President mourns Sibanda, Gumede

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu and Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Chronicle Reporters
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has expressed shock and sadness over the untimely deaths of retired High Court judge Advocate Siwanda Kennedy Mbuso Sibanda and veteran football administrator Ndumiso Gumede.

The President extended his deepest condolences to the Sibanda and Gumede families, and urged them to draw inspiration from the pair’s meritorious service to their country.

Adv Sibanda died in South Africa on December 22 after a long illness, while Gumede succumbed to kidney failure at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

President Mnangagwa said in Adv Sibanda’s demise, the nation had been robbed of a leading lawyer, professional mentor and veteran of the liberation struggle, as he was among an early crop of black lawyers in the then Rhodesia.

He said Adv Sibanda will be remembered for using his legal skills to save the lives of many captured guerillas, who would have met their death at the hands of the cruel Rhodesian regime.

Advocate Siwanda Kennedy Mbuso Sibanda

Adv Sibanda would make it his mission to locate condemned cadres and nationalists from the secretive Rhodesian dungeons and offered legal defence, often pro bono.

“I had the privilege of working closely with the late Advocate Sibanda, who was part of the Patriotic Front legal team as we put together the framework for the Lancaster House Agreement which enabled a political settlement and delivered our independence in 1980 after a protracted war for our national independence.

“He was a fine legal mind who knew how to use hhis legal skills towards the defence of captured cadres and detained nationalists, thus furthering the ideals of our national liberation struggle,” said President Mnangagwa.

After independence, the President said Adv Sibanda was appointed a judge and he served the bench with characteristic integrity and honour, and continued to closely work with him as Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

“Both before and after his stint on the bench and on a number of Commissions, Advocate Sibanda mentored many young lawyers into professional adulthood,” the President said.

The son of a farmer in Plumtree, Adv Sibanda enrolled at Tshabanda School in the then Nata Territorial Tribal Lands, now Bulilima District, Matabeleland South province in 1945.

In 1948 he went to Solusi Mission where he completed his junior certificate in 1955 and left for South Africa the following year intending to write his matric at Adam’s College.

He enrolled at Kilnerton Institute in Pretoria in 1957 and matriculated in 1958. He met some friends that challenged him to aim higher than matric and in 1959 he enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Natal, but lost the whole year due to illness.

He was enrolled again in 1960 and finished his studies in 1962 after which he enrolled for a Law degree, but his studies were interrupted by a series of illnesses in 1963, 1966 and 1968.

Against the advice of his doctor, Adv Sibanda completed his studies.

His determination paid off, as he transferred his registration to Maritzburg where he finished his law studies in 1970 after his health improved.

In order to raise university fees, he studied during the day and worked at night until he passed Rhodesian examinations to be admitted as an advocate.

After finishing his law degree in South Africa, he worked with a firm of attorneys to complete his articles and returned to Rhodesia in March 1971.

He is cited in a number of tribunals for his contribution to the legal fraternity during the struggle and after Independence.

His law firm was among the first black-owned to practice in Bulawayo and helped many underprivileged people to access legal services.

He also made a name for himself as an iron fisted football administrator when he ran a successful football project known as Bulawayo Wanderers, which later changed its name to Eagles.

With roots in the suburbs of Iminyela, Pelandaba, Old Magwegwe and Njube, Bulawayo Wanderers are still celebrated for a flowing game close to the Brazilians where individual talent and team effort were inter-woven to produce some exciting football for the fans.

He served in Zifa disciplinary committees at some stage until age and ill health took their toll on him.

President Mnangagwa described Gumede, who was the Highlanders Football Club president at the time of his death, as a sports administrator of distinction that will be remembered for transforming the game through his competent leadership and professional administration of the iconic Bosso.

The President said he had received with grief and sadness news of the tragic and unexpected demise of Gumede after a short illness.

Ndumiso Gumede

“A sports administrator of distinction and a veteran teacher, the late Gumede will be remembered by many for transforming the popular game of football through his competent leadership and professional administration of the iconic Highlanders club, and when he served on the Zifa board soon after Independence,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said as Highlanders’ chairman and president, Gumede led the club to greater heights and transformed it into a household name that the club is today.

“Above all, his strong African roots turned professional sporting into a cultural carnival for which football fans miss him sorely.

Always genial and full of jokes, the late Gumede ensured integrity and professionalism in a game which is often mired in controversies of corrupt match fixing and related ills. Those of us wedded to the game will miss, keenly the yawning gap he leaves behind.

“On behalf of Government, the football fraternity and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Gumede family on their saddest, unexpected loss. May they continue to draw inspiration from the late departed’s meritorious service to his country, his people, and to the sporting discipline of football. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace,” said the President.

Gumede is survived by three sons.

Mourners are gathered at 12 Cheltenham Road, Montrose, Bulawayo.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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