Ivan Zhakata and Columbus Mabika
A MEMORIAL service for national hero Major-General (Retired) Sydney Bhebe was held in Harare yesterday ahead of his burial at the National Heroes Acre today.
Speaking at the church service held at the Gospel of Christ Church in Waterfalls, family members, relatives and friends described him as a man of peace.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe’s wife, Reverend Sara Bhebe, said her husband was a peace-loving man who loved to see people happy at all times.
“I want to thank God for the husband he gave me. Ever since we got married in 1990, Sydney has never scolded or beat me. Our children have never heard the two of us quarrelling or seen one of us angry because he loved peace and he was a loving person,” she said.
“He found favour in the eyes of God and we stood for each other all the time. There is no one who will point at Sydney’s casket and say he wronged them because he was a man of peace.
“He did not interfere in other people’s affairs.”
Rev Bhebe also narrated how the two met, got married and lived together, his unconditional love for other people, to the time of his death.
Bishop Enneretta Sande said Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe was a soft-spoken man who loved everyone unconditionally.
“He was a helper in the church and built us a church in Nyanyadzi when we got a stand for the church. No congregant contributed anything as Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe offered to build the church.
“He helped everyone and even the children in the church loved him because he used to interact with them as well,” she said.
Deaconess Bibiana Munakamwe described Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe as an evangelist who was down to earth.
“He did not look like a Major General and he was a father figure even to my own children. He was a simple man and he taught us to be humble,” she said.
Pastor Prisca Nyakudya described Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe as a father figure who loved children and used to sing for them during church services.
“As a ministry, this is a huge loss to us because he was a man who loved children and used to sing for them. His sermons were very powerful as he taught people to love one another.
“He sacrificed a lot for us and to us he was not a Major General but an Evangelist who delivered powerful sermons,” she said.
His brother-in-law, Mr Emmanuel Sande, said the Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe was a humble person who did not abuse his position.
“He would travel with any car and get stopped at road blocks and he would comply and not let anyone know that he was a Major General.
“Part of the money which was used as the bride price for my wife came from the Major General. He was a peace-loving person and did not want to see people fighting or quarrelling,” he said.
The church service was attended by senior Government and army officers, bishops from other churches and congregants.
Maj-Gen Bhebe (Rtd) died last on Tuesday at the Avenues Clinic in Harare at the age of 61.
A funeral parade in his honour was held last Thursday at Charles Gumbo Barracks.
He was born on December 30, 1960 at Masase Mission Hospital in Mberengwa District, Midlands Province. He grew up in Tinhayi Kraal under Chief Mtevaidze also in Mberengwa.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe’s parents were teachers and so he did his primary education at several schools, transferring as his parents were transferred.
Masase Primary School took him through Grade 1 to 3 from 1967 to 1969, Mavorovondo Primary School for Grade 4 in 1970, Chiremba Primary School in Epworth for Grade 5 in 1971, Mnene Boarding School and Danamombe Primary School in Mberengwa for Grade 6 in 1972 and Msiningira Primary School in Mberengwa for Grade 7 in 1973.
He did his secondary education at Masase Secondary School from 1974 to 1977.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe joined the liberation struggle under ZIPRA after crossing the border into Zambia via Botswana in April 1977.
He did basic military training that year at Boma Training Camp in Angola.
After completing basic training in March 1978, he was selected to be an instructor and underwent further military training in semi-conventional and conventional warfare at the same camp.
At independence, Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army on April 1, 1981.
He rose through the ranks to Major-General, his retirement rank from the ZNA last year.
He is survived by wife Sara and three children.