NATIONAL hero Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is expected to be given a huge send off by the Bulawayo community this morning before his body is flown for burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare tomorrow. The former Cabinet minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member, died at the Mater Dei Hospital on Tuesday morning where he had been admitted to the Intensive care Unit (ICU) after an asthma attack and subsequent stroke last week.
He was 78.
Addressing mourners at Cde Ndlovu’s Sunninghill home, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Eunice Nomathandazo Moyo, said the venue for Cde Ndlovu’s service had been changed from the Amphitheatre to his house. The service is expected to start at 9AM. Cde Moyo said three buses had been organised to ferry mourners to Cde Ndlovu’s house to pay their last respects before the body is flown to Harare.
The former Higher Education Deputy Minister and Minister of Information and Publicity’s body was collected from the Doves Funeral Parlour in Bulawayo at 4PM yesterday by family and party members accompanied by Cde Moyo to lie in state at his house.
Cde Moyo earlier in the day said Cde Ndlovu was a peace loving leader who helped a number of people through his education programmes. She paid tribute to Cde Ndlovu’s wife Rose for being a loving partner to the former Minister looking after him until his death. The provincial affairs minister said Cde Ndlovu was passionate educationist who spearheaded educational programmes from the time of the liberation war to his death.
“I remember him talking to Alfred Nikita Mangena saying his wish was for them to attain degrees and was willing to assist them so that when they came back home, they would not play second fiddle in the occupation of positions,” said Cde Moyo. “I used to sit with him and discuss politics. It was as if he was reading from a book and had vast knowledge in the field. There was no doubt that Cde Ndlovu was going to be declared a national hero, even the President bore testimony to his contributions especially in the education sector.”
Cde Moyo said Cde Ndlovu had always expressed his wish to see even party youths improving themselves academically. She said in Zambia during the liberation war, Cde Ndlovu pleaded with the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo to set up a school for secretarial studies in Kafue which she said was later instrumental in educating a number of cadres. Cde Moyo singled out former Reserve bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Nicholas Ncube, who was among mourners, as one of the beneficiaries of the school.
Cde Moyo said to her, Cde Ndlovu was like a mirror against whom she measured her political conduct. Ncube said Cde Ndlovu was one of the leaders who appreciated the benefits of education and encouraged many fighters during the liberation struggle to study. “He gave us the vision to educate ourselves to be what we are today and I would like to join the nation in mourning him. We must continue with his legacy so that we also educate our children and ourselves. Education is a continuous process that goes on forever,” he said.
National Consultative Assembly member Cde Molly Mpofu said Cde Ndlovu was a man of the people who never wavered in the ideals of the liberation. She said the former minister was a pillar for the country who always encouraged unity for the people of Zimbabwe. “As a party we have suffered a huge loss because Cde Ndlovu was one of those elders who filled the gap left by heroes such as Dr Joshua Nkomo, Cde Joseph Msika and many others who died before him. We don’t have anyone to lean on now because he was a pillar of strength. Nonetheless, he left us a legacy and we will follow the steps of the giants without fear because President Robert Mugabe is still there to guide us,” said Cde Mpofu.
“Cde Ndlovu was a unifier and peace maker. He always believed in dialogue in settling disagreements. He told us that we were left in zanu-PF by ubaba uNkomo and we should never betray him in the grave by leaving President Mugabe. We promise Cde Ndlovu that we will never leave President Mugabe.”
The John Landa Nkomo Memorial Trust (JLNMT) where Cde Ndlovu was a board member, said it was now poorer without his wisdom. “Dr Ndlovu had humbly accepted to be board member of the Board of Trustees of the John Landa Trust. The Trust only celebrated its first anniversary in August this year, and it was yet to benefit from the wisdom and guidance of this hero of the liberation struggle,” said JLNMT board chairperson Jabulani Nkomo.
“Dr Ndlovu an educationist of note was eager to assist the Trust in ensuring that the focus on education left by the late VP Landa John Nkomo will not die. The Trust has been robbed of a wise counsellor who had shown readiness to ensure the ideals of his close comrade and friend VP John Nkomo does not die.”
Meanwhile, zanu-PF Bulawayo secretary for administration Cde Nacisio Makhulumo said 10 buses have been organised to ferry mourners to Harare for Cde Ndlovu’s burial. He said the buses will leave around 7PM today urging travelling mourners to converge at party’s Davies Hall offices at 4pm for logistics purposes.
Cde Makhulumo said the three buses secured to ferry mourners to Cde Ndlovu’s house would leave at 8AM. Cde Ndlovu is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.