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.
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”.
— 702 (@Radio702) November 1, 2019
We send our deepest condolences to the Gwala family, his colleagues, friends, and fans for the departure of Xolani Gwala who was arguably one of the most outstanding broadcasters of our times. #RIPXolaniGwala pic.twitter.com/RPrFP6j5wn
— Gauteng ANC (@GautengANC) November 1, 2019
We send our condolences to the friends and family of the seasoned broadcaster Xolani Gwala whose work ethic and command earned him respect in the industry. We will surely miss him on the radio waves. #RIPXolaniGwala pic.twitter.com/WxsRr3urM9
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) November 1, 2019
— Thando Thabooty (@Thando_Thabethe) November 1, 2019
RIP bra X. You kept the nation talking. From your flawless isiZulu news anchoring to being the king of talk radio. You managed to be neutral in an industry that is full of people who have taken side. You will always be loved and remembered. #RIPXolaniGwala. pic.twitter.com/qdA9gyNiLx
— DumiGwebuEdits (@dumigwebu) November 1, 2019
Heartbreaking. Xolani Gwala was one of the most talented radio presenters & someone I looked up to for so many reasons. South Africa feels like a much sadder place today. #RIPXolaniGwala
— Brent Lindeque (@BrentLindeque) November 1, 2019
One cannot think excellence in broadcast without referencing the incomparable Xolani Gwala. Brand South Africa wishes to extend sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of radio stalwart, Xolani Gwala. #RIPXolaniGwala 🇿🇦 we salute you! https://t.co/0z0TYp2Yvr
— Brand South Africa (@Brand_SA) November 1, 2019
— Carte Blanche (@carteblanchetv) November 1, 2019
— LihleKunene🇿🇦 (@LihleKunene) November 1, 2019
South Africa has lost an exceptional son. I’m going to miss your humility, your infectious laugh, generosity & your passion. You taught me to celebrate life. It was privilege to have known you XG. I’m broken, my heart is shattered. Condolences to the Gwala family. #RipXolaniGwala
— Aki Anastasiou (@AkiAnastasiou) November 1, 2019
— Thandokuhle Kubheka (@Thand_okuhle) November 1, 2019
A great loss. A gentleman, hugely generous, and with the heart and mind of a giant. Principled and courageous but always open to hearing the views of others. A good friend. #RIPXolaniGwala
— Mary Metcalfe (@metcalfemary11) November 1, 2019
Author: ANA Newswire