Leather sector mourns Boustead Leather MD The late Mr Sibusiso Sibanda

Prosper Ndlovu

ZIMBABWE’s leather sector will be poorer without Boustead Leather managing director, Sibusiso Sibanda, who died in Bulawayo last week after a stroke attack, the Zimbabwe Leather Development Council (ZLDC) has said.

He was 54.

Boustead Leather is one of the established Bulawayo-based tannery firm, formerly Wet Blue Industries, which had gone under judicial management after facing viability challenges in recent years.

Sibanda was instrumental in reviving the company when it came out of judicial management in 2019 and anchored its renewed focus on tapping into wider value addition opportunities.

His younger brother, Mr Bukhosi Jamela, said Sibanda died last Wednesday after a stroke attack and was admitted to a local hospital but did not make it.

“He died last Wednesday after a week’s illness following a stroke attack.

“He was admitted to Corporate 24 Hospital but his condition deteriorated and sadly, he could not make it,” said Mr Jamela.

“We expect to have our brother buried in Ntabazinduna over the weekend.”

Academic, Mr Jacob Nyathi, who is also ZLDC secretary said Sibanda’s passion and contribution in revamping the sector will be dearly missed.

“The late Mr Sibusiso Sibanda, “Zee” for most of us in the leather value chain was larger than life in the leather sector. He was known for his dedication to the development of the sector,” said Mr Nyathi.

“His early involvement with the team that pioneered the development of the leather clusters in Zimbabwe will remain etched in the sector development annals.

“We knew Zee for his openness and telling it as it is without fear or favour, his passion for mentoring young people in the sector. His creativity, innovativeness and hands on do it yourself approach had no equal in the sector.”

Mr Nyathi said the late Sibanda was a ‘truly remarkable person’, whose absence will be felt by many players in the leather sector.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Mrs Sibanda, children, the entire Sibanda clan and friends during this difficult and challenging time,” he said.

One of his close friends and city lawyer, Mr Dumisani Dube said: “I am just shocked at the sudden and untimely death of ‘Mzito’.

“Last time I spoke to him, he was excited about his transactions, which he had just sealed with Botswana Meat Corporation and Bata in Zimbabwe to do their leather.”

Sibanda is survived by wife, Sicelo, two children, a son and a daughter.

Mourners are gathered at Ntabazinduna Township.

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