ZIMBABWE has been plunged into mourning again following the death of Major General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebe as the nation is still to come to grips with the deaths of two other decorated liberators who died in the past few weeks.
He was 61.
In his condolence message, President Mnangagwa said the country is losing the cadres of the liberation struggle who fought to free the country from the yoke of colonialism.
“I have been greatly saddened and pained by the passing on yesterday of yet another distinguished war veteran and senior officer, Major-General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebe, at the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
“The demise of Major-General Bhebe casts, yet again, a dark shadow over our nation which is still grieving the losses in succession of two national heroes, the late Major-Generals (Rtd) Godfrey Chanakira and Sikhulile Nyathi, in the space of two weeks.
“Our nation is fast losing members from a generation of revolutionary cadres who joined the armed liberation struggle of our Second Chimurenga in the 70s. Zimbabwe is all the poorer for it as these cadres formed the bedrock of our revolutionary ethos now and in the future,” he said.
The President said Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe who was diabetic, leaves behind a legacy “of heroism tempered with humility, honesty and loyalty, attributes put to the advancement of the liberation struggle and to our nation, Zimbabwe.
“On behalf of Zanu PF, Government, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Bhebe family, especially to his wife Sarah and the children, who have lost a loving husband, father and mentor.
“As they grieve the loss of their dear departed, may they be comforted by the knowledge that the whole nation joins them in mourning the loss of one who was no longer theirs alone, but a national figure,” said President Mnangagwa.
In a statement, Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant General David Sigauke, said Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe died on Monday evening at the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
“The Commander Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant General David Sigauke regrets to announce the untimely passing on of Major-General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebe. Maj-Gen Bhebe died on Monday evening, June 13, 2022, at the Avenues Clinic in Harare,” read the statement.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe was born on December 30, 1960, at Masase Mission Hospital in Mberengwa District, Midlands Province. He grew up in Tinhayi Kraal under Chief Mtevaidze also in Mberengwa.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe’s parents were teachers and so he did his primary education at several schools, transferring as his parents were transferred.
Masase Primary School took him through Grade 1 to 3 from 1967 to 1969, Mavorovondo Primary School for Grade 4 in 1970, Chiremba Primary School in Epworth for Grade 5 in 1971, Mnene Boarding School and Danamombe Primary School in Mberengwa for Grade 6 in 1972 and Msiningira Primary School in Mberengwa for Grade 7 in 1973.
He did his secondary education at Masase Secondary School from 1974 to 1977.
Maj Gen (Rtd) Bhebe joined the liberation struggle under Zipra after crossing the border into Zambia via Botswana in April 1977. He did basic military training that year at Boma Training Camp in Angola.
After completing basic training in March 1978, he was selected to be an instructor and underwent further military training in semi-conventional and conventional warfare at the same camp.
At independence, Maj-Gen (Rtd) Bhebe was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army on April 1, 1981.
He rose through the ranks to Major-General, his retirement rank from the ZNA last year.
Mourners are gathered at 15 Cranborne West Married Quarters, Hatfield, in Harare.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and three children.