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Colleagues, friends remember Xolani Gwala as humble & a big brother

The 44-year-old journalist passed away in the early hours of Friday morning after losing his battle to colon cancer.

Radio 702’s Xolani Gwala talks to President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the country, friends and family process the passing of Xolani Gwala, the media fraternity was remembering the veteran broadcaster as an iconic man who was more than just a colleague.

The 44-year-old journalist passed away in the early hours of Friday morning after losing his battle to colon cancer.

He was diagnosed in 2017.

From President Cyril Ramaphosa to ordinary South Africans, the country continued to mourn the death of Gwala.
He has been described as a titan in the media industry, a friend, colleague and brother.

WATCH: The life and times of Xolani Gwala

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi paid tribute to him: “With a person of Xolani’s caliber, you knew he wasn’t malicious, it wasn’t about exposing your capability. It was about knowledge.”

947 drive time host DJ Fresh said Gwala was down to earth: “The fact that despite all that he’s been through, he was worried about everyone else besides himself.”

Veteran journalist Tim Modise also added his voice: “The audiences, whatever he did, his interviews were conducted on behalf of and for the benefit of his audience.”

Former 702 presenter Phemelo Motene said he was a big brother to many in broadcasting.

“He was the underdog hero and during a very difficult time, he would very calmly steer the ship and assist and kind of make your way so that there is this cushion that you can land on supported by him.”

Redi Tlhabi, who also worked with Gwala at 702 and shared a close friendship with the broadcaster, said she was gutted by the news.

“I’m just broken, and I think also relieved for XG because the last couple of months were hard, but he was fighting. He never gave up, he never disengaged from life.”

Another former colleague, Kay Sexwale, said she would always remember his humility: “I will remember Xolani for his professionalism, his kindness and his absolute humility as a person.”

At EWN, we celebrate Gwala's life the way you do.