ONE of the pioneers of the country's liberation war Cde Clark Mpofu has died and the Zanu-PF leadership in Bulawayo has recommended that he been declared a national hero.
He was 81.
Cde Mpofu succumbed to cardiac arrest at Mpilo Central Hospital where he had been hospitalised on Saturday.
Zanu-PF politburo member Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube said Mpofu was among the first liberation fighters to take up arms.
He said he trained in sabotage activities in China before returning into the country where with colleagues, he bombed the Tredgold Building and Bulawayo Post Office, when most blacks could not even imagine standing up to the settler colonial regime.
"Due to his contributions, we made a collective decision that he be declared a national hero and we have already submitted our recommendation to the party's national leadership.
"He was once detained with President Mnangagwa at Khami Prison and was only released from jail after Independence due to his acts of sabotage. He remained committed to the people's cause and we firmly believe he deserves a national hero status," he said.
His son, Nhlanhla, said while the family is aware of his political activities, they mainly related to him as the family's figurehead.
"To us he was really a pillar of strength. He really motivated us to be better people and encouraged that we pursue education as a source of empowerment.
"He also taught us a lot about the need to prepare for retirement and having a rural home. We might know about his political activities but to us he was really a father. His death is a serious blow for us," said Nhlanhla.
He said Cde Mpofu is survived by his wife, seven children, 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Historian Pathisa Nyathi described Cde Mpofu is one of the pioneering liberation struggle cadres who changed the nationalist struggle from accommodating the settler minority but directly and radically confronting it.
His actions led to his arrest in 1965 and he remained in jail until ceasefire in 1979.
He attended Zinyangeni Primary School in Nkayi and later came to Bulawayo where he joined the National Democratic Party and became active in its Youth League within the Makokoba Branch where the likes of Jaison Ziyaphapha Moyo, Benjamin Madlela and Ethan Dube and others were active.
Cde Mpofu excelled in the Sabotage Campaign where they operated under the command of General Chedu and Enos Chikowore.
After training in sabotage activities, he was part of the group that bombed the Bulawayo Post Office, Tredgold Building and Circus Grounds near the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre grounds.
Upon his arrest Cde Mpofu was sent to Khami Prison where one of his inmates was President Mnangagwa.
He was moved to other prisons such as Whawha and Gwelo prison.
Cde Mpofu was released from jail following the conclusion of the Lancaster House Talks in 1979.
Mourners are gathered at house number 4592 Nketa 9.