It is with great sadness that TWR (Trans World Radio) received the news of the passing of Reverend Stephen Bapiro, Programme Director of TWR Zimbabwe.
The late Rev Stephen Bapiro was born on 31 December 1951 near the Rusambo Mission Station, which was run by The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) proceeded to the Evangelical Bible College (Chinhoyi) where he graduated in Theological Education in 1969.
He first worked with the children’s ministry with TEAM before being called to TEAM’s radio ministry (Word of Life Radio).
In 1990 the ministry changed hands and became Trans World Radio (TWR). Together with the late Rev Stephen Boakye-Yiadom, TWR Africa Regional Director at the time, they were instrumental in the purchase and relocation to TWR Zimbabwe’s current premises in February 2003.
Reverend Bapiro retired in 2012, but continued to serve as Programme Director with TWR Zimbabwe until his death. His commitment to Christian radio ministry earned him the nickname “Mr Transworld” among Zimbabwe Christian Leadership.
He has also served in a number of leadership positions with the Evangelical Church, Zimbabwe. He was preceded in death by his wife, Christine, in 2009, and he leaves five children and nine grandchildren.
Reverend Bapiro has also been a pillar in his community, as is clear from memories shared by David Rittenhouse, long-time missionary with TWR, who worked closely with the late Reverend Bapiro:
"My friend Stephen was truly a man of God with whom I enjoyed working for a number of years in the ministry of TWR Zimbabwe. My work with Stephen was particularly involved from 2008 to 2010, which were extremely difficult years for Zimbabwe in many ways. No matter how difficult circumstances were, Stephen faithfully continued to produce the programmes needed by his people. He helped us teach Zimbabweans how to feed their families by growing food on their own house lots, how to prevent AIDS, how to prevent and treat Cholera, how to make sure their drinking water was safe – all in the context of God’s love and the wonderful gift of Salvation that is offered to all.
I will miss my friend, but know that I will see him again in Heaven.”
Paul Van Egdom who served first in Zimbabwe, and later with TWR in South Africa and the US, shared the following:
“I remember Stephen Bapiro as a gentle, warm-hearted, committed person who used his God-given skills to help others find and grow in a relationship with God. I've known Stephen for more than 45 years and have always been encouraged when I've spoken and worked with him.”
Rev Dr Abdoulaye Sangho, International Director for West and Central Africa, also shared fond memories:
“It is with real sadness that I heard about the passing of Rev Bapiro. I came to know him in 1996 when I joined TWR Africa at annual meetings held at Kempton Park. He was so kind and courteous and had a permanent smile. [He was] an advisor for the young appointed National Director I became. Rev. Stephen Boakye-Yiadom, Andrew McDonald, James Burnett, Isaac Silvano from Angola, Willie Musopole from Malawi, and Rev. Bapiro where our elders of that time. The Church of Zimbabwe [and the] TWR family is losing in him a humble and a faithful servant. May his family get comfort in the Lord.”
Reverend Bapiro’s legacy is evident in the many lives that were touched by his faithful service as broadcaster, leader, mentor and Minister. He will be remembered as someone devoted to share the Gospel of Christ, from the pulpit and through media broadcasts.
TWR’s condolences go out to the Bapiro family. May they rest in the knowledge that he is with the Lord, whom he loved and served.