War veteran Cde Jason Joseph Phillimon Mandeya who died on the 13th of this month and was declared a liberation war hero has been buried at Warren Hills Provincial Heroes Acre.

Cde Mandeya who died at Parirenyatwa Hospital has been described as a selfless son of the soil who sacrificed his life for the liberation of the country.

Harare Metropolitan Province Minister of State Cde Miriam Chikukwa who was represented by deputy director in her office Mr Trust Mudzingwa said the country should celebrate the contribution Cde Mandeya made to the development of the country.

Family members said they had lost a pillar of strength while colleagues from Air Zimbabwe hailed Mandeya for inspiring blacks to take up jobs as pilots after independence.

Born on 28 November 1952, Cde Mandeya whose Chimurenga name was Senior Hombarume joined the liberation struggle in 1975 after he was motivated by his failure to secure a job due to segregation of the colonial regime.

He received military training at Chimoio and was posted to Tanzania for further training.

In 1978 he was deployed to Mount Darwin and in 1979 he was posted to Pakistan and later Greece where he trained as a pilot.

After independence in 1981 he was recruited by Air Zimbabwe and became one of the first black pilots.

Cde Mandeya served Air Zimbabwe until retirement on medical grounds in 2012.

He is survived by his wife Alice, two children and three grandchildren.