Tributes from friends and colleagues of Dumisane Lubisi

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Dumisane Lubisi, former executive editor of City Press. Picture: Leon Sadiki
Dumisane Lubisi, former executive editor of City Press. Picture: Leon Sadiki

On Friday evening City Press Executive Editor Dumisane Lubisi (44) passed away from a heart attack. Over the past few days, City Press has received many tributes, condolences and messages of nostalgia from friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

During his time at City Press, Lubisi served as senior reporter, commissioning editor of opinion and analysis section Voices and also as the paper’s ombudsman.He was a keen road runner and was often seen in the office in particularly garish and bright running shoes. Dumi will be sorely missed by his City Press friends and colleagues.

Read: City Press mourns death of executive editor Dumisane Lubisi

We reproduce some of these below.

May his light keep on shining.


Khosi lama Khosi

“La Dlamini!” I would hear his voice call me from across the newsroom. I immediately knew it was his. Had I made a mistake in one of my articles, I would question myself as he laughingly approached my desk. The answer was a resounding yes, of course. He was quick to offer his assistance on corrections, instead of lambasting me. That is the first thing I will miss.

Many would not know the conversations we had about Brentwood. “You cannot and would never afford it,” he said as he laughed magically. “That one is for ‘ama-grootman’,” he once told me during those conversations.

His presence in the newsroom was always felt, and will always be appreciated and never forgotten. His stern, charismatic, bold approach, with his ever fearless character will long live in my memory. The epitome of perfection. Not just by his dress sense, but also in the par excellence of his craft.

The stories that could be told about this gentle, yet, powerful soul are endless and deserve to be everlasting.

A father, a mentor and an astute journalist who never wanted less than the best, not only for those loves of his life – his three boys – but for the newspaper and those colleagues who he held dear to his heart as family.

The determination and willingness to always be available to teach, guide and grow others was, and will, always be something you instilled in me.

Whatever you needed, he was there, always.

Thank you, Dumisane.

Uyikhosi great man.

- Palesa Dlamini/City Press

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Dumisane Lubisi after one of his marathon races. Picture: File


On behalf of Netwerk24 I would like to express our sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved colleague. Our thoughts are with you. Judging from your words, Dumisane indeed touched many lives inside and outside your newsroom.

- Henriette Loubser: Netwerk24


I am very saddened to learn about Dumisane’s untimely death - in fact I can hardly think I could be contacting City Press without sending the email to him. Please accept my sincere condolences. I will really miss him. He phoned me late Thursday afternoon to discuss some complaints - and the dear AfriForum correction/apology. I sent my last email to him Friday morning from Port Elizabeth airport confirming their acceptance of it. I wish I had the opportunity to have met him in person. I know he will be sadly missed at City Press. Be assured many other colleagues in the media are grieving with you.

- Fanie Groenewald: Press Council Public Advocate


First, on behalf of Spotlight, I just want to share our deepest sympathies on the loss of Dumisane. It has always been a joy to work with Dumisane. He was a well-respected journalist whose values and integrity touched many of us.

The City Press team is in our thoughts.

- The Spotlight team


He was a most admirable person - I really loved working with him. We often spoke about running as I am also a runner but he was much better than me. He complained to me that he was not as fit after lockdown. A tragedy, especially for his young boys.

- Pippa Green: Press Ombud


Dumisane Lubisi with colleagues at an Anglo American event. Picture: Supplied

The Anglo American team sends its condolences and strength to the City Press and Dumisane’s family. We will always remember Dumisane as a thoughtful, kind and generous leader of the South African media fraternity. Over the past four years, we got to know him well – frequently asking for op-ed slots in the City Press and always having to convince him that our submissions were worthy of publication. His commitment to quality and the rigour with which he approached his work was nothing short of inspiring. We have many lovely memories of Dumisane over the years at our annual media drinks event, where his humour and generosity of spirit always shone through.

Lala ngoxolo Ngceshe, Ntongande.

- The Anglo American Team


I am so saddened by the passing away of our brother Dumisane, what a gentle soul, a great man who was very down to earth. He was very good at his job and quietly effective and excellent in editing.

- Chief Livhuwani Matsila


So devastated. Dumisane was such a gentleman, so kind-hearted, so down to earth and such a professional. We called each other makwavhu (relative). I know he called other people the same. So respectful.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.

- Veteran journalist Rich Mkhondo


My deepest condolences. Kunzima. uDumisane was a legend.

- One South Africa leader, Mmusi Maimane


How tragic. We’re so lucky those of us that live so long.

- Paul O’Sullivan


Commiserations on the passing of your colleague Dumisane. Your fine newspaper is his testimonial.

- Aslam Dasoo: Progressive Health Forum


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City Press investigations team, Jackie Mapiloko and Dumisane Lubisi shortly after they were announced as joint runners-up at the Taco Kuiper Awards for Investigative Journalism. Picture: File

I’m in tears as I’m typing this. Totally distraught to learn about Dumisane’s passing. I’m in disbelief!

Please receive my deepest condolences and kindly pass them to Dumisane’s family, his parents, his sons, and to Mr. Makhanya and all your colleagues.

I’m still trying to deal with the shock. Dumisane was someone who gave me my first platform, “gave me my voice in Voices”, with my first article.

Rest in peace, Dumi.

