Farewell, Xolani Gwala

2019-11-11 16:10
Members of the SAPS carry the coffin of Xolani Gwala shortly before the broadcast was buried in his home village of Impendle on Saturday.

Members of the SAPS carry the coffin of Xolani Gwala shortly before the broadcast was buried in his home village of Impendle on Saturday. (Moeketsi Mamane)

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The impoverished community of Impendle was urged at the weekend to draw inspiration from one of its outstanding sons, broadcaster Xolani Gwala who died of colon cancer 10 days ago.

Addressing local residents during Gwala’s funeral on Saturday, several high-profile speakers described him as a courageous person who remained strong despite being ravaged by cancer.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Gwala’s courage had allowed him not to panic when doctors told him that he had cancer.

“Instead, what he did was to immediately share the shocking news with the nation. He didn’t want the country to be taken by surprise, he wanted to prepare the country for his death,” she said.

Gwala’s funeral, which was partly funded by the government after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration that it should be a special provincial funeral, was attended by friends, relatives, high profile figures and ordinary citizens.

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi, who had been friends with Gwala for many years, said: “He took his work seriously and conducted thorough research before interviewing his subjects. We were not just friends but he also trusted me with some of his deepest secrets,” he said, without elaborating.

Gwala, who was a radio 702 talkshow host at the time of his death, also worked as a television presenter, hosting among others the SABC’s popular talkshow programme, .

Another friend, television personality Robert Marawa, described Gwala as an inspiration to young journalists. “He was the golden voice of broadcasting in South Africa. When people listened to him they realised that journalism is just not a hobby, it is a calling and it is all about credibility,” he said.

Gwala, who died at the age of 44, was married to former Miss South Africa Peggy-Sue Khumalo.

In a letter read by a relative, Makwena Mabusela, Khumalo described her husband, known to many as a tough interviewer, as a gentle and loving person.

“I have known you as a smooth yet stern radio host. Up close, you were smooth, gentle and loving. You showed me the kind of love that dreams are made of,” she said.

Gwala’s daughters Siphesihle, Ngcwali, Nobuhle and Siphosethu described him as a “best friend”.

“Whenever you told him something you were sure would infuriate him, he would listen with intent, understanding and absolutely no judgment. This made it easier for him not only to be our dad, but to be our best friend,” they said in a eulogy delivered at the funeral.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  xolani gwala

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