Roman Catholic priest, Father Emmanuel Francis Ribeiro died this morning at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare at the age of 86. The late heroic priest who was born in 1935 was the brains behind the late President Robert Mugabe and liberation hero Edgar Tekere’s escape to Mozambique.
It is also believed that he gave shelter to Mugabe and another liberation hero Enos Nkala after their release from prison by the Ian Smith government. He also headed the committee that penned Zimbabwe’s national anthem and was part of the one that designed its flag.
Father Ribeiro was a composer and novelist and he composed over 17 Roman Catholic Church songs. Born in 1935 in Chivhu, he attended Kutama Mission, Gokomere and Gweru Teachers’ College. He studied Theology at Chishawasha before enrolling for a Masters’ Degree at Bloomington College of Music in the USA. He was also a correspondent for the BBC.