The Sunday Mail
Deputy News Editor
The late National Hero and former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Cde Calistus Dingiswayo Ndlovu has been buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare with highest military honours befitting his status.
Cde Ndlovu died in a hospital in South Africa, a fortnight ago, where he had been admitted for pancreatic cancer. He was 83.
His body was repatriated last week and headed to his rural home in Sanzukwi Village, Brunapeg in Mangwe District, Matabeleland South province. The body was then flown to the capital city on Friday where it lay in State at a family home in Belvedere, a suburb predominantly inhabitated by people of Indian origin.
And in preparing for the final rest yesterday, proceedings began in the morning with Cde Ndlovu’s body being taken, on board a military gun carriage, to Stodart Hall in Mbare for a public viewing.
As has become custom, hundreds of residents from Mbare and adjacent suburbs never miss an opportunity to pay their tribute to national heroes and heroines, and yesterday was no different.
People started arriving at the venue as early as 7am evoking a feeling of anxiety as they awaited for the arrival of the body of their hero.
At around 8am, some youths had assembled adjacent to the hall’s main entrance in song and dance accompanied by traditional drum beating.
Just after 9am, senior Government dignitaries began arriving with the coming of President Mnangagwa marking the start of the official proceedings.
The proceedings lasted for about 2 hours before mourners departed for the National Heroes Acre with The President accompanying the body of Prof Ndlovu.
Thousands of residents lined up the street leading from the hall to Simon Mazorodze road, named after another of Zimbabwe’s illustrious sons, with many waving as the gun carriage with the body passed through.
It was a touching emotional gesture of respect and honour for the departed national hero.
As the convoy left the oldest high density suburb, thousands more had already gathered at the national shrine, the final resting place.
Perched on a kopje some seven kilometres west of the Central Business District along Samora Machel Avenue in Warren Park, the National Heroes Acre symbolises the country’s indefatigable liberation struggle.
The arrival of the body was met with a military parade before the official proceedings at the resting place began with eulogies.
In his gravesite speech, President Mnangagwa described Cde Ndlovu as a down to earth national hero.
“Comrades and friends, I exhort us all to take a leaf from the illustrious life of Professor Calistus Ndlovu who diligently served his country,” he said.
“Let us emulate the humility and down to earth, easily accessible and always ready to assist character of our departed national hero.
“May his dedication to serving others inspire us and his demonstrated love for his country, motivate us.”
Speaking earlier at the same occasion the late Cde Ndlovu’s nephew, Mr Hannan Dube, who spoke as a family representative said his uncle had brought order in the Zanu Pf Bulawayo structures.
“As you look around and take it in, we are awestruck about what the party and the Government have done for him. It is amazing.
“I had awesome testimonies about how he brought order to the party in Bulawayo.
“Siyabona namhla, lokhu esikubonayo, what the Government and the party have hosted for us and for our hero.
“What a privilege it was to have been a part of his life.”
After the speeches, the body was taken to a grave with military honours punctuated by 21 gun salute as it was being lowered.
And as the steel casket landed on the graves floor, Prof Ndlovu carved his final history as Zimbabwe’s 133rd national hero at the shrine.
Two other national heroes – Professor Phineas Makhurane and Dr Oliver Mtukudzi are interred at their rural homes in Gwanda and Madziwa respectively while some of the cremated remains of Cde Khantibai Patel were later taken to India.a