Mitchell’s Plain pastor loses battle against Covid-19

The late Pastor Alfred Fabe.

The name “Papa Fabe” is well known in the Mitchell’s Plain community and though he has passed away, his legacy will live on and he’ll be fondly remembered by the many people whose lives he touched.

Pastor Alfred Fabe, from Westridge – a father, caregiver and hero to many – died of Covid-19 on Thursday July 30 at the field hospital at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

He would have celebrated his 77th birthday on Saturday September 26.

His son, Dion Fabe, said they had initially lived in Woodstock and later moved to Tiervlei in Elsies River. His mom sold clothing to help raise funds for the bible school.

“My father made sure other people had what they needed. He made sure nobody lacked anything. He would feed about 50 people from his front door. My father was a genuine giver who genuinely cared for others, all the time,” said Dion.

In the 1980s, Mr Fabe built a church in Eastridge called Faith Chapel. He then built a house behind the church which he named after his mother – Ethel’s Place. Here he provided a safe space for homeless children, taking 20 boys off the streets.

Mr Fabe adopted one of these boys, Unati Fabe, who later went on to win the International Federation of bodybuilding in 2005.

“My father assisted him and guided him in his dream,” said Dion.

His father travelled to over 51 places, he said, among them England, Iceland, Cuba and a number of African countries, to name a few. He was also the director for Kingdom Ministries International, a global body of churches.

Ashley Potts, director of the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre in Eastridge, said Papa Fabe’s impact on churches and the church community dated back as many as 40 years and that he had “birthed, built and pastored” Faith Chapel in Eastridge in 1985, which is now know as Faith Apostolic Centre

“Faith Chapel had a youth group that still today is known as Youth Aflame. This is almost 38 years running and over 50 of the then youth still meet regularly for fellowship,” he said.

Many of these youth members now serve on the board of Ethel’s Place which is a ministry to the homeless and today houses the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre.

“My father was about relationships, with family, friends and people. He would never use his title to introduce who he was, he was like any other person,” said Dion.

“In each of us, my siblings, we have some of him inside all of us. He taught us to never keep a blessing, he was a giver,” he said.

Mr Fabe was very cautious during the lockdown period. He told people to be aware, to stay safe, wear their masks and take care of themselves. “My father always wore his mask. He was very careful.

“When people passed away, I would share my condolences with those families, but I had no idea this is what it feels like to lose someone very dear to you, who meant so much to not just me and my family, but many people in the community,” he said.

Dion said his father had made friendships and formed relationships across the world.

Mr Fabe’s daughter, Ruth Potts, said nothing could have prepared them for the news of his passing and that Papa Fabe had been “my dad and a hero, mentor and a sure inspiration (who) guided us through life”.

“He was a true legend to us and to many others. Coffee and lunch dates will never be the same without him.”

Mr Potts will be streaming his funeral live on Facebook today, Wednesday August 5, at 9am.