Murdered polo star remembered
On Tuesday morning Dieter Setz was looking forward to riding with his friend, star polo player Sibusiso Duma. A few hours later Duma was dead.
“I called him up and we talked about what he had planned for the day, and asked him if he wants to come and ride a few horses with me.”
It would be the last conversation Setz would have with Sibusiso.
Hours later he discovered his good friend had been murdered in cold blood.
“I never imagined that the last time I saw Sbu was when he was lying dead on the side of the road.”
Duma, an SA polo player, was stabbed to death on Tuesday in Lidgetton, near Howick, in KwaZulu-Natal.
It is alleged the 25-year-old had been involved with a woman two years ago and that her boyfriend had stabbed Duma to death.
Just hours before Duma was stabbed his ex-lover was seriously injured by a knifeman. She is reported to be in a serious condition in hospital.
Setz, who was also Duma’s mentor, said he was shocked by his friend’s untimely death.
“There are no words that can describe the vacuum Sbu has left behind, especially for the youth in South Africa and in all the African countries he has played polo.”
Duma represented SA against Australia during the Kirland International in 2009, scoring five goals and receiving the player of the match award.
He also was the first development polo player in SA to climb the ranks to international level.
Setz said he had never seen a player with such hunger and talent, and that Duma’s death was a huge loss to Polo SA.
“Sbu was a very sincere person with a great heart and an unending hunger for Polo,” he said.
“He was around but never in your face, except on the polo field during a game.”
Duma had always set the bar high, and strove to improve on a daily basis.
“His ambitions were to be the first black Springbok polo player. When he realised his dream last year when he played against Australia, he set his goal further.”
“He wanted to become a minimum of seven- to eight-goal handicap player and represent South Africa globally.”
Setz said he had shared many great memories with Duma. He met him in 2000 on the polo field in Lions River.
“The one memory that stands out and made me proud was two weeks ago when Sbu asked me if I wanted to learn something. He showed me a tactical move on the polo field, which gives the player doing it an advantage... after 10 years’ mentorship the protégée teaches the mentor.”
Duma’s love for polo had begun at a very young age.
“Dave Kimber, the late owner of Maritzdal farm, discovered Sbu and made him practise on the wooden horse from an early age, every day after school.”
“Then with 12 years Sbu started to ride and put the skills he learned from the wooden horse together with horsemanship, and a polo player was born.”
Duma’s second passion had been soccer.
He was set to leave for a job in Britain, but visa problems had held him back from realising his dream of playing overseas. Duma was going to work for an English professional polo player to improve his skills and knowledge of the game.
“We spoke on a daily basis on matters concerning going to the UK. He posted every day, for the past two weeks, a comment on his Facebook page about how excited he was and how he wished he was going tomorrow.”
Besides representing SA, Duma also played against Prince William and Prince Harry, which Setz will always cherish.
“The first time he wore the green and gold was when he was part of an SA schoolboys team playing in the UK in 2004. They played four matches and won three. One was against Prince William and Harry. A very proud moment for me and Sbu indeed.”
Meanwhile, the SA Polo Association has paid tribute to Duma, describing him as an extremely talented polo player who would be sorely missed by everyone involved in the game.
“For years he strived to improve his game and finally got the break he had been looking for when offered a job in the UK, only for it to be snatched away by a senseless thug,” said Clive Peddle, director of the SA Polo Association.
The association “and the polo-playing family are deeply shocked by his brutal murder,” he said.
Peddle said Duma was the first development player to emerge through the ranks of the association’s development programme, and showed great determination and talent.
“Sbu was talented to the extent that he surprised his mentors and coaches. He played hard, fast polo, had a great eye for the ball and was a skilled rider, especially upon his return from a stint in Argentinia.”
He added that Duma’s teammates were shocked by the incident and were still shaken.
“Sbu was a shining example to all with his enthusiasm and love for polo.
“He was on his way to becoming a top-ranked polo player in the country, and certainly had the talent to do so.”
Duma will be laid to rest in his Impendle homestead on May 12.