Remembering gallant son, Duke Ndlovu
ON September 15, 2015 – Zimbabwe woke up to news that a giant had fallen.
A dark cloud hung over the country as a gallant son of the soil, Cde Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu breathed his last. He was 78.
Cde Ndlovu died at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where he had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after an asthma attack and subsequent stroke. He was declared a national hero and is buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Commemorating the first anniversary of his passing, Cde Ndlovu’s wife, Mrs Rose Ndlovu, said the late former Cabinet Minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member is fondly remembered.
“He is fondly remembered with love and affection by myself, his children, relatives, professional colleagues, friends and all who knew him or worked with him. As I reflect on the 54 years of our married life, I thank and praise God Almighty for having given me such a loving, loyal husband,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She said Cde Ndlovu was a supportive and encouraging husband, a pioneer of distance education in Zimbabwe and a selfless revolutionary of the liberation struggle.
“I owe most of my achievements to his support and encouragement. He gave himself to the service of the family and community at large. He encouraged and motivated all those who were making efforts to improve or upgrade themselves especially through education or business ventures, as long as they had the ambition and put effort to achieve something posit ive,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
“He was a pioneer of the introduction of distance education in Zimbabwe through affordable distance learning. He was a selfless revolutionary of the liberation struggle, a unifier across ethnic, tribal and political lines and an astute administrator. May his soul rest in God’s eternal peace.”
Born on May, 4, 1937, Cde Ndlovu started active politics in 1957 after he joined the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League.
He also worked as a journalist for the Bantu Mirror, a publication that focused on African issues.
In 1959, Cde Ndlovu went to South Africa where he got his first taste of politics when he became a member of the African National Congress before returning to Zimbabwe to serve as Zapu’s chairman for Mpopoma district in Bulawayo in 1962.
During that time, Cde Ndlovu led Mgandane, a group of trained guerrillas responsible for several sabotage operations in the area.
After the banning of Zapu in 1963, he became a member of the People’s Caretaker Council, which led to his arrest by the white minority Rhodesian government in 1964.
He was detained at Gonakudzingwa prison up to 1965 together with the late Vice Presidents Joshua Nkomo and Joseph Msika, among other liberation icons.
After his release from prison in 1965, he went to Zambia before moving to the United States where he served as Zapu’s chairman in that country.
In the same year, he advocated for the release of the late VP Nkomo and other leaders at the United Nations.
His role as an educationist dates back to 1977 when he served as the director of Zapu schools in Zambia at Victory, JZ and Solwezi camps.
In 1978, he became a member of the Revolutionary Council in Zambia.
Cde Ndlovu was part of the security team for late VP Nkomo working together with Albert Nxele on presidential security.
He was part of a crew that moved the late Father Zimbabwe from his house in Zambia before its bombing.
At independence, he served as Zapu’s deputy executive secretary during the country’s first elections.
He was also PF-Zapu Central Committee member from 1980 to 1987. After the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, Cde Ndlovu became a member of the Zanu-PF Consultative Assembly from 1988 to September 1994.
Cde Ndlovu also served as Zanu-PF deputy national commissar between 2000 and 2005.
He was a trustee for several institutions including the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo National Foundation, 21st February Movement and Mpopoma Development Trust.
Cde Ndlovu also held several government positions including being Minister of Information and Publicity in 2007 and 2008.
From 1995 to 2000, he was the Deputy Minister of Higher Education. Cde Ndlovu was a Politburo member until his death. The likeable former MP for Mpopoma was the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Schools Welfare Trust. He once served as Zanu-PF national secretary for education in the Politburo.
Cde Ndlovu was also the patron of Bongani Orphanage in Njube suburb, Bulawayo.
He was also recognised for excellence in distance education. At one time, he was the president of the African Association for Distance Education.
Cde Ndlovu published over 30 monographs, books and delivered keynote addresses to the Commonwealth of Learning in Singapore and UNESCO.
A distinguished academic and educationist, Cde Ndlovu was the founder of the Zimbabwe Distance Education College (ZEDCO).
He held a Diploma in Social Work (1961), Diploma in Development Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (1968), Masters in Public Administration (1969) and Doctorate in Education with the Syracuse University of New York (USA) (1976).
Pictures of the late Dr Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu