Johannesburg – The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) on Saturday said it was saddened to learn of the deaths of stalwart journalist and anti-apartheid activist Enoch Duma and community media journalist, Athule Mazulu.
Eighty-eight-year-old Duma died on Thursday after a long illness.
Thirty-two-year-old Mazulu, who earlier this week was taken to hospital complaining of stomach pains, died on Wednesday.
Lamenting the passing of Duma, veteran journalist, Ike Segola, described him as “a stalwart of black journalism” in this country.
Segola said Duma was among a band of trailblazing black journalists of the bygone years who truly put a stamp on the ability of black newsmen – who operated under overwhelming odds.
“Duma can be remembered as one of the pioneers in the former The World and The Golden City Post,” Segola said.
“He was among the first black journalists to work for the newly launched Rand Daily Mail Extra and later The Sunday Times Extra editions. His reports always featured prominently in these papers.”
Duma, the son of a Baptist minister, born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, worked his way from reporting the courts in his hometown to working on a national newspaper.
He started working for the Post in Durban and later moved to join the City Post in Johannesburg where he focused on crime reporting, especially the plague of gangsterism in the city.
Thami Mazwai, a researcher on small business, a former newspaper editor, and an anti-apartheid activist said he remembered Duma as a very approachable senior journalist who always guided young journalists like himself most of the time.
“He was one of the gifted and graphic writers. The youth of today should look up to him for his role in journalism,” Mazwai said.
Duma worked with legendary writers such as Can Themba, Henry Nxumalo, Nat Nakasa, Doc Bikitsha, Casey Motsisi, Joe Thloloe, Phil Mthimkhulu, Jubi Mayet, Sophie Tema, Nomavenda Mathiane, Stanley Motjuwadi, Benjamin Pogrund, Patrick Mackenzie and many other celebrated journalists.
Duma was arrested numerous times and ended up spending nine months in prison.
Duma eventually went into exile in the United States with his wife, Kitty.
He was a prime mover in the divestment campaign – encouraging US firms to pull out of South Africa – that helped usher in the end of apartheid.
Cape TV journalist Mazulu was hospitalised with a stomach complaint.
Her sister, Zintle, said Mazulu was taken to a hospital complaining about stomach pain.
“On Monday they took her to Tygerberg hospital, she passed away on Wednesday,” Zintle said.
“She was a mother to us as we grew up without parents, she was a hard worker.”
Siphiwo Nkonki, News Manager for Cape Town Daily News said: “The Cape Town Daily News team and Cape Town TV are devastated by the loss of someone so young with so much life and living ahead of her. May her soul rest in peace.”
SANEF sent condolences to the families and colleagues of both journalists.
“Their deaths are a great loss to the media fraternity and will be sorely missed,” said SANEF.