Special Tribute To Reverend Samuel Sifelani
30 September 2020
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Losing A Close One On Your Birthday

…… as I can not believe that *Rev Samuel Sifelani, The Sif, *is* gone

The day 30 September is my birth day. This day has been my special day for the past four decades and a half. I always celebrate this day with my family and also my workmates.

When Tadiwanashe and Tapiwanashe, my sons went back to school on Sunday, they had requested that we celebrate my 2020 birthday before the day so that they would not miss this annual event.

Just last night, Tanyaradzwanashe, my daughter, reminded me of this special day. I promised her all the usual goodies. Little did I know that it would be a celebration in mourning. Indeed, my day became a complicated one. I will always ask my Creator the question, WHY? Why why why?

Rev Samuel Sifelani (Rev Sif) is gone. He was the Zimbabwe Council of Churches Ecumenical Liaison Officer.

He worked closely with our General Secretary, Rev Dr Kenneth Mtata. He anchored that office so well.

Rev Sif passed on last night in Bulawayo. He is gone to be with our Creator. Yet just an hour before that sad incident, I talked to him.

Together we arranged the diary for our General Secretary for the remainder of the week days. He directed me to cancel certain planned meetings in order to accommodate new events that his office needed to participate in. I apologised for complicating his diary with new emerging meetings.

As usual, he said “Haaa Chitova magariro enyu tokuzivai….” and he laughed. Little did I know that Rev Sif was to disappear from us in the next few minutes from that call. Yah, this is unbelievable.

Rev Sif had gone to Bulawayo to attend this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI). He was part of a huge ZCC team from the Secretariat and the structures who were to attend the event.

On Monday this week, as an organisation, we resumed our weekly devotion sessions after a long break due to COVID-19. Rev Sif gathered all of us under our jacaranda tree at our offices in Harare.

He delivered a powerful word. Iam sure my colleagues, Ronald Nare, Winnet Banda and Temptation Veremu will not forget that session for Rev Sif specifically singled them out as he preached.

He was at his best. Little did we know that, that was going to be his last session. Yet, he promised us that next week we will meet again for our devotions. Rev Sif, why, why Mhofu, we are still waiting for next week’s devotions as per your promise.

Mhofu, matigwadzisa.

Rev Sif, magwadzisa vana venyu. Admire Mutizwa, Shaun Gambiza, Caroline Mutsago, Sarah Mupomhori, Arnold Nyereyemhuka and Rev Nhliziyo mavagwadzisa Rev Sif. It was a hard time for them, seeing you lying lifeless after you had been leading them some few minutes before. The night of 29 September 2020 will remain a bad one in their memories. You should have felt for them Rev and abandon the plan to leave us.

That Giant is gone. When we thought we had found a winning formula with Rev Sif as the striker in our General Secretary’s Office, this happens to us. The ZCC has lost a cadre. Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations has also lost an anchorman. The ecumenical movement in Zimbabwe will not be the same without Rev Sif.

What a birthday for me? The year 2020 will remain a bad year for me. Celebrating my birthday in mourning a workmate, my muzukuru, Mufundisi wangu. Oh what a year for me!

Rev Sif matibaya panyama nhete. When we thought we have sent our best team to represent us at the 2020 edition of the ZAMI in Bulawayo, Rev Sif decides otherwise. Yet, Rev Sif had become a key participant at this annual event for ZCC, ZELA and ZIMCODD. The ZAMI will never be the same without Rev Sif. By the way the man was an excellent public speaker. We relied on him in that regard. He was eloquent.

I am Baba Two(Baba Ma 2), the title given to me because in 2004, I was blessed with a pair of twins, Tadiwa and Tapiwa. I was still trying to push the same title onto Rev Sif, though he was resisting it. Rev Sif had just been blessed with a pair of twins some couple of weeks ago. And…now he is gone. While it is always not advisable to question what the Creator does, I am tempted to ask WHY?.

Anyway, Go well Rev Sif. Go well Sam. Go well Mhofu. Go well The Sif. Asi vende ramatisiira ndoguru. You had become a utility player in our ZCC team. You had helped shape our Management team. And…. we relied on you too when it comes to the social well being of our team. What will become of us without you in our midst? What will I tell our Local Ecumenical Fellowships (LEFs). Already they are asking me a lot of questions I can not answer. Yet, I am also still asking you Rev Sif, why did you do this to us? Even your mbuya here, Angela is disturbed. When we received the news last night, she woke up and prayed. By that time we were still pleading with our Creator not to expose us by taking you away.

At that time, I thought you would hear us Rev. It was at that time too that you should have felt for Admire, Shaun, Arnold and Caroline. You were not fair to these young ones Rev. They suffered emotionally.

They tried their best though in vain to stop your plans. You went ahead without considering their plight Rev. It was hard for the young team that had regarded you as their leader to Bulawayo. It was hard for all of us Rev. It will be hard for the Ecumenical movement The Sif. Iam particularly devastated.

Till we meet again The Sif. RIP.

Tinashe Gumbo
( Zimbabwe Council of Churches )

The late Rev Samuel Sifelani