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Government, media fraternity saddened by Xolani Gwala’s death

Gwala was described him as hard-hitting yet warm, fierce with a touch of softness as well as fearless with a generous spirit.

Xolani Gwala is remembered as radio genius, a pioneer and a legend. Picture: 702.

JOHANNESBURG – Acting President Angie Motshekga has on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness at the passing away of respected broadcaster Xolani Gwala.

She is joined by political parties, other politicians, the media fraternity and South Africans alike after Gwala died on Friday morning.

Motshega's statement said: “We have lost a youthful veteran in an important sector in our country. As a professional who qualified in the mid-1990s, Xolani Gwala carried with him the values of our transition to democracy – the values of listening and being open to views that conflict with or offend your own, and a focus on solutions.

“We will miss his voice, his insight and his love for our country but we will remain grateful that he gave a voice to thousands of South Africans who shared their joys and frustrations in life on the many platforms Xolani commanded with excellence.”

Gwala is being remembered this morning as radio genius, a pioneer and a legend.

The 44-year old passed away in hospital early this morning after battling stage 4 colon cancer. Gwala's career span over 24 years on and off air.

He touched many lives and the messages streaming in on social media is evidence of that.

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Gwala's fight against cancer gave hope to many others fighting the disease.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said he is absolutely devastated and saddened by the loss of a seasoned legend, while Higher Education Minister Buti Manamela said Gwala is one of the best journalists of his generation.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Gwala and express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He played an indispensable role as a facilitator of conversation and ensured that those who are occupying positions of responsibility in our country are held accountable. He was a brilliant newsman and an extraordinary human being,” said Gauteng Premier David Makhura in a statement.

Those who worked alongside him like John Robbie agree.

He called him a lovely person and a fine broadcaster, while David O'Sullivan hailed him as the best voice in the business.

Former 702 presenter Stephen Grootes said he looked up to Gwala.

“He was fair and polite. No politician could get off the phone with Xolani and feel that they have been treated disrespectfully, and yet he made sure they answer all of the questions.”

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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