Mashudu Netsianda / Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporters
A SOMBRE atmosphere engulfed the small community of Sanzukwi village in Brunapeg, Mangwe District when hundreds of mourners thronged the homestead of National Hero and former Cabinet Minister, Professor Callistus Dingiswayo Ndlovu, to bid him farewell.
Prof Ndlovu (83), who was also Zanu-PF’s Bulawayo provincial chairman and Central Committee member, collapsed and died on Wednesday last week in South Africa where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer.
In an emotional send off, speakers spoke well of Prof Ndlovu, describing him as a humble and dedicated academic.
His body arrived at his rural home aboard an Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter in the company of his widow, Angeline, Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, the Ministers of State for Bulawayo and Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, Cdes Judith Ncube and Abednico Ncube, the ruling party’s deputy chairperson in Bulawayo, Cde Christopher Dube, among other relatives.
They were met by the Provincial Administrator for Matabeleland South, Ms Sithandiwe Ncube, among other senior Government officials in the province.
Addressing mourners, Cde Khaya Moyo described Cde Prof Ndlovu as a true cadre who fought a good fight and left a good legacy for the country.
“We mourn the passing away of Professor Ndlovu as a party, Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe as a whole. We thank President Mnangagwa for according him national hero status. He was a true and dedicated cadre who left visible footprints in the academic and political world that we will forever cherish. Indlovu ihambile singananzelelanga Kodwa laph’ ehambe khona akudingwa (the elephant might have gone but it has left its footprints),” he said.
Cde Khaya Moyo said Prof Ndlovu was an upright cadre whose legacy and good works ought to be emulated by all peace-loving Zimbabweans.
“Let us remain united and continue on the path that Prof Ndlovu walked on during his lifetime. We thank him for a life well lived and as we mourn together with his family, let us remain united as Zimbabweans. Glory be to God,” he said.
Cde Abednico Ncube, the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, said: “As Matabeleland South province we have been robbed of an academic and national leader who despite his social standing and academic excellence remained humble until his last breath. We will continue to cherish his good works both at Government and party level.”
The Minister of State for Bulawayo, Cde Ncube described the late national hero as a selfless and astute party cadre who never tolerated short cuts throughout his political career.
“As Bulawayo province, we are saying the party has lost a true cadre who stood firm in what he believed in. He never wanted shortcuts as he was an honest and frank person. We will remember him for all the good works,” she said.
The MP for Mangwe, Cde Obedingwa Mguni, said Prof Ndlovu contributed immensely during the liberation struggle, describing him as a leader who was persistent and consistent in his work.
Mr Ginos Ndlovu, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “Prof Ndlovu was a brave and strong man who tenaciously fought his ailment. He was a humble person who never discriminated against anyone despite being an academic who stood out as an exemplary person in our community. As a family, we would like to thank the Government for declaring him a national hero in recognition of his sterling work in liberating our country. Indeed, we have lost great fighter and cadre.”
The body of Prof Ndlovu arrived at Mzilikazi Barracks in Bulawayo shortly after 3PM and passed through Doves Funeral Parlour where it was welcomed and accompanied to his home in Kumalo suburb by the Zanu-PF Bulawayo leadership, service chiefs, family and friends.
In an interview at Prof Ndlovu’s home, Zanu-PF Bulawayo Political Commissar Cde Canaan Ncube said a funeral service would be held this morning at the Roman Catholic Church in the city.
“The body will lie in state at his home today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today) morning it will be taken to St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica — Roman Catholic Church for a church service at 8:30AM,” said Cde Ncube.
He said a funeral service would be conducted between 10AM and 12PM at the Large City Hall after which it will be flown to Harare at 2.30PM ahead of burial tomorrow at the National Heroes’ Acre.
Prof Ndlovu was born on February 9, 1936 in Plumtree, where he did his primary and secondary education. He joined the National Democratic Party in 1960. He subsequently trained as a teacher, enrolling for a Bachelor of Arts degree at Pius XII University College in Lesotho where he became involved with Zapu in 1963 as chairman of the party’s residents and students branches.
Prof Ndlovu also studied at the University of South Africa, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1965 majoring in History, Economics and Political Science.
Back in Zimbabwe, he taught at Empandeni High School, Mafakela Government School and Mpopoma High School.
While teaching at Mpopoma in 1966, he was detained by the Rhodesian regime which felt that his influence among African teachers was not good for the regime which accused him of promoting the objectives of Zapu guerrillas.
Prof Ndlovu was released after 90 days and left the country in 1967 for New York University where he did his Masters and PhD studies.
During the course of his studies at New York University, Prof Ndlovu became very much involved with Zapu, and became the party’s chairman in North America from 1967 to 1971.
After independence, Prof Ndlovu was a Central Committee member from 1980 to 1983 and the Bulawayo provincial chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) from 1984 to 1987.
He was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1985 and a Member of the Senate from 1985 to 1990.
At the same time he was an MP and Senator, he was appointed the Minister of Construction between 1982 and 1983 before he was appointed the Minister of Mines from 1983 to 1984.
Between 1984 and 1989, he was the Minister of Industry and Commerce. At the time of his death, Prof Ndlovu was a member of the Zanu-PF Central Committee and Bulawayo provincial chairman.
He is survived by wife Angeline, several children and grandchildren. – @[email protected]