Tributes pour in for City Press journalist killed in hit-and-run in Soweto

Ngwako Modjadji.
Ngwako Modjadji.

City Press journalist Ngwako Modjadji was killed in an apparent hit-and-run on Saturday night, the publication said in a statement. 

"City Press and the Modjadji family regret to announce the untimely death of senior political journalist Ngwako Modjadji who died on Sunday morning.

"Modjadji was killed by a speeding motorist in a hit-and-run incident in Soweto. The death was confirmed by his brother, States Modjadji, who had spent Saturday night with Modjadji," the statement read. 

Modjadji, 40, had a national diploma in journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. He had worked at the Sowetan and Citizen newspapers, as well as Drum magazine before joining City Press in 2018.

City Press editor Mondli Makhanya said the death of Modjadji was a sad loss for journalism.

"He was a sharp journalist who spared nothing in getting a good story. He personified the term 'intrepid journalist'. Just over the weekend, he joined former ANC president Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on a door-to-door campaign in KwaZulu-Natal and managed to interview the former president.

"Above all he was just a magnificent human being. A truly wonderful soul," said Makhanya.

"Ngwako is remembered by his colleagues as a humble human being who always wore a smile, laughed generously and was rarely ever seen upset," City Press said. 

His family said the funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

Sanef deeply saddened

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said it was deeply saddened by the passing away Modjadji.

"He cut his teeth in journalism at the Citizen newspaper before joining the Sowetan as a political journalist," Sanef said.  

"Those who worked with him have praised him for his sterling work ethic, that has seen him dominate front pages of all the publications he has worked for.

"He was a gentle soul, a hard worker and very respectful of everyone. He played an important role in helping interpret the political life of South Africa,” Sanef secretary-general Moipone Malefane, who also worked with Modjadji at Sowetan, said.

"We send our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues in the media especially at the City Press where he was an integral part of their elections coverage. May his soul rest in eternal peace," Sanef said. 

Political parties pay respects

The ANC said it was "saddened by the untimely passing" of Modjadji.

"Mr Modjadji has, over the years, been a political reporter who consistently upheld the principles of the profession. He conducted himself with utmost humility and integrity. Mr Modjadji gave journalism the respect and admiration it deserves. He believed in the time-tested values of honest, fair and balanced reporting," ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said. 

"True to his character, Mr Modjadji was an inspiration to many political reporters who served in various newsrooms. South Africa owes him a debt of gratitude for the role he played in instilling a professionalism and upholding acceptable ethical standards of the journalism profession. 

"We convey our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the media fraternity in its entirety. May his soul rest in peace," Mabe said. 

The ANC held a moment of silence for Modjadji at its election rally in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) said it had "learnt with great sadness the untimely death of Modjadji".

"The SACP expresses its sincerest, heartfelt condolences to the Modjadji family, Ngwako's colleagues and the media fraternity for this great loss. He distinguished himself and was fearless in his reportage, working without favour or prejudice," party spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.

"South Africa has been robbed of a great professional and humble gentleman through reckless driving. The SACP calls on the police to swiftly hunt down and bring to book the perpetrator."

Several police spokespeople could not be reached for comment. 

Tributes started to pour in on social media on Sunday morning. 

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi wrote: "Saddened to hear about the passing of @City_Press journalist Ngwako Modjadji. Condolences to the @City_Press and the entire media community. May his soul rest in perfect and eternal peace."

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