Mhlanga to get Lady Stanley burial
THE late Highlanders Football Club president Jonathan Themba Mhlanga will be laid to rest at the Lady Stanely Cemetery in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Mhlanga, one of the first black business persons in the city and an astute sports administrator, died at the Premier Services Hospital in Hillside on Thursday afternoon following a long battle with an illness linked to old age. He was 81. His son and family spokesperson Lenox expressed his family’s appreciation for the honour given to his father.
“The old man will be laid to rest at Lady Stanley cemetery on Sunday. As a family we really appreciate the honour that the City Fathers conferred on my father. Maybe its because of the immense contribution that they feel he did to the City of Bulawayo,” said Lenox.
He said soon after news of his father’s death spread, condolence messages from all over the world started pouring in.
“People from across the globe have been our pillar of strength since news of his passing on broke while locally a number of mourners have been paying a visit to the family home and its really comforting. My father was a very reserved person, someone who would not go out there to seek honour and that is a huge lesson and challenge for us,” said Lenox.
Meanwhile, Highlanders yesterday said Mhlanga’s death has robbed the Bosso institution of a “big shelter”.
Highlanders board of directors secretary general Jimmy Ncube paid his condolence on behalf of the club leadership.
“We We a are e emptye pty as a c club,ub, t thee mana was the head of Highlanders. He provided that much needed shelter and as Highlanders we are really saddened by his death,” said Ncube, speaking soon after a church service at the Mhlanga family home at Matsheumhlophe last night.
Among those in attendance were members of the board who included former board chairman Dumisani Sandi, Mathew Sibindi, Davies Sibanda as well as the club chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede.
Highlanders’ longtime benefactor and Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, who is also the Makokoba Member of Parliament, Tshinga Dube was also in attendance.
In a related development, Zifa have sent a condolence message to the Mhlanga family and Highlanders as an institution following the passing on of the club president.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, expressed shock and dismay at the passing on of the renowned football administrator.
“We have learnt with great shock and dismay of the death of Mhlanga, one of the finest gentlemen in Zimbabwean football.
“He was a pillar of strength both in the community and at Highlanders as well as the football family at large,” said Gwesela in a statement.
He commended Mhlanga’s priceless contribution to the development of football in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole.
“He had outstanding abilities and qualities that came through hard work and he had unrivalled love and commitment for the beautiful game and his community.
“He was one of the most respected sports administrators in Zimbabwe and his departure is a huge loss to football.
“Zifa is in mourning with his family, Highlanders FC, friends and the local footballootba familya y as everyoneeve yo e grapplesg app es w witht the shocking loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mhlanga family in this time of grief and we encourage them to seek comfort and solace in the Almighty. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” said the Zifa communications manager. Mhlanga is survived by wife Marvis, seven children, three girls and four boys, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at Number 25 Antrim Road, Matsheumhlophe. The late Bosso president’s body will today lie in state at his Matsheumhlophe house with a church service set for the Presbyterian Church in Makokoba at 8AM tomorrow before
burial at Lady Stanley.
Mourners listen to the word of God during a church service for the late Highlanders president Jonathan Themba Mhlanga at his Matsheumhlophe home last night. — (Pic: Fortune Muzarabani)
Jonathan Themba Mhlanga