Bulawayo’s late Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube, was a humble selfless leader, who chose to work in the city and improve lives of locals, while passing on better opportunities that offered lucrative packages, mourners said at his funeral service Tuesday.
Eng. Dube died on December 30 last year after admission at a local hospital. He was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery.
Speaker after speaker at his funeral service held at Amphitheatre narrated how Eng. Dube embraced and embodied humility despite his status in the city, as he associated with everyone regardless of their status in life.
What also stood out was Eng. Dube’s selflessness, whose sacrifices for Bulawayo saw him decline countless offers to work outside the country.
His family confirmed the late engineer was a hard worker, whose heart was set in Bulawayo, as he believed he could make a difference to residents.
“Most of his time was spent at work; that was his passion. When we asked him why he loved his work so much, he would say, ‘let’s help save Bulawayo, what’s important is Bulawayo.’ He was dedicated to you – the city more than his real family,” said his brother in law, Charles Msema, who revealed the late Dube even declined a government position.
“He sacrificed a lot for his job. I remember when the Government of National Unity was coming in, there was a proposal that he be a permanent secretary but he declined and said he would rather be with the City of Bulawayo.”
His young brother, Ishmael Dube, based in Johannesburg, South Africa concurred that Dube cared more for the city than people appreciated.
“When we were in Kathu together, a town in the Northern Cape of South Africa, he showed me a letter of appointment from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). I told him DBSA was a big body, obviously he would be earning a lot. I remember we left the town around past 3am to drive back and along the 2000km, I tried to convince him to take the job offer, stay in South Africa, and leave Zimbabwe since the economy was bad. He responded he wanted nothing to do with money but has love for people back home,” he said.
His young sister, Simiso Dube, also based out, said the late “was humble, and people would not know or tell he was a director due to his humility,” a sentiment that was shared by most speakers.
She continued: “When you saw him with juniors, you would think they were all friends. When I heard the news of his passing and was trying to process it, I needed someone to talk to, I called his number to talk to him because he was the pillar of the family. That shows how dependent we were on him. He was a hard worker, I have never seen such a hardworking person who instilled that discipline in his children, who now work up early at 4 am like him.”
The engineer’s daughter, Lubalethu, gave an emotional speech, saying she and her siblings were blessed by God to have such a father.
“We were two peas in a pod and I called him my twin, not because we looked alike but because of our personalities. I would joke that God was in a rush to make me and he did a copy and paste. We both liked our eggs done the same way, we both took on math based problem solving careers and it took him a while to accept I was not going to be an engineer like him because I did not want to live in his shadow but he had dreams of having a ‘Dube and daughter engineering service.’ We understood each other so effortlessly. There was no unsaid I love you and we were able to call him Sims,” she said.
His first born son, Bhekokuhle, added that his father was ‘very’ supportive.
“He would say, ‘your grandfather was a bricklayer, I am an engineer, you are an architect, your sister is an actuarial and your young brother wants to build robots but you must work hard.’ He would come to your bedroom at night, see him cry because he might have felt he hurt you, he was able to do so because he was a humble person,” he said.
Friends, fellow members from his social and investment clubs -Marula and City Club, also praised his humility and dedication to serving Bulawayo.
His friend, Talkmore Moyo, narrated that on December 22, Eng Dube told him his family was home and he was so ecstatic.
Moyo also described how before Eng. Dube died, when running errands together, he was issuing out instructions including how he must teach his first born son some of the operations at the farm.
“This made me reflect that he was preparing for his death,” he said.
His engineering and construction colleagues from the Engineering Institute of Zimbabwe, Engineering Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association described him as a “national asset” who was ethical and upright, and “not only guided juniors but promoted local contractors to participate on major works to grow, create capacity.”
Eng. Dube was also chairperson of the Engineers Forum of Zimbabwe, where his secretary revealed that what broke their hearts as engineers, including the late, was working with “aged infrastructure, scarce resources, high expectations and various accusations.”
“The expectation is so high, yet resources are little sometimes with little support.”
In their separate condolence messages, Bulawayo mayor, Solomon Mguni and town clerk, Christopher Dube, praised Eng. Dube for contributing to the city’s smart transformative vision for 2024.
They said he was an innovative thinker who implemented various water and sanitation projects for the city.
“His legacy would be a challenge to fill, I hope his subordinates and assistants learnt something and were properly groomed, as the task remains with us to attain a smart city status,” said the mayor,
The town clerk also comforted the family to not mind the bad publicity that Eng. Dube was exposed to, as such came with the pressures of the job.
Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution concurred that Eng. Dube’s death was a loss to the city and that negative publicity was bound to happen.
“You can bath, pour expensive perfume but a fly would always land on you,” she said to applause from the crowd.
Government officials, MPs, mayors from other towns, councillors, heads of departments and residents attended the service.