Former Cabinet Minister and Zanu PF Bulawayo Provincial chairman Professor Callistus Dingiswayo Ndlovu, who died in South Africa on Wednesday, has been declared a national hero.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course as his body is expected in the country anytime from Monday.
Today, the Cabinet sub-committee on State Funerals and Monuments is meeting in Harare to work out the logistics of the funeral.
Zanu PF secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu announced yesterday at Prof Ndlovu’s house in Kumalo, Bulawayo, that the Politburo had unanimously conferred national hero status on the late liberation fighter.
“When I heard that Prof Ndlovu had passed on, I called President Mnangagwa and he said he was waiting for my call. He told me to activate the systems or call for a Politburo meeting. But these days, Politburo members are out in the provinces conducting party work.
“So yesterday I could not consult Politburo members because we were waiting for a letter from the province requesting the hero status and when we received the letter, I activated the systems to talk to all the Politburo members,” said Mpofu.
He said out of 43 Politburo members, they consulted 39 members as four are out of the country and all those consulted unanimously declared Prof Ndlovu a national hero.
“I reported back to the President and he immediately told me to come to Bulawayo to deliver the news. Prof Ndlovu has been honoured by Zimbabwe and has been declared a national hero. He will be buried at the National Heroes Acre,” said Mpofu, drawing applause from mourners at the home.
Mpofu described Prof Ndlovu as an astute leader, a straight talker and a unifier who wanted things to be done by the book.
After breaking the news to the family and party supporters gathered at the Ndlovu residence, Mpofu also read out a condolence message from President Mnangagwa addressed to Mrs Ndlovu and family.
The President said he received the news of Prof Ndlovu’s death with disbelief and shock and described him as a hard worker.
“With his death, both the ruling party Zanu PF and the country at large have lost a principled and disciplined cadre who was always prepared to sacrifice for the greater good of our people.
On behalf of the Party Zanu PF, Government, my family and indeed on my own behalf , I extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to you, the children and entire Ndlovu family. May you derive comfort from the knowledge that we share in your deep grief and great loss,” said President Mnangagwa.
Central Committee member Angeline Masuku thanked the President and the party on behalf of Bulawayo province for honouring Prof Ndlovu.
She said Zimbabwe was indeed under a new dispensation as back in the day it would take time before one was declared a hero, but for Prof Ndlovu it was done two days after his death.
Family spokesperson, Dr Hanani Dube said Prof Ndlovu’s body was expected in the country as from Monday as they had failed to complete all paperwork before close of business yesterday.
He told mourners that Mrs Ndlovu was grateful for the support and honour bestowed on her husband by Zanu PF and the Government.
Dr Dube thanked the party and Government for supporting his uncle during his illness and his subsequent trip to South Africa.
Prof Ndlovu was born on February 9 in 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.
At the university, Prof Ndlovu was also president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) from 1963 to 1964.
He was also publicity secretary of the National Union of Basutoland Students (NUBS) from 1964 to 1965.
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.
He set up an office near the United Nations.
This was quite an important office for Zapu because the party co-ordinated most of its external relations outside Africa and the office in London, United Kingdom depended on information from his office.
He once lectured at the Hofstra University in Long Islands in New York.
Prof Ndlovu was also granted Freedom of the City of Minneapolis in 1972.
He received a number of honours, which include an award for distinguished teaching in America in 1973 and was a fellow of the Aggrey Fellowship of the Edward Hazen Foundation.
Prof Ndlovu also attended the Geneva talks as a political advisor in the Zapu delegation in 1976 as well as the Lancaster House Talks on Zimbabwe.
For nine years up to 1980 he was a member of the Revolutionary Council and represented the party at the United Nations and North America.
After independence, he worked as a director at Carbin Finance and the Group industrial relations manager at Union Carbide Corporation in the early 80s.
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.
In 1990 he was an executive consultant with the Treger Group of Companies and a member of the Joint Private Sector Standing Committee to promote trade between Zimbabwe and Botswana and also worked as the chief executive officer at Calding Consultants (Pvt) Limited in 1991.
In 2000, Prof Ndlovu was a member of the Constitutional Commission of Zimbabwe.
Prof Ndlovu also worked for the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management (Zipam) for several years.
He was once chairman of the Board of Directors at NetOne and chairman of the Foundation Task Force of the Gwanda State University.
At the time of his death, Prof Ndlovu was a member of the Zanu-PF Central Committee and Bulawayo provincial chairman.
Prof Ndlovu is survived by wife Angeline, several children and grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at 3 Fletcher Road, Kumalo in Bulawayo. The Chronicle