Respected South African broadcaster Xolani Gwala, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, died early on Friday, his family said.

Gwala, 44, a presenter on radio station 702, had briefly returned on air last year after announcing that he was in remission, and conducted an exclusive interview with President Cyril Ramaphosa in December.

He went off air again early in 2019, and on Friday his family said he had received treatment in Israel for some months.

News of his death, announced on 702, triggered an outpouring of grief and messages of condolence on social media from Gwala’s colleagues, radio listeners and politicians.

“Devastating news … You were a brilliant broadcaster, a kind human being with an affable smile, always,” fellow 702 presenter Eusebius McKaiser wrote on Twitter.

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Ramaphosa’s government also said it was saddened by the passing of Gwala, who started his journalism career as a newsreader at Ukhozi FM in Durban, owned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. He later worked at other radio and television stations at the public broadcaster before moving to 702.

On Friday the Government Communication and Information System said Gwala’s dedication to his profession and work ethic had earned him “honour, respect, and recognition in the industry”.

“Xolani was known for asking the difficult questions and this bears testament to the advanced media freedom and freedom of expression in our country,” it said in a statement.

The SABC said Gwala devoted his life to tackling and documenting issues of human interest “particularly those affecting the socio-economic and political status of South Africa”.


Author: ANA Newswire