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'Man with the golden tonsils': John Robbie remembers 'special' Xolani Gwala

Xolani Gwala replaced retired broadcaster John Robbie as host of 702's 'Breakfast Show' two years ago.

Talk Radio 702 host Xolani Gwala. Picture: 702

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of people are remembering broadcaster Xolani Gwala for mediating debates in post-apartheid South Africa and have taken to social media to share their fondest memories of him.

After almost two years of fighting stage four colon cancer, Gwala passed away in the early hours of Friday morning.

The 44-year-old broadcaster was not only remembered for his journalism but a champion for cancer awareness.
Gwala's career spanned over two decades in radio and television.

WATCH: The life and times of Xolani Gwala

Those close to him paid tribute, calling him a brilliant journalist and a warm person.

Primedia CEO Omar Essack said: “...A man of incredible courage. It’s extremely painful for all of us. What’s been so incredible is that when we all first heard the diagnosis, the expectation was that he didn’t have time. But the fact that he stayed as long as he did shows you that character that he had.”

Gwala replaced retired broadcaster John Robbie as host of the Breakfast Show two years ago.

Robbie said Gwala was the best man for the job: “He was that rare mix of someone who had the talent. I used to call him the man with the golden tonsils because of that fantastic voice. He was something special.”

South Africans on social media have also been paying tribute.