JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his heartfelt condolences to veteran journalist Xolani Gwala’s family friends and media colleagues.
After almost two years of intense fighting stage four colon cancer, Gwala passed away in the early hours of Friday morning.
The 44-year-old has been remembered for his positive contribution to the media industry and for also championing the rights of those living with cancer while highlighting the many challenges.
Ramaphosa said Gwala never placed himself ahead of the interests and needs of South Africans who trusted his platforms as safe spaces for dialogue.
In a video shared on social media, spokesperson Phumla Williams said: “Government wishes to extend its condolences to the family, together with the media fraternity as a whole. The death of Xolani is a loss to all South Africans, it is a loss to the media fraternity. A lot of us have come to know the voice of Xolani from Ukhozi, the SABC, Asikhulume to 702, which was the last station he was working for.
Government has paid tribute to Gwala for playing an immense contribution in transforming media.
“We have lost a youthful veteran in an important sector in our country. As a professional who qualified in the mid-1990s, Xolani Gwala carried with him the values of our transition to democracy – the values of listening and being open to views that conflict with or offend your own, and a focus on solutions” Williams said.
“While he became a prominent public figure, he never placed himself ahead of the interests and needs of large numbers of South Africans who trusted his platforms as safe spaces for dialogue and engagement.
“He never shied away from tough questions and from holding people in public office to account, but he never let his cross-examination impugn the dignity of anyone with whom he interacted.
“At the same time, he understood that public education was not only about the cut and thrust of debate but also about unpacking, in easily understandable terms, the attributes of our democracy and the development of our economy.
“We will miss his voice, his insight and his love for our country but we will remain grateful that he gave a voice to thousands of South Africans who shared their joys and frustrations in life on the many platforms Xolani commanded with excellence,” Ramaphosa added.
Acting President Angie Motshekga has also paid tribute to the late journalist.
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