearts are with you all, his family, and everyone who knew him.”

“Dewa would say, ‘if you must choose to be right or to be kind, always choose to be kind.’ Especially coming from a lawyer this is remarkable. He was kind, gentle and yet also fearless.”

Dewa Mavhinga alongside fellow leaders from IRMA’s NGO, labor and community sectors.

With deep appreciation for Dewa, we will continue our work for greater environmental and social responsibility, and fundamental commitment to human rights, where industrial scale mining happens. We are deeply grateful for Dewa‘s years of work on behalf of Human Rights Watch and in service to IRMA’s multistakeholder Board of Directors.