Tributes to inspirational musician and dad of four

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Tributes have been paid to a father-of-four who brought musical inspiration to 50,000 school children and led a well-known Sheffield choir.

More than 200 people attended a memorial to Mandla Sibanda in the city centre on Saturday.

They praised his talent for building bridges between the community where he grew up in Zimbabwe and his adopted home in Sheffield.

The 38-year-old had lived in Sheffield permanently since 2001, working with more than 180 schools through education charity SEMEA’s Shifting Sands programme, which visited 50,000 children.

He used his music and dance skills to capture the youngsters’ attention and helped introduce them to African cultures and traditions.

He also led the city’s SOSA-XA choir for 12 years, had been part of African dance group Sunduza and studied communications at Sheffield Hallam University.

Mandla led the English premier of the Poverty Requiem which linked 27 cities in simultaneous performances and raised awareness of some of the world’s poorest communities.

Philip Weiss, who worked with him said his memory would live on.

He said: “He could lead a community group one day, be working with junior managers of Barclays Bank the next and infants the day after. He did much work with special needs students where his compassion was infinite.”

Mandla collapsed and died at Crabtree Ponds, off Barnsley Road, last week.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned.

He will be laid to rest in Zimbabwe.