By Sisho Magagula | 2018-11-09
IT is a sad day for the media landscape in the country.
Veteran and shrewd editor of the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers Thulani Thwala has passed on.
Thwala’s sudden and shocking death occurred in the early hours of yesterday at the Mbabane government hospital where he had been rushed to after collapsing.
His tragic death spread like wild fire yesterday at the capital city, with perplexed journalists, friends and relatives asking themselves many unanswered questions.
Thwala, a seasoned journalist polished by 23 years of newsroom experience, died shortly after editing yesterday’s copy of the Swazi Observer, which happened to be his last publication in this lifetime.
The Swazi Observer newsroom, which had become Thwala’s second home for many years, was characterised by untold scenes of extreme grief and deep sorrow for the whole of yesterday, with shattered employees constantly sobbing and battling to come to terms with the sudden death of the man they had grown to love and respect over the years.
Before he met his sudden demise, Mr. T, as he was affectionately known, was his usual joyful self on Wednesday, cracking jokes with everybody in the newsroom. He left the newsroom at around 11: 45pm after putting the paper to bed, telling some of his colleagues that he was going to his house to celebrate the win of his favourite soccer team, Mbabane Highlanders which had beaten Green Mamba 2 – 1.
This was to be his last presence in the newsroom. He died at the Mbabane government hospital hardly two hours later.
The cause of his shocking death is still unknown.
His brother Shaka Thwala, in an interview yesterday, confirmed the death of the long-serving editor.
A teary Shaka was at a loss for words as he confirmed the demise of the man who has made his name as one of the finest journalists this country has ever produced in recent history.
“Words cannot describe how we feel right now. We have too many unanswered questions. But God knows and only He knows the reason why this has happened. We can only send our condolences to his friends and colleagues in the media industry that he has worked for with distinct excellence for many years. Thulani was a people’s person and, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. It is for this reason that we also send our condolences to everybody who knew and associated with him. Thulani bese angasa siyewetfu but bese awelive,” he said.
“We also send our condolences to the entire Swazi Observer family because Thulani spent many hours of his life at the Swazi Observer than at home,” he stated.
Shaka said further details about Thwala’s memorial and subsequent burial will be communicated to the public in due course.
Managing Director of the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers Alan Mkhonta also expressed shock at the news of Thwala’s passing and conveyed his condolences to his family.
“It is with deep regret, sorrow and extreme sadness that the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers announce the painful and sudden passing of our beloved editor Mr Thulani Thwala on Thursday, November 8, 2018. We wish to extent our profound condolences to all staff and particularly to his family and many friends.
We have lost a great leader and team player who was very good in his craft. We are still shocked by what has happened,” he said.
Mkhonta described Thwala’s demise as a terrible catastrophe that has befallen the company, his family and friends.
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