Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ONE of the pioneer leaders of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of Southern and Central Africa, Mrs Elizabeth Sibanda has died.
Mrs Sibanda (79) succumbed to diabetes at a private clinic in Bulawayo on Thursday last week and will be buried on Wednesday at Lady Stanley cemetery in Bulawayo.
The AFM of Southern and Central Africa was founded by Rev Morgan Sengwayo in 1955.
Mrs Sibanda (79) together with her husband, Rev Richard Sibanda were one of the pioneers who worked with Rev Sengwayo during the church’s formative years.
She was actively involved in the missionary trips dating back to the mid-1950s, which saw the church spreading its wings to the Sadc region.
Mrs Sibanda spearheaded several projects in the church such as assisting and empowering widows and widowers.
Through some her philanthropic works, she distributed blankets and clothes to vulnerable groups during the church’s annual general camp meetings, which are held in December.
Her daughter, Mrs Ordinance M’ckarm said as a family they have lost a mentor and pillar of strength.
“She was a dedicated church elder and leader who played a crucial role both in church and in our family. My mother was a pillar of strength, a humble person full compassionate and a defender of the faith, who showed selfless dedication to the old-time religion,” she said.
“She was a visionary church leader who had a spiritual calling to assist vulnerable groups. She also advocated for the inclusion of youths and women and in church decision making processes.”
Mrs M’ckarm said the church and family have been robbed of a mother and spiritual advisor
“The void that she left will be difficult to fill. We, however, have solace in that she has gone to receive her reward for the six decades that she laboured in the Lord’s vineyard,” she said.
Born on 14 July 1942 in Zvishavane in the Midlands, Mrs Sibanda is survived by her husband, nine children, 28 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at Number 14663, Ithaka Way in Selbourne Park suburb in Bulawayo.