THE passing of veteran journalist and activist Zwelakhe Sisulu rocked the DRUM newsroom. Finalising the story details with DRUM’s chief journalist Kaizer Ngwenya was hard because he knew Zwelakhe personally and was, in fact, his friend.
Before I even spoke to Kaizer about writing an article on Zwelakhe Sisulu, he was already halfway through his first draft. I paused in appreciation and gratitude for the level of experience and depth that we have in our midst – whose footprints we walk in – or at least try to.
This week I’m reminded of the great work of legends such as Henry Nxumalo, Can Themba, Nat Nakasa, Casey Motsisi and Bessie Head. They were a fearless school of journalists who paved the way for the Doc Bikitshas, Louis Mazibukos, Zodwa Mshibes, Ruth Bhengus, Aggrey Klaastes, Jon Qwelanes, Thami Mazwais, Joe Thloloes, Mathatha Tsedus and Kaizer Ngwenyas of this world.
These journalists have in turn selflessly shared their wisdom and experience with us and this week I’d like to thank Bab’ Kaizer for his guidance and sturdy hand – while it still matters.
Anyone who has worked with Kaizer will tell you he is a rock, a sturdy tree that we all come to lean on for strength and inspiration. His anecdotes are legendary and his nature, quiet and assuring.
I remember when I first walked through the doors of DRUM in 2007. I just could not believe that I was in the same breathing space as this legend. When I left to edit another weekly magazine some time later, all Bab’ Kaizer said to me was “uzobuya ngiyazi” ( I know you’ll come back).
When I did indeed return, he was the first one to walk into my office. He teased me about being his “umhleli” (editor) and he helped me to settle in.
While we all hope we’re still far from seeing his last DRUM byline, I feel it’s important to publicly acknowledge his contribution to journalism and his valuable mentorship of those around him. Siyabonga Baba. See Bab’ Kaizer’s insightful tribute to a friend and fallen comrade Zwelakhe Sisulu on page 14.
Until next week,