7 August 2012

Zimbabwe: RIP Bright Madera

A DARK cloud hung over The Herald last Friday following the tragic news of the passing on of business journalism ace, Bright Madera. Madera (32) was a man of the people and a morally upright professional with exceptional public relations qualities, as evidenced by the cross-section of people who thronged his home to pass condolences after he passed on.

Here is what his workmates had to say about him:

Victoria Ruzvidzo (Managing Editor)

It's not everyday that we meet people in our lives who just make an indelible mark not just by what they do but by the impact they make by being who they are.

To me Bright was such a person - he was loyal, diligent, intelligent, hardworking, committed, friendly, warm and remained one of the most sober journalists of our time.

He was a pleasure to work with. He was so respectful it was contagious. I spoke to him last Thursday on his way to Kariba. I needed him to give me information on an article that I was working on and he politely reminded me that he could not help at that juncture as he was already on his way to the resort town.

I first met Bright in 2002 when he came to Business Herald for attachment. His enthusiasm at that point told me the young man had a whole future ahead of him. It was therefore not surprising that when he joined the Sunday News after college he quickly rose through the ranks as the paper's business editor.

He was to leave that paper for a stint in Botswana where he excelled again but had to come back home due to his desire to settle down and work for his country. During all this time he would phone me or visit occasionally.

"Mai Ruzvidzo how are you. It's Bright, how are the boys (my two sons)." This is how he always used to start our conversations.

When there was a vacancy here it was therefore not difficult for me as business editor then to offer the place to Bright ahead of other contenders. My colleague and friend Munyaradzi Huni called me to say Bright was looking for a job, could I could.

It was not a problem at all. I consulted my boss, the editor PD, and we have him the job. I knew immediately that Bright "coming home" to Herald Business would add to journalistic stamina and newsroom soberness that we were building.

Indeed, in the last few years Bright demonstrated that he was a business journalist par excellence. He always discharged his duties with the aplomb of a veteran. He was comfortable to undertake any assignment.

To add to this he was a fine young man who loved his family a lot. No conversation would end without him briefing me of the progress his twin girls were making as they developed from babies to toddlers.

This was the Bright I knew. This was the Bright I respected. This was the Bright I never doubted. He had grown into a media guru in this country.

This was the Bright I never imagined even in my wildest of moments would slip away without warning at such a tender age.

The Herald has been dealt a blow. The entire media fraternity is now poorer without Bright.

That even in his death he had a lead story in the Herald Business yesterday can only help illustrate how valuable he was to us.

It remains for me to thank the Lord, Almighty for the time he gave us with Bright.

May his family find peace and comfort in the fact that he is in a better place now.

He will always hold a special place in the Herald family.

Go well Bright. You fought a good fight. Your name was instructive . . . you were a very Bright young man.

Fanuel Kangondo (Acting Business Editor)

There was something about Bright that always provoked a sense of maturity in all our interactions and had the utmost respect for his colleagues. We had our own names to relate to the members of the Business Desk. Bright was "Mukomana Mukobvu" (the fat one), Martin (Kadzere) was "Mukomana Murefu" (the tall one) and Golden (Sibanda) was "Mukomana Mutsvuku" (the light one). In all our interactions, the oneness of the team was unmistakable.

The void that Bright has created will definitely be a hard one to fill as he had mastered the art of balanced reporting and would not present a story before he has contacted all the parties concerned. As for corporate news, he became well versed with all the boardroom politics.

Bright also had a social side that brought out his true personality. He was an outgoing person who always had a story to tell about some of his escapades each time we sat to catch up. His family always came first and the way he spoke about his wife and "the twins" reflected that he was a loving father. Go well Bright please enjoy the peace till we meet again.

Walter Muchinguri (Assistant BusinessEditor)

Bright was an affable character and this showed as every morning he made it a point to go round the newsroom greeting everyone.

He was also a likeable character who loved to share jokes.

I first met Bright in 2002 when he was attached to the Business Herald. At the time he was a rookie in the profession and was still very green but eager to learn and take up any challenge.

I vividly remember that on his first day, the then Deputy Business Editor Hama Saburi gave him four items to write from a combination of Press releases and reports. This was no mean task for someone who did not have a clue. But Bright immediately set to work and finished the four assignments and three of the articles made it into the newspaper.

A few months later when a position for a business reporter arose at our sister paper the Sunday News in Bulawayo and I was asked to assist in the search I asked Bright and he accepted without hesitation despite the fact that he didn't know much about Bulawayo and did not have any relatives there.

On a personal level since our first meeting, my relationship grew from that of colleagues to friendship and had become more binding as we became brothers bonded by our roots and profession. I knew almost everything about him, his family hopes and aspirations (he never missed an opportunity to talk about plans for his family, his beloved wife and twins), his mother and his treasured home area of Chirarwe.

While he was ready to take advice, he also spoke his mind and was very mature. And so it was with a very heavy heart that I watched in agony as he was interred in Chirarwe on Sunday in the knowledge that we will never see him striding into the newsroom every morning with a smile on his face.

I have lost a friend and a brother. Go well my brother.

