President Emmerson Mnangagwa has presided over the burial of national hero, Father Emmanuel Francis Ribeiro who has been laid to rest at the National Heroes Acre this morning.

Addressing mourners, President Mnangagwa thanked Fr Ribeiro’s family and the Roman Catholic leadership for granting his government permission to bury him at the National Shrine where he shall be laid to rest along with other heroes.

Fr Ribeiro was born in September 1935.

He enrolled at Chishawasha Seminary for Theology and Philosophy studies in 1954 & was ordained a Diocesan Priest in December 1964

He has become the first ever cleric to be declared National Hero, and to lie at Heroes Acre.


In 1975, together with the late Sister Aquina, Moven Mahachi and Chief Rekayi Tangwena, Fr Ribeiro helped the late former President Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere escape to Mozambique.

This was in spite of intimidation from Rhodesian forces, Fr Ribeiro continued to operate underground and offer assistance to jailed nationalists.

Meanwhile, after ordination, Fr Ribeiro worked in Mhondoro and Highfield, Harare from 1968 to 1983.

He was a prison Chaplain at Harare Central Prison during which period he met and assisted the majority of Zimbabwe’s nationalists.

He was later promoted to Assistant Chaplain-General.