Funny, fearless, hardworking: Veteran journalist Knowledge Simelane dies

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Veteran Journalist Knowledge Simelane died after nearly 40 years in the industry.
Veteran Journalist Knowledge Simelane died after nearly 40 years in the industry.
  • Knowledge Simelane is reported to have died on Tuesday in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • The veteran journalist had been in the industry for almost 40 years, most of which was spent at Ilanga newspapers.
  • His colleagues remember him for his great sense of humour and his support for Kaizer Chiefs.

A white candle burned at the desk of veteran isiZulu journalist Knowledge Simelane following the announcement of his death on Tuesday. 

Simelane, who was known for having a great sense of humour, was with the Durban-based Ilanga newspaper and had worked in the media industry for nearly 40 years.

His co-workers described him as a hardworking person, who travelled the province extensively in search of a good story.

News of Simelane's death sent shock waves through the journalism fraternity after it was announced on Tuesday.

While details were still sketchy, the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said in a statement that Simelane died from a suspected Covid-19 related illness. 

"We spent a lot of time working together. He was a funny man who had no fear and did what needed to be done for the job. We worked together a lot during the violence in parts of KZN. He was a really nice person to work with," said Sipho Dlomo, a colleague and friend of Simelane's. 

Custodian

Simelane was praised by his co-workers and the publication for being a custodian of isiZulu writing and a mentor to young journalists.

"His death has come as a great shock to us. To die alone, as he did, is incredibly sad," said Philani Mgwaba, senior editor of Ilanga.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Magutshwa, who was like a repository because of his in-depth knowledge of the newspaper. We mourn with his family and wish him well."

Whenever his favourite soccer team, Kaizer Chiefs, underperformed, the die-hard fan would be on the phone immediately, said Zakhele Mchunu, a sports coordinator.

"He was a staunch supporter of Chiefs. If they did not do well, he would be in direct contact with the sports team, wanting to hear what was wrong with his team. When they performed well, you would see him at the office with a smirk on his face," said Mchunu.

Details of Simelane's funeral are yet to be announced. 

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