Thousands of Zimbabweans bid farwell at the state funeral of Stan Mudenge, Minister of Education and longtime member of the ZANU-PF ruling party. The funeral was held on October 8, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Thousands bid hero Mudenge farewell
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 00:00
Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS from all walks of life thronged Stodart Hall in Mbare and the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday to give veteran nationalist and Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Isaak Stanislaus Gorerazvo Mudenge a big send-off.
The national hero collapsed and died in his room at a Masvingo hotel last Thursday afternoon.
He had been due to address the 39th Southern African Society for Education Conference before his demise.
The thousands who thronged the two venues included leaders from all political parties in Zimbabwe.
Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe led officials from their parties at the burial.
However, Home Affairs co-Minister Theresa Makone missed proceedings at Stodart Hall and only arrived at the national shrine when President Mugabe and other leaders had taken their seats.
She is supposed to share Master of Ceremonies duties with her counterpart, co-Minister Kembo Mohadi.
Proceedings started as early as 7am when mourners thronged Stodart Hall for body viewing.
President Mugabe led mourners in viewing the body.
He was followed by Vice President Joice Mujuru, DPM Mutambara, DPM Khupe and senior Zanu-PF, MDC-T, MDC and Government officials.
After the body viewing, the funeral cortege proceeded to the National Heroes Acre.
A sombre mood engulfed the national shrine as the entourage took Minister Mudenge to his final resting place.
Mudenge national hero
The crowd broke into song and dance as the casket was taken to the podium.
Placards inscribed with, among other messages, “Dr Mudenge an astute diplomat” and “Zororai murugare Zimuto” were dotted across the sacred shrine.
Minister Mudenge was honoured with a three-volley gun salute from the Presidential Guard.
Family spokesperson Ms Rumbi Mudenge described the hero as a political genius who was dedicated to serving his country.
“He was a hardworking man and an exceptional historian. To us, his wife, children and friends, he was a fatherly figure, unique and never forgot where he came from,” she said.
She described Minister Mudenge as an outstanding African hero and a humble man who cared for children and loved all people regardless of their race.
Meanwhile, condolence messages continued to pour in yesterday.
Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa expressed sadness at Minister Mudenge’s death.
Dr Mkapa is also a former Foreign Affairs minister in Tanzania.
“He was a great nationalist and patriotic fighter.
He assumed a heroic position in the ranks of distinguished sons and daughters of Zimbabwe.”
Dr Mkapa described Minister Mudenge as a treasured colleague on the international arena.
“May his service inspire present and future generations of youth in consolidating African Independence, unity and honour.”
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association said Minister Mudenge was dedicated to duty and the upliftment of education.
Zimta president Mrs Tendai Chikowore said educationists would forever cherish Minister Mudenge’s contribution to the growth of education in Zimbabwe.
“The late minister was also a great champion of further teacher development and professional training in the universities and colleges of higher learning.”
The Zimbabwe Congress of Students Unions also extended its condolences to the Mudenge family and saluted his contribution to education, particularly the higher education cadetship programme.