Tributes from all over world

2012-05-14 00:00

THE last wish of slain South African polo player Sibusiso Duma was to take his father along to England so he could watch him play against the best there.

Duma, the country’s first developmental polo player to rise to international level, was stabbed to death at Lidgetton, near Howick on May 1.

Duma was buried in Mpendle on Saturday.

His manager and mentor Josie Rowe-Setz, said: “Sibusiso wanted Babu Duma [his father] to travel with him to England to watch him play his game there, but his life was cut short”.

Rowe-Setz said Duma was poised to become one of the elite few top black polo players in the world.

He was waiting for his working visa to Britain when he was killed.

Rowe-Setz read out tributes from all over the world, adding that the sense of loss the entire global polo community felt at the death of this “brave and courteous human being” could not be overstated.

Anger rushed out in a palpable wave as members of the Mpendle and Lidgetton community mourned the loss of the rising star whose light was extinguished in its prime.

Lidgetton ward councillor Sthembiso Nkuna said: “This needs to come to an end.

“We cannot be losing lives in the area like this.

“I am saddened by this killing. Something needs to be done in the area. I will be calling politicians, church leaders and police in finding the solution.”

Nkuna, who was Duma’s schoolteacher, said there was a time when he tried to drop out of school to pursue his polo career, but later realised that he would be making a big mistake.

“Duma was full of life, ever smiling, enthusiastic, hard working and also a multi-talented boy.

“He was a star in our school soccer team as well. We will always have fond memories of him,” said Nkuna.

The South African Polo Association’s Clive Peddle said Duma’s death was a loss not only to his family, but to South Africa as a nation.

Duma’s friend Lucky Ndlovu described the man affectionately known as Makalabha (Helmet) as a jovial person who had a knack for giving nicknames to those around him and was quite the funny man who kept his friends in stitches all the time.

Duma’s many trophies, medals and pictures of him playing polo around the world decorated his casket.

Duma is survived by his three-year-old daughter Maningi, mother Mavis, father Thembinkosi and sister Sthembile Duma.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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