THOUSANDS of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe (ELCZ) members yesterday thronged Bulawayo’s West Park Cemetery for the burial of the church’s Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces dean Rhodes Ndlovu.
Ndlovu, who was 57, died on Sunday evening at a private clinic in Nketa following an asthma attack.
During a church service held at ELCZ in Njube attended by more than 5 000 members from across the country, speaker after speaker described Ndlovu as a great man of God who was a pillar of the church.
“I grew up with Ndlovu in our rural area in Gwanda and he was a man very dedicated to the work of God,” retired Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda told mourners.
“After our secondary education some of us chose different careers focusing on working for our families only, but this man remained working for God until his death.
“We have lost a great man of God who will be difficult to replace,” he said.
ELCZ leader Bishop Steven Dube said he could not believe that Ndlovu was no more.
“We are shocked by the sudden death of Ndlovu who was the pillar of the Lutheran Church and he has left a big void. Just before his death, he had initiated a number of church projects which were meant to benefit different communities in Matabeleland and the country at large,” he said.
Ndlovu was a senior marriage officer and had conducted hundreds of marriage ceremonies in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces.
Ndlovu’s son, Mhlengi Ndlovu, said the death of his father had left the family devastated as he was their foundation.
“Our father taught us to pray every time. He also told us to search for God’s favour, not people’s favour, because in life there are enemies who will always want to stop us from working for God. Just a day before his death, he asked me to accompany him to attend a preaching ceremony in Esigodini where he told the congregation he was proud of me,” Mhlengi said.
Prominent business executive Nyasha Zhou, Titus Manjengwa the chairperson of Bulawayo Church Pastors, MPs, councillors and pastors from different denominations attended Ndlovu’s burial.
Ndlovu had served the Lutheran Church from 1972, starting off as an evangelist before becoming a pastor. He is survived by his wife Promise and two children.