A dark cloud hung over Beitbridge town on Saturday last week when people from across the political divide put aside their differences to mourn four senior citizens, two liberation war heroes and two prominent businessmen.
Three of the men were buried at their rural homes in Lutumba (Ward 5), Chamnanga (Ward 5) and Nuli (Ward 15), with the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Abednico Ncube leading the proceedings.
Cdes Shengedzani Moyo Tshidixwa and Solomon Masevhe Singo, who died on April 20 and 21 respectively, were declared liberation war heroes.
Businessman Mr Stanley Ndlela was buried at his rural home in Lutumba on the same day.
The other businessman Mr Isaac Chibi, popularly known as Mr Mulalo, passed on after a short illness in Bulawayo and will be buried at his rural home in Mtetengwe (Ward 6) this Saturday.
He owned the town’s leading driving school (Mulalo), while Mr Ndlela operated several businesses around the district.
Speakers spoke glowingly about the departed heroes and community leaders.
Addressing mourners at the funeral wakes, Minister Ncube said; “Our fallen heroes were indeed selfless men who contributed a lot in the liberation of this country from colonial rule.
“As senior citizens they also provided guidance to most of us in shaping a cultured and progressive society. They dedicated all their lives in serving others.
“These were principled men and as Zimbabweans let’s work hard to push their eternal dream of economic development. We cannot delegate the duty of developing our country to anybody, let’s take charge as Zimbabweans and lead from the front.”
Zanu-PF Dulivhadzimo District vice chairperson, Cde Oscar Chiromo, who was a friend to Cde Tshidixwa, said the community had lost a community builder and peace maker.
“Our hearts are heavy that we have lost four prominent senior citizens in one week,” he said. “These are honourable men you would go to for any kind of advice.”
Senator for Beitbridge Tambudzani Mohadi said the district had been robbed of men of great wisdom.
Zanu-PF’s provincial chairman for Matabeleland South Cde Rabelani Choeni said it was important for the lives of all those who played a role in the liberation war to be well documented to inspire future generations.
“Let’s continue writing all our success stories as freedom fighters and Zimbabweans,” said Cde Choeni.
Cde Tshidixwa was born in 1953 in Chamnanga Village and was politically active from the age of 18 when he joined ZAPU and served as youth secretary in 1978.
Post-independence, he served in different portfolios in Zanu-PF and at the time of his death he was a provincial member of ZILWACO and Zanu-PF’s Provincial Secretary for Production.
Cde Singo, who also died after a short illness, was born in 1949 and joined the liberation struggle in 1976 under ZANLA.
He received military training in Tanzania and was later deployed to Masvingo.
At independence, he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army and retired in 1983.
At the time of his death he was chief security officer at Elliot Hotel in Beitbridge.