- Dikeledi Molatoli: Director at Bamboo Seeds Communications


I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t even know where to begin, yazi. Dumisane was an amazing soul, absolutely professional. As the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation we honestly feel your loss. Just last month I was on the phone with him when he was on leave, regarding the piece we wanted to submit to the paper. We spoke about legacies and the types of legacies we as the current generation should be leaving. We spoke about work and work ethic, the heritage left by the likes of Uncle Kathy, George Bizos who had recently died. Little did we know what life had in store. Alwehlanga lungehlanga

- Munqobi: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation


Dumisane was an absolute gentleman!

- Manusha Pillay: Human Sciences Research Council


I am reaching out (from Atlanta) during a difficult time. Condolences on the passing of Dumisane Lubisi. Gone too soon indeed. May his soul rest in peace.

- Felicia Mabuza-Suttle


I grew up in the township of Matsulu just like Dumisane. The two things that most people from Matsulu can tell you about him, before he left for eTV 18 years ago, is that: he’s a “s’diva” so don’t mess with him and two, his white Nissan Sentra with a 16-valve engine was one of the most desirable cars in our area.

We feel the pain with you, his colleagues, not to even mention his family. A friend, Wandile Themba, also mentioned that Dumisane is probably the only person from Matsulu who did not become popular because of a criminal case against him.

People from Matsulu have much respect for him, not only for how he did his work, but mainly for who he was among people. Himself.

We are saddened.

- Mongezi Biya


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Dumisane Lubisi on a trip to Dubai. Picture: File

It is with sadness that we received the news about the passing of dear Dumisane. Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the team and Dumisane’s family. Please convey this message to them too. We wish you and the family strength during this sad time. Our thoughts are with you all.

- Professor Rachel Jafta: Media24 board chair


I am so sad about Dumisane.

You know, I have never walked away after any encounter with him without saying to myself: what a guy!

I cannot believe that he is gone. It is too soon. The world needs dads and journalists like Dumi.

- Inge Kuhne: Rapport


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Duimisane Lubisi laughing with colleagues at the launch of City Press: The Chapter We Wrote. Picture: Rosetta Msimango

I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Dumisane. I met Dumisane a couple of years back. I found him to be engaged, friendly and intent. We spoke about Mpumalanga and the tourist industry, his boys, his love for running and so much more. While our further engagements were electronic, I always found him to be consistently helpful and unfailingly professional. His dedication to his job and profession was always evident. I was shocked to hear of his sudden passing, and can only imagine how heartbroken and devastated his family and colleagues are. On behalf of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, I ask that you please convey our message of sympathies to them.

- Charisse Zeifert: SA Jewish Board of Deputies


Receive my most sincere and heartfelt condolences. He truly served his nation, and us all, diligently.

- Professor John Lamola: University of Johannesburg


I was shocked and saddened to hear of Dumisane’s sudden passing. Condolences to you all and strength in the coming days.

- William Smook



Dumisane Lubisi : Father, friend, journalist, gatekeeper

Some things don’t make sense in life, and never will. What I am feeling right now is hard to put into words.

I can’t believe I am now referring to City Press’ executive editor, Dumisane Lubisi, in the past tense – less than 48 hours after what ended up being our last conversation.

With great sadness, I think about this unimaginable loss of a true friend to a sudden heart attack on Friday night.

On Friday, he was jokingly adamant that he would not attend a planned work gathering next week.

If that wasn’t a hint, then I don’t know.

Clearly, he knew what he was talking about and he indeed won’t be part of the event.

To me, Dumisane – he was always correcting people that he was not Dumisani – was not just a colleague but a real friend.

We shared so many secrets because he was someone you could trust and confide in.

Sadly, he took all those secrets with him and life will be forever altered without his sense of humour, wisdom, vision and telling it as it is.

I always admired how he never judged or forced his opinions on anyone, but offered valuable and truthful advice that I will sorely miss.

When I took to running, he followed suit and soon overtook me. I still remember his first race in Pretoria a few years ago.

Although it was hard for him, he vowed not to stop, and he didn’t.

I did just one full marathon, but he had many under his belt. He took to running like a fish to water and he loved it.

Even on his last day on this planet, he went for a jog. I’m told that he initially wanted to run just 5km, but he ended up doing 21km in under two hours.

I called him Ras after Rass Dumisani (the famous musician who butchered our national anthem a few years ago in France) and he liked it.

My thoughts go out to his family, parents and siblings, and particularly to his three boys, Thando, Siyamthanda and Wandile.

- Timothy Molobi/City Press

Dumisane Lubisi and Timothy Molobi in Pretoria after their first together in 2017. Picture: File


My deepest condolences to the City Press family for this unbelievable loss of this very great young talent. The lack of democracy that death has is the true source of our pain.

I hope that you and the team will appreciate the inevitability of death and its ongoing character as a thief of both life and happiness.

- Modidima Mannya: University of South Africa and City Press contributor


What a loss we have suffered. I had the honour of knowing Makwavo Dumisane as a newspaper man, a road runner, a family man and as someone who loved South Africa.

Dumisane was a gentle soul, always positive in our interactions whether we were talking about the state of the country or our mutual love of road running.

We would call each other top runners and we would discuss upcoming races and our training plans. His untimely passing has left South Africa poorer.

When he was in charge of the City Press Voices section, he gave voice to many people who wanted their voices heard. He found a way to reflect the diversity of opinions that exist in South Africa. 

We have lost a passionate South African, a family man who wanted the best for his family. 

Condolences to his family, City Press colleagues and running mates. May his soul Rest in Peace and his spirit live on. 

Etlela hi ku rhula Lubisi. 

- Makashule Gana: Democratic Alliance  


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Dumisane Lubisi's column photo. Picture: Tebogo Letsie
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