Riyaz Patel

President Cyril Ramaphosa has led the flood of tributes to veteran journalist Xolani Gwala who passed away in the early hours of Friday morning.

The president extended his heartfelt condolences to veteran Gwala’s family friends and media colleagues.

Gwala had reportedly been battling colon cancer for the past two years.

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 South Africans trusted his platform as safe spaces for dialogue, never shying away from asking tough questions and holding people in public office to account.

“A lot of things can done if people just show a little bit of enthusiasm and do a little bit more.”

Xolani Gwala.

Government has paid tribute to Gwala for playing an immense contribution in transforming media.

Government Spokesperson Phumla Williams said: “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.”

“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 added.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Boyce Maneli said Gwala’s “impeccable career in the media industry informed, educated and entertained” many South Africans over decades.

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