THE Dynamos family yesterday joined hands with the local journalism fraternity in mourning the death of ex-footballer and veteran ex-Zimpapers sports journalist Tendai Ndemera.
Ndemera, who played for the DeMbare age-group teams before pursuing a career in journalism, died at his aunt’s home in Sunningdale, Harare, after a long illness in the early hours of yesterday morning.
He was 62.
A close relative, Sam Mudariki, confirmed the sad news yesterday. The funeral arrangements were still sketchy, but mourners are gathered at house No 4 Canaan Mhlanga Road in National, Mbare.
Before he began his career in journalism, Ndemera played football with the Dynamos juniors in the 1970s. He had the privilege to rub shoulders with 1980 Soccer Star of the Year David “Yogi” Mandigora, David “Broomboy” George, Eric “Flashes” Aisam and Japhet “Shortcat” M’parutsa, who later became the first goalkeeper to be crowned Soccer Star of the Year in 1982.
“When I arrived at Dynamos in the early 1970s, he (Ndemera) was already there and we played together in the Under-16 side,” said Mandigora.
“He was from Mbare and I was coming from Highfield. He played, if I still remember well, in the midfield. Dynamos those days was not just a team which you could just walk into and start training. You had to be good.
“Our coach those days was the former club goalkeeper Josiah Akende and we used to train at the Stodart Hall grounds in Mbare. It’s sad to hear about Ndemera’s passing on.”
M’parutsa, who is now based in England, said he still remembers his formative days and the close relations he had formed with Ndemera on and off the pitch.
“Tendai was a brother and friend to me. We worked together at Harare Central Hospital (now Sally Mugabe Hospital) before I moved to Dynamos. At Dynamos we also played alongside players such as Eric Aisam, Martin Kalambayi and James Pondai, among others.
“We all cherished the dream of playing in the first team. The senior guys those days were the likes of George Shaya, Simon Sachiti, Shepherd Murape, Shaw Handriade, David George and Isaac Nhema and they inspired us,” said M’parutsa.
But instead of becoming a full-time footballer, Ndemera followed his other passion in journalism and worked for the Zimpapers stable from the mid-1990s until February 2004 when he left his job as Herald Sports Reporter.
He was recruited for the Herald Sports Desk by the current Sports Editor, Collin Matiza, and worked under this publication’s former Sports Editor, Jahoor Omar, and the late Sam Marisa.
Ndemera also worked under The Herald’s current Senior Sports Editor, Robson Sharuko, before he quit in February 2004 to become a freelance sports reporter until his untimely death in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Before joining The Herald Sports Desk, Ndemera cut his teeth in sports writing at People’s Voice under Webster Shamu and the late Mike Munyati in the early 1990s.
Ndemera also had a stint with The Sunday Mail. Former Sunday Mail Sports Editor, Sam “Uncerz” Mawokomatanda, who is now based in England, described the late Ndemera as a dedicated writer.
“I have known Tendai Ndemera, whom we affectionately called Tindo, since the early 1990s when I was working for The Sunday Mail. When I became the Sports Editor of the paper, Tindo became my sports correspondent.
“He had invaluable contacts and sources in the sports fraternity. As I had a small team, Tindo was a valuable contributor and always on hand to carry coverage of important sports events.
“From being a dear colleague, he also became a dear friend. I managed to reach out when he wasn’t feeling well and did the little I could to help. Will miss the outrageous storytelling and wicked sense of humour. Will surely be missed,” said Mawokomatanda.
Ndemera’s close friend and former Sports Editor of The Standard and The Sunday Gazette, Michael Kariati, said Zimbabwe has lost a dedicated sports reporter who loved not only his job, but also had a passion for sport in general.
“Ndemera was one of the most jovial sports reporters Zimbabwe has ever had. He was an all-rounder who liked his football, his Dynamos, and covered tennis with zeal. Sadly, he won’t be there to talk again about his days as a former Dynamos reserve player.
“He always talked with pride about how he at one time or another rubbed shoulders in training with some of Dynamos’ top players, among them George Shaya and David George, when he was a youngster at DeMbare.
“As a sports reporter, Ndemera was loved in all the corners of life and had a huge section of friends not only within the sports fraternity, but in the wider world as well,” said Kariati.
Best known by his peers as “Ndem Ndem”, Ndemera was also known for his sense of humour and outspoken views.
Ndemera worked for The Sunday Mail, the People’s Voice, the Daily and the Sunday Gazette as well as The Herald.
In his later days, he worked as a stringer for the Voice of America.
“Today I say goodbye to a great friend and Zimbabwe has lost a stalwart in the sport reporting fraternity. Tendai was dedicated to the development of sports in the country,” said UK-based journalist Tichaona Sibanda.
“He made unique contributions, especially to football, through his thorough knowledge of the game and its participants. He was a legend.
“I knew he had been unwell for a while; we were kept informed of his condition by colleagues such that I sincerely hoped he would make a full recovery. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Former workmate and ex-Sunday Mail Entertainment Reporter, Viv Maravanyika, was also at a loss for words.
“It’s been many years since I last saw Tendai, whom I can gladly call my brother. All I have are fond memories of him, loved to laugh, gift of the gab, well-dressed, and had a big appetite for life. We were young then and all that is what mattered.
“I got to hear of his illness a few months ago and his colleagues here in the United Kingdom rallied around him because he deserved it. And we did what we could do. To now receive this piece of news was deflating,” said Maravanyika.
Ndemera was born in Harare on February 9, 1958. He leaves behind six children — Oliver, Thandi, Charlene, Tendai (junior), Lisa and Leanne, who is also a trained journalist and had a stint at The Herald Entertainment desk last year.