A Roman Catholic priest, Father Emmanuel Ribeiro has died at the age of 86.
Father Ribeiro died this morning at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare.
He is credited with masterminding the late former President Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere’s great escape to Mozambique.
Father Ribeiro also sheltered Mugabe and Enos Nkala when they had been just released by the Ian Smith regime as outlaw Political prisoners after 12 years.
Father Ribeiro was born in 1935 in Zimbabwe into a strong Catholic family. He went to St Francis Xavier College, Kutama in 1951. In 1952 he joined Chishawasha seminary where he did his Junior Certificate in Education, before joining Chishawasha seminary for Philosophy studies in 1954. He proceeded to Gokomere Mission where he did his teaching course. He was ordained a diocesan priest on 13 December 1964.
Father Ribeiro is credited with composing the first Shona hymns of the Roman Catholic church in the late 50’s.
His first song, “Gamuchirai Mambo mupiro uyu” came in 1961 and continues to be sung today.
His other popular compositions include “Alleluia munyika dzose”, “Tauya nezvipo zvemupiro”, “Mambo Mwari wamasimba”, ”Hwayana yaMwari”, Mwari Ngaarumbidzwe” amongst others.