EXTRAORDINARY, exceptional and unifier.
These words sum up the persona of Adam "Adamski" Ndlovu, whose funeral brought Bulawayo to a standstill yesterday afternoon.
Thousands of people lined the streets of Bulawayo to give the star a befitting send off. Business came to a standstill in the central business district as Adam's funeral cortege made its way from a city funeral palour to Luveve Stadium.
The football legend's body was first taken to MAP Brothers Building which houses a family business, then to Chicken Inn headquarters along Fort Street and finally Luveve Stadium.
Bulawayo residents are battling to come to terms with what happened yesterday afternoon. This has never happened in the City of Kings and Queens.
It was different from other occasions where thousands saw the man in action in stadiums or barking instructions from the dugout as a coach.
Adam's body lay lifeless in a casket as people sang, danced, whistled and blew vuvuzelas to celebrate a departed hero.
Some fans ran or marched with the procession around the city centre up to Mzilikazi while others jumped on whatever vehicle was in sight, quickly befriending whoever was inside as they shared one thing, their unflinching support for Adam.
Others could be seen perched on rooftops or windows of their offices.
At a busstop after Renkini in Makokoba, where Adam grew up, a woman in his late 50s, imitated the star's machine gun shooting celebration at which point Chicken Inn and Highlanders players fell to the ground as if brought down by gunfire.
It was touching to see players from both teams wiping the hearse and running on its sides for most of the journey.
Emotions had already been whipped in town when an electric appliances shop at the corner of Fort Street and Leopold Takawira Street, played Singabanqobi which sent people down memory lane even though Adam was not part of the 1984 to 1986 generation of Highlanders players the song was dedicated to.
At Luveve PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele led the procession as the master of ceremonies.
The stadium was packed as people jostled to have a glimpse of the casket which was drapped in the national flag.
"We are here once again, but for a different purpose, to celebrate the life of a legend. Our hearts are heavy with sadness and words alone cannot express the pain, anguish and shock brought about this loss," said Ndebele.
Pastor Muzhari of the Family of God Church led the service, chronicling Ndlovu's spiritual journey and how he came to receive Christ as his personal saviour.
"Adam had everything, fame and fortune but realised that his life was incomplete without Jesus. He chose to do the right thing while he had time on his side by accepting Christ.
"He actually came to me and we sat down as father and son, then Adam told me that he wanted to give his life to Jesus. Adam humbled himself by realising that he was still a child before the eyes of God," said Muzhari.
People spoke glowingly of the bustling striker.
"I cannot express our loss as Adam actually preached about Christ to the whole team. We were now going to church as a team because of him and now he is gone. This is a big blow to the team," said Felix Chindungwe the Chicken Inn captain.
Bosso captain, Innocent Mapuranga, described Ndlovu's death as a big loss.
"I am standing here today with a heavy heart because we have lost a gallant warrior, brother and a unifier who dedicated his whole life to football," said Mapuranga.
Bosso Legends' Douglas "British" Mloyi provided lighter moments when he cracked some of Adamski's favourite jokes.
Zifa Southern Region chairman Morgan Dube had the people in stitches, when he described how he and Adamski once took Madinda's car while he was in Germany and went on a joyride.