Inyathi — HUNDREDS of people converged at Ndumiso Gumede’s rural home in Inyathi, Bubi District in Matabeleland North to pay their last respects to the late decorated football administrator.
The casket with Gumede’s body was lowered into the ground at 1:30pm at Inyathi Mission Cemetery.
Just like after his memorial service held at the Amphitheatre in Bulawayo on Monday, there was a steady downpour in Inyathi after the last scoop of soil from the shovel landed on the heap of Gumede’s grave.
The present and past Highlanders’ leadership, former Bosso players, supporters, friends, family members and the local community gathered to bid him their final goodbyes.
It was Gumede’s long time friend Nivart Songo’s journey into their past that evoked emotions.
Songo trained with Gumede at Gweru Teacher’s College in the 1960s and they had stood shoulder to shoulder until death separated them.
Songo said Gumede showed leadership qualities as a first-year student at the college when he was voted to lead the students’ council.
“He was responsible for cleanliness and entertainment. Fortunately for Gumede, he had experience from youth clubs in Bulawayo and our house became a hit in terms of entertainment and sport. They nicknamed him administrator as a student,” said Songo.
“As a young man, he was talkative and that is why he was elected Highlanders’ chairman at a young age. I remember someone at Stanley Square recommending that he be given the chairmanship because of being talkative,” he said.
When Gumede took over the Bosso chairmanship, he advocated that the club rents offices from CABS, but after a while he resolved that owning their own place was key, hence the initiatives to acquire the clubhouse, club offices and Luveve camping house as well as buses from the then West Germany.
Songo jokingly said Gumede abused him as they would walk 7km from Gweru Teachers’ College to the train station to wave at Gumede’s first wife, who was a nurse in Harare.
“At college he abused me, he had a girl in college. We used to walk 7km from Gweru Teacher’s College to see off his lover then walk back. It was worthwhile because they went on to have kids.
“We started chasing after girls in Form 3 and you’d hear fights because of Gumede. We learnt alcohol from there. We’d buy a bottle of gin and leave it at home, saying it’s Mazoe. One day, Gumede’s mother drank our “Mazoe” and that was a real crisis,” Songo said.
Gumede’s sister, Sicelo, said her late brother didn’t want to burden anyone and passed away in peace.
She said she used to party with Gumede and always attended social gatherings together.
“He was a giant and a giant has fallen. We were nine in our family, two brothers Mike and Ndu (Ndumiso) and seven sisters. All our children passed through Gumede’s hands. I want to appreciate my brother’s friend Dr Solwayo Ngwenya.
“Gumede had six specialist doctors surrounding him (at Mpilo Hospital). He had friends at Corronation Cottages who gave him a guard of honour, standing in the rain to bid him farewell. “Gumede prepared me for his death. He used to say Maza, when I die you’ll suffer. He said when I die, Chief Mtshana Khumalouzokhuluma, give these people my clothes. Thank you to Ndumiso’s friends, Vincent (Pamire), Peter Moyo and Luke Mnkandla. All of you are my brothers. Gumz left me with a wealth of friends, who are my brothers. When I see you guys, I see my brother,” said Sicelo.
She described Gumede as her confidante, whom she shared “things that a sister and brother wouldn’t normally share”.
Sicelo thanked Highlanders for taking care of Gumede’s medical needs, Sibekiwe Ndlovu, who stood by the bedside when Gumede breathed his last.
Prince Zwidekalanga Khumalo said: “This is a place where Queen Loziba rests. This is the place where King Mzilikazi first arrived. Chief Mtshana Khumalo reigns here. Where else would Gumede have been laid to rest besides isigodlo seNyathi.
“Thank you Gumede family, Highlanders’ family for the decision to bury him here at royalty. Gumede was privileged to come from royalty land to lead Bosso. The work he did wasn’t only for Highlanders, but for the Ndebele nation. He took me under his wing when I was a student teacher at Mzilikazi Secondary School. A good leader has a vision and is able to change that vision and make sure that he builds a legacy.”