Tributes pour in for poet, activist Sandile Dikeni

Poet, writer, journalist and activist Sandile Dikeni. (Elke Kritzinger, Supplied)
Poet, writer, journalist and activist Sandile Dikeni. (Elke Kritzinger, Supplied)

Tributes are still coming in for renowned South African writer, activist and poet Sandile Dikeni who died over the weekend.  

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has sent its condolences to the family, friends and political struggle compatriots of Dikeni.   

Dikeni was 53.

According to the forum, his sister, who hails from the Karoo hamlet of Victoria West, confirmed he died on Saturday after "an on-off battle with TB".

"The news of his untimely death has shocked many in the media fraternity as it has taken place soon after the burial of seasoned broadcaster Xolani Gwala this weekend," the forum said.

Dikeni was appointed as the arts editor of the Cape Times and editor of Die Suid-Afrikaan.

He was also This Day SA's political editor and once served as the spokesperson for the housing minister.

Dikeni studied law at the universities of Witwatersrand and the Western Cape, where he was on the student representative council.

He later graduated with a National Diploma in Journalism at the then Peninsula Technikon, now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

"He will be sorely missed," Sanef said.

Meanwhile, Ryland Fisher, the former Cape Times editor who knew Dikeni since the 1980s, described him as "somebody who was able to reflect the mood of the nation in poetry in a way very few people could".

"He was an amazing poet, but also a truly remarkable human being."

Fisher said Dikeni was unique in his expression of words and art. He had appointed Dikeni as the newspaper's arts and lifestyle editor, describing him as a talented artist and leader, News24 reported. 

He added when he appointed Dikeni, there was controversy in the newsroom.

"It caused a huge outrage and uproar. We have to remember that during that time, there were 90% white people in the newsroom. He was not only a journalist, but a poet as well."

Compiled by Jeanette Chabalala

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