THE Bulawayo City Council has given the go-ahead for renowned city water activist Arnold Payne to be buried at the Lady Stanley Cemetery today.
The cemetery is reserved for outstanding senior members of the community who worked for the development of the people of Bulawayo.
Payne’s recognition comes after civic leaders and rights activists described him as a hero for championing the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP). The water project is aimed at building a pipeline from the mighty Zambezi River to supply water to Bulawayo.
His younger brother pastor Leslie confirmed that the activist had been accorded civic status after the family had written to the city fathers requesting that he be buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery.
“As a family, we wrote a letter to council requesting that he be buried at Lady Stanley.
“We did so with the help of the councillor (Ward 2 councillor Sithabile Moyo) who gave us the go-ahead and we submitted it to council.
“Yesterday council agreed that he be buried at the cemetery,” he said.
“A church service will be held at the Baptist Church in Tegela behind Ikes Garage at 9am.
“After that the funeral procession will leave for Lady Stanley Cemetery where he would be buried at 11am.”
Moyo yesterday confirmed that she wrote a letter requesting that Payne be interred at Lady Stanley because of the work he did for Bulawayo.
“I wrote a letter to the director of housing advising him that Payne should be buried at Lady Stanley taking into cognisance the work he did, fighting for Zambezi water to be accessed by Bulawayo,” she said.
Payne died at Mater Dei Hospital at the age of 76 on Monday night. He is best remembered for pushing a wheelbarrow carrying 210lt of water from the Zambezi River to Bulawayo and Gwanda in 1992 in a symbolic gesture to raise the urgency of the crisis to authorities to speed up implementation of the MZWP. Payne was born in the Mtshabezi area of Gwanda district in Matabeleland South.