HUNDREDS of Chimanimani villagers attended the late Roy and Heather Bennett’s memorial service held near the couple’s former property, Charleswood Farm.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The Bennetts, who died in a helicopter crash in the United States state of New Mexico on January 18, were described as a caring, loving and helpful couple together with their two children, Charles and Casey.
Speaker after speaker gave touching testimonies at the memorial on Saturday.
Advocate Arnold Tsunga, who represented Bennett during his tenure as opposition MDC-T legislator, said the deceased couple was humble.
“Roy Bennett was a coffee farmer in Chimanimani. I started to know him around 2000, but when he decided to enter into politics, that is when I started to represent him at the courts. He was once accused of beating up Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa (in 2003),” he said.
Bennett, a former Chinamani legislator and MDC-T treasurer-general, was incarcerated for year by former President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
“He had a lot of trouble with security, he was tortured, he was beaten under Mugabe regime and I stood by him in court, but one thing I love about him he helped his community by giving them jobs and food handouts,” he said.
Iain Kay, a family friend and a farmer in Marondera, praised the Bennett family, saying they worked very hard for their community.
“Bennett was a tough man and he usually spoke his mind. He was not afraid to speak his mind and he helped his community and this is shown by villagers who are here today,” he said.
Peggy Sauti, from Chimanimani district, said Bennett, affectionately known as “Pachedu”, loosely translated as “one of us”, helped their community with food.
“We lost our jobs when Bennett lost his farm. We benefited from him immensely, but now we are struggling. We hope the government will give the remaining family members the farm so that they continue with Bennett’s legacy,’’ she said.
Wendy Makaya, who was enrolled at Charleswood Primary School in the 1990s, said she was humbled by the family.
“The family used to supply us with food at school. Our families were not burdened with sourcing food for us,” she said.
Chief Mutambara’s daughter, Venna Musukutwa, also spoke highly of the Bennett family.