Martin Kadzere (Senior Business Reporter)

I first met Bright in Kariba in 2004, when we were both covering the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress. We had a nice time. One of the days, during our stay in Kariba, I decided to cool off in a swimming pool at the Kariba Breezes Hotel. Bright and Chris Muronzi, the Zimbabwe Independent business editor, later came to the pool.

In the pool I remember Bright vowing not to ever swim. He had not done so even during his childhood days when friends would decide to swim in the rivers while herding cattle, so he said.

He never made an attempt to be anywhere close to swimming pool, but just kept on placing orders for his favourite beer, Castle Lager. I was the only one swimming but after Chris had one or two, he decided to join me.

Chris was not a very good swimmer and had seemed to be in trouble while in the water, but fortunately, I quickly pulled him out.

Bright always remembered that incident. Even the day before he travelled to Kariba, he reminded me about the Kariba incident.

Something that never came to our minds was that he was going to make an attempt to swim. But, unfortunately, the attempt ended in tragedy. The most painful part was that I had spoken to him around 4pm only to receive a call two hours later that Baba Two had passed on. It was hard to believe.

Being very new in the profession, Baba Two helped me a lot with story ideas and I cannot underestimate his assistance in helping me to secure a full-time job. He was a brother to me. Go well Bright. Go well.

Golden Sibanda (Senior Business Reporter)

Words can never fully explain the pain I felt after losing such a close friend, Bright Madera. It is with a heavy heart that I shall always celebrate the life of a friend, brother and ally I could rely on for anything.

I take comfort from the memorable time we spent together and valuable lessons of life I gained during the time we shared.

Our friendship started back in 2004 when Madera worked as the business editor of the Sunday News, but this friendship grew stronger when we both rejoined The Herald in 2009 after a brief stint outside the country.

A jolly good fellow, Madera was the most sociable, humble and open-minded character I have ever known. He will be an irreplaceable friend and workmate. The man was a precious asset to The Herald and his friends.

A professional par excellence and astute journalist, Madera loved to make as much fun just as he wanted to come up with life changing ideas. The fact he breathed his last on Friday means I will forever miss his humour and the wise counsel he always helped me with at work and socially.

May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.

Jeffrey Gogo (Ex-Deputy Business Editor)

We used to escape early from the newsroom to line up for our shared plate of sadza at the Herald's first floor canteen.

Things were really tough for interns in those days. I had been a few months old in the Herald Business newsroom in the spring of 2003.

Being the only interns in at Herald Business, we were united by our common fate, but above all by hunger.

So when he secured a full-time employment contract and moved to the Sunday News in Bulawayo in late 2003 I was not disappointed with the temporary separation. Indeed, we rejoiced knowing well we could always visit one another, which we did regularly.

But neither of us had anticipated Bright's sudden and tragic departure to glory. I knew Bright so well, very well to understand that he was a very reasonable, respectable and sensible man.

The manner in which Bright Madera died still remains a mystery to me. Still, I refuse to accept Bright is dead.

There is a time in life you meet someone who impacts your life in a great, profound manner. Bright was that kind of person. I love you mate, even as you sleep in perfect peace. You are alive in my spirit and will never be separated.

Tawanda Musarurwa (Business Reporter)

I have known Bright Madera for the past three years, initially as a work colleague and very soon after as a friend.

During that time he came to represent the quintessential friend: kind, generous, understanding, and always there to lend a helping hand, always there to give some advice.

It is not easy to come straight from college to enter a working environment of such a big organisation as The Herald, but Bright made my transition easy.

Sometimes the world gets so harsh, so cold, so dark, but Bright was that little ray of light peering through a crack in the wall of a darkroom hinting at some greater good, some greater hope.

In his last few days on earth, he noted my weak points: "You are too buttoned-up mfana. Live a little. Life's too short."

I get it Bright, I totally get it.

Gone too soon.

Elita Chikwati (Agriculture Reporter)

I am deeply saddened by the untimely departure of Bright as we joined the company round about the same time.

I fondly remember how he would waltz into the New Farmer magazine newsroom neatly dressed like a schoolboy and Tabeth (Mutenga) and I used to taunt how you and your "twin" Jeffrey Gogo dressed.

When you went to Sunday News you kept us in the loop about your plans and about Rumbi whom you eventually married.

I will always cherish the time we had together as friends and may your soul rest in peace Baba Two.

Pauline Mhuka (Editorial Secretary)

Bright Madera, words cannot express the deep pain. I will always miss and cherish the good days that we have been together in the Herald Business section for quite some time.

Every morning you would give me a handshake: "Good morning maiguru". It was good.

You had that brotherly love. We could eat together, walk together and even share problems.

You could share with me about your loving wife Rumbi and the twin girls. You would say, "Sista Paulaz, I want you to bake a cake for the girls." You were such a loving father. Rest in peace!

Barbara Kapichi (Editorial Secretary)

Bright Madera was committed to his work. We have lost one of the best business journalists who was dedicated to his profession. We worked as a team and we shall miss those moments. How painful it is.

Faith Mabika (Intern)

I only knew Bright for a short time as a mentor, a friend, but most of all as a brother.

I learnt quite a lot from both his professional life and family life. He was a kind man, very hardworking, always cheerful and very professional. He was very accommodating and was always ready to help.

Bright loved his wife and twin daughters very much.

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