Zimbabwe Digital News
Top Zanu-PF leader in South Africa, Gift Nhikitiki, who passed away in Johannesburg this week, has been declared a Zimbabwean provincial hero.
Nhikitiki passed away after a short illness at the South Rand Hospital. He was a prominent member of the Zim-SA Forum for which he played a key role in its establishment, and was at the forefront of numerous efforts to promote the interests of Zimbabwean businesspeople in South Africa, and those seeking investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
He was a highly visible player in business, media and political fields, and Zimbabwe Digital News will draw your attention (dear readers) to a series of photographs on the link below, of Nhikitiki in action, at the formation of the Zim-SA Forum where his role, leadership and influence was unquestionable.
The Zim-SA Forum released a series of statements this week saying it had received with shock the news that Nhikitiki had died, at a crucial time when Zimbabwe was facing watershed elections in just under three weeks time.
“As Zim-SA Forum we have been in touch with Gift Nhikitiki’s family and we have offered our assistance as an organisation. As a forum we have resolved that we will try to raise money from among our members to assist Nhikitiki’s family with the funeral costs.
“In this respect we have taken a resolution and request that members of Zim-SA Forum to assist where they can as we prepare to repatriate this gallant fighter of economic emancipation to his final resting place in Zimbabwe,” the statement said.
Highly placed sources confirmed to Zimbabwe Digital News that Nhikitiki had been declared a provincial hero, and the decision had been communicated from Harare to his family and colleagues on Monday morning, following a detailed weekend motivation by the Zanu-PF structures in South Africa.
The decision to confer hero status to Nhikitiki will be particularly significant since it is arguably the first time since the extraordinary political events in November last year led to a change in political leadership in Zimbabwe, and signifies a key-decision-made in President Emmerson’s Mnangagwa’s government (post-Robert Mugabe).
Conferment of hero status is an emotive, but great honour in recognition of a departed hero’s or heroine’s contribution to the Zimbabwean political fabric, and not many people qualify for this honour. The status is determined by the State on a case by case basis.
According to the National Heroes Act [Chapter 10:16], designation of heroes is done by the President “where the President considers that any deceased person who was a citizen of Zimbabwe has deserved well of his country on account of his outstanding, distinctive and distinguished service to Zimbabwe, he may, by notice in Gazette, designate, such a person a national, provincial or district hero of Zimbabwe.”
National hero status is the highest honour that can be conferred on individual and the recipients are entitled to be buried at the National Heroes Acre.
Nhikitiki burial likely to be in his
home village in Chimanimani
The other status are liberation war hero (formerly district hero). The former are buried at the provincial heroes acres while the later are buried at district shrines if their families agree.
The Zim-SA forum said that funerals undertaker Kings and Queens had been contracted to ferry Nhikiti’s remains to Zimbabwe, and that baring late announcements, indications were that Nhikitiki would be buried at his home in Chimanimani.
“Look, this man was a true fighter for the Zimbabwean business communities in South Africa and he was well-known in the Zim-SA forum and its subsidiaries like the Women’s league, Cape Town chapter, Durban chapter, Youth chapter and so forth. Even the tag-line The Ease of Doing Business in Zimbabwe would not be complete without talking about the role and contribution played by Gift Nhikitiki.
“He was a complete activist for Zanu-PF in South Africa and the Zim-SA Forum is poorer with his passing,” a Zim-SA official said.
A memorial service will be held for Nhikitiki at Blue Hills College, Blue Hills, Midrand at 6pm on Tuesday after which final funeral details are expected to be released. Stay tuned to www.zimbabwedigitalnews.com for more details.
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