Thousands of people converged at Nkulumane Heroes’ Acre in Bulawayo yesterday to bid farewell to veteran nationalist Cde Joseph Malunga who died on Monday this week and was accorded the liberation hero status.

The late liberation hero who was 80, died at Materdei Hospital after a long illness.

The late veteran nationalist’s political activities started in the mid-50s and in 1960 he was elected the youth chairman for the National Democratic Party until it was banned in 1961.

He became a member of Zapu in 1962 before it was banned and he was arrested and detained at Grey Prison and later Khami Prison from 1965 to 1966 for his resistance to the colonial regime.

Cde Malunga was later to be detained at Whawha Prison from 1976 to 1979.

At the time of his death, the veteran nationalist was a member of the Zimbabwe ExPolitical Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Association.

Family spokesperson Mr Sibangani Malunga says the family grew up virtually orphaned as the late veteran nationalist spent most of his time fighting for freedom.

“We had to endure living a life without a father as he was always running around fighting in the struggle. Love is the gift he left us; togetherness is what he fought for all his life and we should honour this…,” said Mr Malunga.

Zanu PF and war veterans’ officials said the nation has lost a visionary who worked hard for national development and urged mourners to follow in the footsteps of Cde Malinga who gave his unwavering support to the revolutionary party Zanu PF.

The late veteran nationalist is survived by his wife Molly and four children, one boy and three girls.