Senior scribe Fanwell Sibanda dies


Harare (New Ziana) – A senior local journalist, Fanwell Sibanda, has died.

He died at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare on Saturday from suspected lung infection after being taken ill about two weeks ago.

At the time of his death, he was working as an editorial consultant at New Ziana. He was 58.

Sibanda was born on February 2, 1965 in Lower Gweru, where he attended St Luke’s Primary School before moving to Jameson High School in Kadoma.

He was the fourth child in a family of six, three boys and three girls.

He trained as a journalist at the Harare Polytechnic’s Division of Mass Communication between 1984 and 1985 after which he worked for various media houses, including the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (News and Current Affairs), the Herald as senior reporter, then Midlands Bureau Chief, the Financial Gazette, Features & Supplements Editor, Deputy Editor, The Daily Gazette and Parade Magazine (Deputy Editor).

He was the founding editor of ANZ’s The Dispatch, (Bulawayo 1998) and was appointed Production Editor/Night Editor of The Daily News in 1999. He then left to pursue some private work.

Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust executive secretary, Ray Mungoshi said: “Fanwell was an award-winning journalist and had worked in the media industry for the past 37 years with exposure in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Iraq.”

At New Ziana, Mungoshi said he was involved in the rebranding of the Community Newspapers Group (CNP) provincial titles and helping with the development of its online platforms while at the same time working on the Zimbabwe Year Book with the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

Former colleagues in the media industry have paid tribute to Sibanda with Desmond Kumbuka, who worked with him, expressing sadness at the loss of a ‘friend and colleague.’

“Fanwell was a dependable and personable gentlemen and his passing is yet another loss to a fast disappearing generation of inimitable newsmen,” he said, while Happison Muchechetere, who also worked with him briefly at the ZBC, said Sibanda passionately pursued printing and publishing with vigour even in hard times.

“Sincere condolences to the Sibanda family. What a fantastic sub-editor he was. A good and honest man too. He had the courage to stand with me when I was unlawfully dismissed as editor of the Financial Gazette, MHSRIEP,” said veteran journalist, Geoff Nyarota.

Ray Mawerera described Sibanda as the epitome of hard work, passion and commitment to the craft as he moved with ease between content creation and news packaging while his sub-editing skills showed a good eye for detail.

Sibanda had also embraced the digital world quicker than many journalists.

Sibanda is survived by two children, a boy and a girl and is expected to be buried at his rural home in Lower Gweru on Tuesday according to his brother Jordan Sibanda.

New Ziana

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