Educated at Methodist mission schools, where he was usually top of the class, he had an eagerness for learning which has never left him. As a teacher at Waddilove Institute he continued studying through correspondence courses to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa and subsequently in detention studied for his Bachelor of Science degree in economics. He taught missionary teachers in London in 1953 for a year and then went home to be headmaster of a Methodist school.
He founded Highfields Community School on the outskirts of Salisbury. With 1,400 pupils it was the largest non-government school in Rhodesia. Alongside it he established a cooperative office and a shopping centre. Scottish teachers came to help him and resisted attempts by the government to woo them away with higher salaries. He even attracted secretarial assistance at the school from wives of liberal white Rhodesians.
Because Chinamano and his wife Ruth (born on February 16, 1925) were active in ZAPU they had to face regular searches by security police who tried to humiliate him in front of his pupils by insisting that he answered their questions with “Yes, Sir”. On April 16, 1964, the Chinamanos were arrested in the round-up of nationalists with Nkomo. His school was closed for “indoctrinating” the children with nationalist views. The Chinamanos were detained wihout charge at a desolate camp at Wha Wha.
After a year they were freed but two months later in June 1965 they were re-arrested for a second spell of preventive detention. In view of the plight of their five children, the International Defence and Aid Fund in London took over the cost of supporting and educating them. In detention he ran education classes for his fellow-prisoners and continued his own studies. His health suffered; he had hypertension and required an operation for hernia.
Chinamano and his wife were released on August 6, 1970, and restricted to a four-mile radius of their bungalow at Highfields. He was banned from teaching so they opened a small store. During the negotiating visit of Sir Alec Douglas-Home to Salisbury in November 1971 Chinamano refused to have talks with the British Foreign Secretary because Nkomo was not allowed to be there with him.
His third spell of detention began on January 21, 1972, when he and his wife were taken to a restriction centre following disturbances during the Pearce Commission enquiry. The Pearce Report said: “The Chinamanos were of importance, we believe, to the African National Council. We have no evidence that they were planning disorders.” In April 1972 the Chinamanos were moved to slightly better conditions at Marandellas prison reserve because of his health.
Distinguished African educationist who has trained missionary teachers, set up schools, and run classes for men in detention. His devotion to the nationalist cause as an active ZAPU worker has resulted in long periods of detention and despite the effects on his health he has never let his spirit of defiance be broken.