ZANU PF Politburo member Cde Absalom Sikhosana, who died at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) yesterday, has been declared a national hero.
At the time of his death, Cde Sikhosana (70), was acting Zanu PF chairman for Bulawayo Province.
The party’s secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu conveyed the message of conferment of the national hero status to the family and mourners at Cde Sikhosana’s home in Nkulumane last night.
“His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of Zanu PF Cde ED Mnangagwa has conferred a national hero status to the late Absalom Sikhosana. The late Absalom Sikhosana will be interred at the National Heroes Acre at a date to be advised,” said Dr Mpofu.
He said this was the first time the President had conferred national hero status on someone before the party had received a letter from the deceased’s province.
“This is a first. I am only receiving the letter from the province this evening, which means Cde Sikhosana was a person for the whole nation that did not want to boast about his importance in the party.
“He was a selfless person; this is why the party had asked him to be the acting chairman in Bulawayo despite being a Politburo member. This never happens but with him it did, he was our chairperson and since his appointment, we never heard of any squabbles in Bulawayo. I hope there won’t be any after this,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said it was a dark day for the nation as Cde Sikhosana served diligently in the party until his death.
“During his tenure as secretary for Youth there were no problems. He chided them at the same time moulding them,” he said.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Judith Moyo said Cde Sikhosana devoted all his time to the party.
“He had no time for (personal issues) but gave all his time to the party and by so doing we want to say thank you very much for a job well done.”
Cde Skhosana’s younger sister, Mrs Euna Ndlovu, said the family had lost a unifier.
“He has not been well for some time suffering from a heart problem. Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer as well as arthritis. We were told his kidney had failed,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
“Growing up we were very close up to his death. He was not a violent person and liked socialising with people. Absalom was a friend of everybody.”
Cde Sikhosana was born on October 26 1949 in Matobo District under Chief Masuku in Matabeleland South Province.
He attended Nduna Primary School from 1956 to mid-1958.
He moved to White Waters Primary School for Standard One to Three between 1958 and 1960. He also attended Lozikeyi Primary in Bulawayo for Standard Four to Six from 1961 to 1964.
In 1965 he moved to Mzilikazi Secondary School, then Mgandane for his from One to Four.
In 1969 he attained a certificate in salesmanship from Rapid Results College and a diploma in Public Relations from Ruskin College in the United Kingdom.
He worked as a Tally Clerk for the Bulawayo Clothing Factory (Charter Clothing) from 1970 to 1975. Between 1976 and 1977 Cde Sikhosana was elected regional organiser for the Rhodesian Clothing and Garment Workers Union.
His movement from Charter Clothing to trade unionism was orchestrated by the political leadership to fill the gap left under the detention of the late nationalist Cde Enos Mdlongwa.
In 1977 he left the country to join the armed struggle in Zambia via Botswana. He was trained at Camp of General Training (CGT) as an infantry cadre. After demobilisation in 1982, he joined the Bulawayo Municipal Workers Union and became the organising secretary.
In 1992 he was seconded to the Public Service International Head Quarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1983 he was elected national secretary-general for the ZAPU Youth wing.
Between 1987 and 1989 Cde Sikhosana was instrumental in uniting the structures of the two liberation parties after the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987.
He was elected youth publicity and information secretary for the united party, Zanu PF, at the inaugural youth conference in 1989.
He became the national deputy secretary for the Zanu PF Youth League deputising the late national hero Chief Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai.
Between 2000 and 2014, he served as Zanu PF national secretary for youth affairs. In 2014 he became deputy secretary in the department of implementation of indigenisation policy in the politburo.
In October 2019 he was appointed acting chairman for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, a position he held until the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Mrs Jelina Dube-Sikhosana, five children and six grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at his home, Number 3115 Nkulumane 5, Bulawayo.
— Sunday Mail