Tribute to the late Father Emmanuel Ribeiro, Zimbabwean National hero of undoubted pedigreeBy Tendai Chirau
If selflessness were a person, then surely, this humble cleric from the Catholic Church was!
Key lessons from a man of the cloth who boldly chose nation over church doctrine:
- In life, when you choose to help someone, give it your all.
When Fr Ribeiro defended a then youthful ED Mnangagwa from the death sentence, little did he know that he was saving a future President for Zimbabwe. Such is how God’s mystery of providence uses human agency.
- When helping, the sacrifice of personal comfort is a virtue not found in many.
When Fr Ribeiro risked his own position in the church and in the national polity to shelter and help Cdes RG Mugabe and Edgar Tekere, then fugitives of colonial law, to cross into Mozambique, he was oblivious of the mammoth revolutionary legacy he was shaping for Zimbabwe.
- If you must write, then do it for posterity.
Today, we remember Fr Ribeiro for his literary acumen and passion for nationalist history. He continues to adorn our libraries… and our collective conscience. Go well, Father.
- Stand for that which is right, not that which is proper.
Fr Ribeiro, a stalwart poet and composer, courageously led in the fight to have Catholic music sung in vernacular – which was right. The fruits of his travails are testimony to his values, as befitting independence in the body of Christ.
- Yearn not for personal glory, but for virtuous ties that bind.
A priest from the 1960s, Fr Ribeiro remained faithful to his vows, becoming one of the longest serving clergymen. Yet he remained humble, electing to be led even by those who came after him. Magnanimity personified!
Father Emmanuel Ribeiro, may you find peaceful rest in God’s bosom. You were a rare, real Comrade!
- About the author: Tendai Chirau is the Zanu-PF acting Deputy Secretary for the Youth League.