THE body of the late national hero and former Cabinet Minister, Professor Callistus Ndlovu, who passed away in South Africa last week, has arrived in Bulawayo ahead of burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Prof Ndlovu (83), who was also Zanu-PF’s Bulawayo provincial chairman and Central Committee member, collapsed and died on Wednesday last week in the neighbouring country, where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer.
He was declared a national hero for his enormous contributions to the country, both before and after independence.
His body was received by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Judith Ncube, Politburo members Cdes Angeline Masuku and Absolom Sikhosana, senior Government officials, service chiefs and hundreds of Zanu-PF members, including Members of Parliament at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport at midday yesterday.
A funeral service was held at Doves Funeral Parlour before his body was taken to his home in Kumalo. It was taken back to the parlour in the evening after another funeral service.
According to a programme released by Zanu-PF and Prof Ndlovu’s family yesterday, today mourners will be gathered at the late national hero’s Kumalo residence.
Prof Ndlovu’s body will be airlifted to his Brunapeg rural home tomorrow and will be returned to Bulawayo on the same day.
On Friday, a funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica — Roman Catholic Church at 8.30AM.
From 10AM to 12PM, another service will be held at the Large City Hall and after that the body will be airlifted to Harare at 2.30PM.
Prof Ndlovu will be buried on Saturday at the National Heroes’ Acre.
Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial spokesman Cde Christopher Sibanda yesterday said the party had organised 10 buses to ferry people to Harare.
“I want to encourage people to come in their numbers as we pay our last respects to our chairman and national hero. We have organised 10 buses that will ferry people to Harare for the burial of Professor Ndlovu,” said Cde Sibanda.
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.
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 Island, 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.