Airforce crash victim Jombo mourned
By Samuel Kadungure
NYAZURA – A sombre atmosphere engulfed the Chitenderano communal area of Nyazura, where villagers battled to come to terms with the death of their eminent product and Air Force of Zimbabwe pilot Squadron Leader Taurai Jombo.
Squadron Leader Jombo died when a training aircraft he was flying with his colleague plunged into a squatter settlement next to Charles Prince Airport in Harare. His death comes coincidentally exactly a month after his father Freddy — who battled cancer for seven years — had passed on.
Squadron Leader Jombo’s body was interred next to his father at the Gwatidzo community cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.
The Jombo family spokesman, Noel, bemoaned the fact that his young brother died while they were still mourning their father.
“Taurai’s death came as a shock. It is exactly a month after the death of our father. Our father died on August 4 and Taurai passed away on September 4, 2014.
“Early in the morning before his death, he had called home to finalise arrangements for our father’s memorial service, which we had slated for end of this month. He was the one who looked after our father who was suffering from cancer — forking out $800 every three months for chemotherapy,” said Noel, as he struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.
“His last words to us were ‘I will send you money to buy meat in the afternoon’. Our mother spent the whole day waiting to receive money through Eco-cash money transfer, but it was the news of his death, not money, that we eventually received on that phone. Can you imagine? It was unbelievable, but what can we do? We have to accept it,” he added.
Mr Jombo added that the deceased was born a soldier.
“After his A-level course, he got a place at the University of Zimbabwe, but opted for the Air Force of Zimbabwe cadetship. I dissuaded him, but he hit me with blow on the forehead, arguing that he was a soldier. After his studies, Taurai often reminded us that he was doing all he could for the family as he could die anytime due to the nature of his job. That is exactly what happened, so we have to accept it. This is what he was destined for,” explained Mr Jombo battling to control his emotions.
In a graveside speech delivered on his behalf by Squadron Leader Boncase Mwakorera, AFZ Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri said the nation had lost an intelligent and brilliant pilot.
Air Marshal Shiri said Squadron Leader Jombo was committed to his work and will be difficult to replace.
“He loved his work, and died at work. The Air Force of Zimbabwe has lost an intelligent, hard-working and brilliant pilot. It will take time to find someone to fit in his shoes. He is impossible to replace.
“We are very sorry to the family and the community about this loss. He joined the AFZ in 1999, and we are all aware that during that time things were tough. At that time, some were quitting their jobs, but he was different. He joined the force and proved his mettle.
“He had a clean and untainted record. We are deeply saddened by the aircraft accident, which has claimed his life. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of this courageous officer who died in the line of duty,” said Cde Shiri.
Ward 30 Zanu-PF Councillor Cde Edward Mukoyi described Squadron Leader Jombo as a focused and properly oriented cadre.
“He was our pride. The community regarded him as a focused product and a good example worth emulating. He has left a legacy for the 15 years that he has served in the air Force of Zimbabwe.
“We feel empty and vulnerable without him. As a community, we had high expectations for him, but death was meant to be his destiny. The country has lost, the Chitenderano community, his family, has lost — we are all mourning his loss,” said Clr Mukoyi.
Headman Nyamombe had this to say: “A good man does not live long. This young man had a promising future. He was reliable, respectful. He had all attributes of a good leader. It is a shame to lose him this way.”
Squadron Leader Taurai Jombo died in an aircraft accident when their trainer plane crashed in a compound while rehearsing for the Big African Air Show on Wednesday.
He was honoured with a three-gun salute.
Squadron Leader Jombo is survived by his wife Rumbidzai and two children, Rugare and Ruvarashe. Manica Post