Carlos Touguinha16 June 2003
Carlos Touguinha died in March at the very young age of 44. He was managing director of Imponente Tanning (Pvt) Ltd, part of the Costa family-owned Superior Group, Zimbabwe. He was a tanner par excellence. There is no doubt that leather produced under his direction had a distinct edge and compared with international quality standards. Touguinha was born into the leather trade: his father and uncle were tanners before him. The tradition was continued when the family emigrated to Rhodesia during the 1970s. Carlos Touguinha worked under the supervision of his father during school holidays, helped deliver leather on a bicycle and had to turn his hand to almost every conceivable job in the tannery. This was a time when the fledgling company were so short of finance they often had to sell first, for ready cash, in order to by raw materials. Leather was also produced for the small associated footwear factory, Superior Footwear (Pvt) Ltd. There was little or no aspect of leather processing and footwear making of which he did not have practical experience and expertise. Combined with post schooling study, he undertook various training courses, in order to advance his scientific knowledge and improve his managerial abilities. Touguinha became a highly proficient technologist and manager before he reached his mid thirties. Touguinha's abilities were recognised early on and, with Independence in 1980, he was promoted to tannery manager. Export contracts were won in Europe and Australia and Imponente Tanning became the first and only tannery in Zimbabwe to date to be awarded ISO 9020 series recognition. ISO 10001 is currently in the pipeline. Carlos Costa, chairman of the group, recognized and appreciated the contribution of Touguinha to the group's success. During the late 1990s he appointed Carlos Toughuinha as a director of Imponente and later, having decided to expand company interests in Queensland, Australia, Costa widened Touguinha's responsibilities in Zimbabwe to include the whole of the Superior Group. Carlos Touguinha will be sadly mourned not only by his family but also by all those who knew him, friends and business acquaintances alike. He had for long suffered from a heart condition, for which there was no ultimate cure. He knew that he would probably die young. He accepted this with courage.