By Staff Reporter
The late Catholic priest Father Emmanuel Francis Ribeiro, who died yesterday at the age of 86, has been declared a national hero.
Ribeiro is credited for helping nationalists, including the late former President Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere cross into neighbouring Mozambique during the liberation war.
He succumbed to pneumonia yesterday at St Anne’s Hospital where he was admitted.
He is a National Hero pic.twitter.com/RjnmTzmD5y
— Nick Mangwana (@nickmangwana) June 18, 2021
Famed for hatching the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Edgar Tekere’s great escape to Mozambique, Ribeiro was a composer and novelist credited for composing over 17 Roman Catholic Church hymns when he was a parish priest.
Among his most popular Catholic hymns is ‘Gamuchirai Mambo mupiro uyu’ released in 1961 but still trending today.
A former British Broadcast Corporation correspondent, Ribeiro also penned famous novels such as Muchadura (1967), Tonderai (1969) and Ndakaitei.
Ribeiro was the head of the committee that penned Zimbabwe’s national anthem as well as a member of the committee which designed Zimbabwe’s national flag.
Born in Chivhu in 1935 in a deeply rooted Catholic family, Ribeiro attended St Francis Xavier Kutama Mission in 1951, Gokomere mission and Chishawasha seminary where he studied theology in 1952-54. He also attended Gweru Teacher’s College before enrolling for a Master’s degree at Bloomington College of Music in the United States.
Between 1978 and 1983, Rebeiro was the Chaplain-General of Zimbabwe Prisons, military and Zimbabwe Republic police.
He was once a deputy director at the passport office, after having worked in the ministry of education.
More details to follow…