Air Vice Marshall
Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda
WhatsApp Image 2017-12-11 at 11.51.06.jpeg
Born (1959-02-02) February 2, 1959 (age 63)
  • Pilot
  • Air Force Officer
  • Military General
  • Acting Commander AFZ

Shebba Shumbayaonda is a former Zimbabwean military general who held the rank of Air Vice Marshal, a two-star rank in the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Shumbayaonda was the AFZ Chief of Staff (Supporting Services) and held the rank of Air Vice Marshal following his promotion in 2011 by the former president Robert Mugabe. Shumbayaonda was the Acting Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched Operation Restore Legacy which ultimately resulted in the resignation of Zimbabwe's first Head of State, former president Robert Mugabe. Shumbayaonda was one of the first black pilots (together with Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo) to receive training in other countries and is regarded as one of the founding Airforce of Zimbabwe fighter pilots. [1]


Air Vice Marshal Shumbayaonda was born on February 2, 1959. He is from Mutare. [1]


Shumbayaonda joined the Air Force of Zimbabwe in 1980 as an Air-Sub Lieutenant and rose through the ranks, after advancing his education. He was one of the first black Africans who received training outside the country, as the precursor to the AFZ, the Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF) wanted to block the Africanisation of the Airforce. [1] In 1983 he attended a Pilot Training course in Romania and underwent a Flying Instructors course in Pakistan four years later. Shumbayaonda attended a Junior Staff course at Manyame Airbase, an Air Command and Staff Course in the United States of America in 1994 and an Air Force Command course in China 2003.[2]

Shumbayaonda is an accomplished pilot, who in 2011, had 2020 hours flying time in the following aircraft:

  • the Genet
  • Hawk,
  • L29,
  • IAR 823,
  • CASA 212,
  • SF 260,
  • T37 and
  • Hunter FGA fighter jets

In that same year, he went back to the cockpit, in order to fly a fighter jet during a flypast in commemoration of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, despite the fact that he was now an Air Vice Marshal, a two-star general. Shumbayaonda was with his fellow Air Vice Marshal and founding pilot, Elson Moyo, in the fly past.

Ranks Attained

  • Air Lieutenant 1980
  • Flight Lieutenant 1985,
  • Squadron Leader 1994
  • Wing Commander 1996,
  • Group Captain 1998
  • Air Commodore 2004,
  • Air Vice Marshall 2011


  • Flight commander 1 Squadron
  • Officer commanding 2 Squadron
  • Directing staff at Zimbabwe Staff College
  • Base Commander Manyame Airbase
  • AFZ Chief of Staff (Supporting Services)
  • Acting Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe

Appointment as Acting Commander

Shumbayaonda replaced Perrance Shiri as the Air Force of Zimbabwe boss in 2017 after Shiri had been appointed as the Minister of Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Shumbayaonda was appointed as acting Commander at the unveiling of the name change of King George VI (KG VI)Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks.[3]


In February 2019, Shebba Shumbayaonda was one of four military personnel retired by Emmerson Mnangagwa.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First black pilots ready for fly past, Herald, Published: August 09, 2011, Retrieved: December 11, 2017
  2. Shumbayaonda promoted to Air Vice-Marshal, The Herald, Published: 14 April 2011, Retrieved: 11 December 2017
  3. Staff Editor, Shumbayaonda New Airforce Boss, Daily News, Published: December 07, 2017, Retrieved: December 11, 2017
  4. Four Zimbabwe generals retired in Mnangagwa's first purge of military, Reuters, Published: February 18, 2019, Retrieved: July 13, 2021