VETERAN journalist and former Zimbabwe Union of Journalist (Zuj) president Dumisani Sibanda was yesterday found dead at his home in Bulawayo in what police described as a case of sudden death. Sibanda, a former Chronicle Political Editor, Sunday News- News Editor, NewsDay Southern Edition Bureau Chief and Zimbabwe Mail Bulawayo Bureau Chief, was found dead at his lodgings in Emakhandeni suburb at around 8am.
At the time of his death, Sibanda was a Correspondent for the Sunday News. Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed Sibanda’s death saying investigations were underway to ascertain the exact cause of his passing.
The media industry yesterday plunged into mourning as news of Sibanda’s death spread. In a statement, Zuj’s secretary general Foster Dongozi said Sibanda’s death was blow to the media industry.
“It is with a very heavy heart and a deep sense of loss and sorrow that I have to announce the death of former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president, Cde Dumisani Sibanda,” said Dongozi.
“A formidable trade unionist, a human and workers rights defender, Sibanda was very instrumental in inculcating a spirit of rights awareness among colleagues from his days as a student activist and during his time as a working journalist.
He was a gentle giant who was willing to assist, support and encourage young and upcoming journalists.” He said Sibanda will be remembered for his ethical reporting and jovial nature.
Sibanda, Dongozi said, did not discriminate reporters based on their levels of experience. Sunday News Editor Limukani Ncube described Sibanda as a shrewd journalist who served the media industry with due diligence saying the profession has been robbed through his death.
Ncube said the media industry was poorer without him as his appreciation of journalism saw him assist junior reporters gain ground in the profession. “We’ve been robbed of a brilliant journalist and experienced cadre who knew his work. He had been the in the industry for a while. He worked for Zimpapers before leaving for Alpha Media Holdings. He rejoined the Sunday News at the beginning of this year as our correspondent,” said Ncube.
He said Sibanda had great influence and respect for his colleagues and the Sunday News was standing with his family during this difficult period.
“He loved his job and the profession will be poorer without him. We’re standing together with his family and we want to pass our sincere condolences to them,” Ncube said.
He said Sibanda was a unionist who stood up for the rights of journalists through working in structures representing media professionals’ welfare including a Zuj and Zimpapers Workers Union.
His close friend and colleague, Sunday News Assistant Editor Mkhululi Sibanda echoed Ncube’s sentiments describing Sibanda’s death as a shock to the media fraternity. Mkhululi said his first encounter with Sibanda was in 1995 at Harare Polytechnic College where they were studying journalism.
“He could write on any subject. That shows how brilliant he was. He was well read and had a great political mind and his articles were well researched and balanced,” he said. Mkhululi said Sibanda’s articles will be greatly missed by his readers.
Zimbabwe People’s First spokesperson Mr Methuseli Moyo described Sibanda as a committed journalist who committed his life to journalism through interrogating various societal issues.
“I worked with Dumisani at Sunday News for two years, first as my chief reporter and then we became at par when he became Special Projects Editor. He was a committed journalist who never imagined himself being anything else. He respected everyone really and had amazing energy to put together detailed political and socio-economic news features,” said Mr Moyo.
“Dumisani was not the kind of journalist to write many short or sensational stories. He liked tackling big political issues of the time. We will miss him greatly. On my behalf and on behalf of my party ZimPF, I express sincere condolences to Sibanda’s family and indeed the journalism family. May his soul rest in peace.”
National University of Science and Technology’s (Nust) chairperson of Journalism and Media Studies Department Mr Thabani Mpofu conveyed his condolences to the media fraternity saying it was sad that the industry was continuously losing senior journalists who could have been instrumental in moulding junior reporters. Mr Mpofu said he was shocked to learn of Sibanda’s death, describing him as a hard working and dedicated journalist. chronicle