FORMER Cabinet Minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu, who died in Bulawayo on Monday, has been declared a national hero and will be buried at the National Heroes Acre on Saturday.
Cde Ndlovu (78) — who served as Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Minister of Information and Publicity — died at Mater Dei Hospital where he had been admitted into the Intensive Care Unit after an asthma attack and subsequent stroke last week.
The party’s secretary for the Disabled Cde Joshua Malinga communicated the decision by President Mugabe and the Politburo to confer Cde Ndlovu with national hero status to his wife Rose, family and party members at Cde Ndlovu’s Sunninghill home yesterday afternoon.
He said Cde Ndlovu’s body would be flown to Harare tomorrow morning after a ceremony at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre.
Cde Malinga said Cde Ndlovu’s children based in the United States were expected in Zimbabwe tomorrow afternoon to attend the burial the next day.
“As we told you, we had sent a request to have Cde Ndlovu to be declared a national hero though we knew it was mere formality. We sent his CV yesterday and this afternoon, we were told that the President and the Politburo had declared him a national hero, a hero for the whole of Zimbabwe.
“Personally, I think it was just a formality to sit and write the letter of request. Cde Ndlovu was always going to be granted national hero status. He was a cut above the rest,” said Cde Malinga.
“He was an all round politician who always wanted development, education and for the people of Zimbabwe to unite. Those are his footprints. (Cde) Ndlovu was always eager to have things done. When given a task, he would execute it immediately and contributed very much even during Politburo meetings.”
Condolence messages continued to pour in yesterday for Cde Ndlovu with Zanu-PF describing him as a great patriot and a principled man who never betrayed the ideals of the struggle.
“The ‘Duke’ was a great patriot, a principled man who never at any phase betrayed the struggle for our hard won Independence. He was an educationist of exceptional calibre. He had studied and lectured in the United States of America. He left the comfort clearly at his disposal in the US and joined the struggle in Zambia. He contributed immensely in spreading education frontiers in various liberation camps. He was indeed a scholar of exemplary character,” said party secretary for information and publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo.
After Independence, he said, Cde Ndlovu never abandoned his mission to spread education hence his founding of the Zimbabwe Distance Education College (ZDECO).
Cde Khaya Moyo said Cde Ndlovu was a visionary and an exceptional man of courage and purpose who hated corruption, factionalism, tribalism and regionalism.
“His quest for unity was never to be compromised. He was also an entrepreneur and not a corruptreneur. He has gone with his hands clean, a lesson we must all emulate,” he said.
The Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde Christopher Mushowe, said: “Cde Ndlovu will be remembered for his affable character and ready smile which endeared him to everyone regardless of their status in life. He was a very humble person throughout the journey of his life, inspite of his impeccable nationalist and war credentials.
“Cde Ndlovu was a true servant of the people who had dedicated his life to serving both his country and his fellow Zimbabweans the best way he knew how both in politics and his social life.”
Cde Mushowe said Cde Ndlovu once served as Information minister in a dignified and passionate manner.
“On my own behalf, I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the Ndlovu family, the party Zanu-PF, which he loved and served unfailingly, relatives and friends. We join all of them in grieving the loss of one who is our hero together.”
The Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister, Cde Obert Mpofu, visited Cde Ndlovu’s home yesterday to pay his respects to the former minister’s wife Rose and family as well as fellow party members.
“I think the most critical thing is that he has got the recognition that is reserved for people who committed their lives, their whole life in struggling and fighting for this country. He was not only an educationist but was actually a revolutionary who loved his people.
“He wanted to educate the nation, not after Independence but even before Independence. He was actually instrumental in encouraging and teaching some cadres and actually made them to be what they are. Some of them are now leaders in all spheres of Government,” said Cde Mpofu.
“He was a mentor to most of us. I have known him from Zambia to here. He has always been talking about education. He also inspired me to do my PhD after my masters and CB Com, and he always said education has no position… you needed to improve your intellectual capacity.”
Cde Mpofu said Cde Ndlovu’s deeds earned him national hero status when he was still alive because he always worked for the aspirations of the people.
“We feel we have lost a gallant fighter, nationalist and a person who knew no tribe, religion and colour, so we join the family in grieving and we pray that his soul rests in peace,” he said.
Norman Mabhena, who was detained together with Cde Ndlovu at Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp in 1965, described him as a brilliant tactician, visionary, strategist, brave fighter and illustrious son of Zimbabwe.
Mabhena said Cde Ndlovu belonged to the pioneering generation instrumental in transforming and escalating resistance to colonial rule.
He said while at Gonakudzingwa, Cde Ndlovu established a study group that benefited a number of inmates.
The Chronicle’s Managing Editor, Isaac Waniwa, speaking on behalf of the media fraternity in Zimbabwe and journalists from Bulawayo, said the fraternity has lost a friend, a mentor and father figure who was easily accessible.
“Cde Ndlovu, who until his death, was the patron of the Bulawayo Press Club, has over the years assisted journalists in many ways,” said Waniwa.
“He was committed to the development of journalism in Zimbabwe hence at Independence, he availed his building in Harare for the training of the first crop of journalists who took over from whites at different media houses.
“Cde Ndlovu contributed a lot to the development of the Bulawayo Press Club and at one time used his own resources to upgrade a building used by the club at a city hotel.”
Waniwa said each time Cde Ndlovu was in Bulawayo, he would visit the Press Club to interact with journalists.
“He remained a humble man even after his elevation to the post of Minister of Information and Publicity and as such his interaction with journalists did not change,” he said.
“The media fraternity is therefore poorer without Cde Ndlovu who was a conduit between the media and Government. The media fraternity however takes solace in the fact that Cde Ndlovu’s contribution to the development of journalism in Zimbabwe will forever be cherished.”
A number of senior Government officials, politicians and service chiefs from Bulawayo led by provincial police commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Mutamba also visited Cde Ndlovu’s Sunninghill house to pay their respects to his family.
Prominent Bulawayo lawyer Job Sibanda, Justice Sello Nare and National Railways of Zimbabwe board chairperson Alvord Mabhena were among some of the mourners.
Cde Ndlovu is survived by his wife Rose, three children – two sons and a daughter and seven grandchildren.