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VETERAN JOURNALIST PARKS MANGENA PASSES ON

By NONDUDUZO KUNENE | 2021-01-18

VETERAN journalist and photographer Parks Mangena has passed on.

Mangena passed on yesterday at his home located at Nkwalini Zone 4 after falling sick from December 25 last year. 

The sad news of his passing was confirmed by his children Feziwe and Zuki.

They said their father died from natural causes. He met his maker at the age of 88.

Mangena’s children disclosed that he started showing signs of fatigue on December 25, 2020 and he had no pains or other ailments, hence the family decided to nurse him in the comfort of his home with the assistance of homecare nurses.

“He gradually lost morbility and later his speech and his family and friends had the opportunity to share their last moments with him and comfort,” said his children. The Mangena family expressed gratitude to everyone who was with them as they nursed their father through his last days.

At the time of compiling the report the family was still busy with his funeral arrangements, but they stated that he will be buried in accordance with COVID-19 regulations. This means he will be buried within three days and fewer people will attend the funeral.

Meanwhile, Swaziland Editors’ Forum Secretary Jabu Matsebula described Mangena as an institution in the profession of journalism in the country.

“We have learnt with shock of the passing away of Parks Mangena, a long time stalwart of the journalism profession in the country,” he said.

Originally from Zambia, Matsebula said Parks came to Eswatini via South Africa and was one of the founding anchors of the Swaziland Government Information Services.

Memorable

Since he was a photo-journalist, Parks was the most visible member of the profession and greatly sought after for his capacity to capture memorable still pictures, especially of Royal occasions during the reign of King Sobhuza II.

In the days when there was no internet or Twitter to show the public government activities, his photographs would be displayed on a notice-board that was placed outside the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office every Friday afternoon.

Adding, Matsebula said Parks who retired from government service in 1978 reinvented himself as a media entrepreneur with unique business insights. For the 10th Anniversary of Independence celebrations and Golden Jubilee Parks, not only produced editorial magazines that captured national history but also produced such memorabilia as T-shirts and crockery with the national celebrations logo. Parks was among the five journalists who conceived and founded the Swaziland National Association of Journalists (SNAJ) in 1982.

He sustained himself through grit and intellect over the years, including conceptualising and designing a colourful publication of the Royal Family Tree which showed past kings and queen mothers, a contribution that will remain his lasting legacy.  At the time of his demise, Parks had outlived all his peers, who included the late Arthur Khoza. He maintained his association with the profession through the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), to which he was a regular visitor.

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