Michael Tapera, who passed on last Wednesday (January 13, 2016), was given an emotional farewell on Saturday at the Glen Forest Memorial Park. He was an influential and inspiring business figure.
Born in Gutu, he was educated at Mzingwane and Gifford High School in Bulawayo. He earned a Bachelor of Accountancy Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 1988, after which he joined Deloitte and Touche and worked his way up the ranks, including a two-year stint in their London office.
Mr Tapera was with the firm for 12 years working his way up to Partner in the Harare office.
After this stint, he served at ART Holdings Limited from 2000 to 2005 where he played a critical role in the unbundling of ART from TZI and the subsequent listing of ART on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2002.
He served as group finance director of Masimba Holdings from September 2013 to July 2015. Mr Tapera worked as a consultant and advisor in areas of capital raising and transaction structuring to various large corporates.
He served as head of advisory services at HYFLO Consultants (Private) Limited.
He served as a non-executive director at Bilboes Holdings (Private) Limited.
Mr Tapera also held several directorships in several institutions including: OK Zimbabwe Limited and Lyons (a subsidiary of Diaribord Zimbabwe Limited).
Mr Tapera has been a Chartered Accountant (Zimbabwe) since 1992.
He was widely respected in the community, playing a pivotal role as member of the St Johns College Board of Governors.
A committed Christian, Mr Tapera was a member of Celebration Ministries for over 16 years, where he served in various leadership roles.
He is survived by his wife Sibonile, his sons John, Tinashe and Samuel and granddaughters Michelle and Matida.
Below are quotes from the corporate sector:
Canada Malunga — Masimba Holdings CEO
After joining Masimba in February 2013, Mike put together a good finance team which at that time still included Proplastics. He helped restructure the balance sheet including the streamlining of assets which are excess to the core business. He also put together a structured plan which led to the recovery of amounts owed to Government. Even though he wasn’t feeling well, we appointed project leader to spearhead the unbundling of Proplastics from the Masimba group. He retired on medical grounds but because we valued his experience we retained him on the Proplastics board. We shall miss him deeply. He was a man of integrity and his dedication was quite unparalleled. It’s a huge loss to corporate Zimbabwe.
Willard Zireva — OK Zimbabwe CEO
He was an exceptional gentleman, one of the few I would define as a gentleman, down to earth, unassuming and very intelligent person who spoke only when he was suppose to speak, unlike others who think that they are the only ones who should speak. He was an exceptional gentleman, absolutely professional, in my whole interaction with him I never questioned his integrity. He was always prepared to listen to others, if he did not agree (with someone) he would state his view without any fear, he was a professional gentleman, personally that’s how I would define him in brief.
Anthony Mandiwanza — Dairibord CEO
In Mike Tapera the business community has lost a great man, a man of immense talent with a sharp strategic mind who helped to nature and grow many businesses in the country and abroad. Many friends will surely attest to that.
Tafadzwa Chinamo — Securities and Exchange Commission CEO
Mike was a man full of integrity. If we had more upright corporate citizens like him then the market would be much better. He will be sorely missed by those who knew and worked with him.
Matts Kunaka — ICAZ chief
Mike was an upright and truly dependable professional. The Chartered Accountant profession will miss him dearly.
Jonathan Waters — New Zanj Publishing
Mike was a real gentleman in the truest sense of the word!
Victor Gapare — Bilboes Group CEO
I worked with Mike Tapera for many years and came to respect him for his intellect and clear mind on all matters whether business or social. He was a director of Bilboes Gold Mines and was part of the team which worked to resuscitate the mines after 2009 through capital raising. Because of his immense skills as a business man, he was asked to join the board of the Mining Industry Pension Fund, one of the biggest pension funds in the country. He was one of the first generation entrepreneurs who worked to establish many ventures creating employment for many people.
Roy Chimanikire — ICAZ
Mike was a man whose true legacy we will never fully appreciate. We will always remember him as the standard bearer of our profession. A man of integrity! A great man who loved God and touched so many lives. He was such a inspiration to all who were privileged to have met him. Truly, a life well lived!
Happiness Zengeni — The Herald Business Editor
Deep loss to the business community as Mike was among the leaders who helped shape corporate Zimbabwe in the new millennium from his time at Art and later Masimba Holdings. The market knew he wasn’t feeling well, but his death came as a shock to most. You always think that someone would carry on. Mike ably complemented both Richard Zirobwa (former Art CEO) and Canada Malunga (Masimba CEO) and most analysts attached a personality premium on him. He was such a fine and friendly gentleman. Mike would always pick up the phone to check up on someone, just to inquire about life in general. If you want to divert the conversation to, maybe Masimba Holdings, he would quickly say “no I called to ask about how you as Happiness are doing and not about work.” He was someone who encouraged me in my business and urged me to push forward. If it’s about Masimba performance he would always ask whether I would have understood even after a results briefing and would always be open for further discussion. On behalf of The Herald Business we convey our deepest condolences to his wife Boni and family.