Tributes pour in for ‘ubuntu editor’

2016-07-27 13:06
Veteran journalist and former Witness assistant editor Khaba Mkhize.

Veteran journalist and former Witness assistant editor Khaba Mkhize. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Tributes poured in on Tuesday for veteran journalist and founding editor of Echo and former Witness assistant editor Khaba Mkhize, who died on Monday after a long illness.

Former Witness journalist and news editor Reginald Khumalo said Mkhize had introduced him to “ubuntu journalism”.

“When I started as a journalist at The Witness in 1994, he was my mentor.

“On that very first day, he said to me, ‘Mshana [nephew], I want to give you homework. I do not want you to respond to it now. Go home and think about it.’

“He asked me what I would do if I had a scoop that I knew would lead the paper, but at the same time would have a negative impact on the poor and the vulnerable,” he said.

Khumalo said he was lucky to have walked the same path as Mkhize.

“I learnt a lot from him. I would not be where I am today if it was not for him,” he said.

Veteran journalist Fred Kockott, who worked with Mkhize at The Witness during the late 1980s, when the province was beset by political violence, said the veteran’s understanding of political violence at that time was second to none.

Kockott said he would never forget the day when ANC stalwart Mhlabunzima Maphumulo came for an interview at The Witness a few days before his assassination.

“He came to tell us that he was on a hit list and Khaba joked with me to say that I was second on the list,” he said.

Witness reader Deena Padayachee said he had followed Mkhize’s writing for a long time.

“He was a strong practitioner of ubuntu.

“He was a strong advocate of democracy and an obstacle to the previous regime,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma said Mkhize would always be respected for his promotion of freedom of information and expression, and for his use of the media as an instrument of promoting freedom, human rights and democracy.

“Mr Mkhize played a pivotal role in the coverage of the violence and promotion of peace in Maritzburg and the Midlands during the difficult period of the state of emergency and repression against the media.

“He received death threats but continued with his work with bravery and dedication.”

Mkhize will be buried at Mountain Rise Cemetery following a service at the Edendale Lay Centre, which will start at 10 am on Friday.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  tribute

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