AFRICA MIRROR REPORTER
SOUTH Africa’s governing party, the ANC, has led tributes for Jon Qwelane, a diplomat and former journalist who has passed on
Qwelane, former editor Tribute magazine and ex-deputy editor of the Sunday Star, famous columns and former talk show host on Radio 702, left journalism for the world of politics and diplomacy.
He was South Africa’s ambassador to Uganda in 2010. Later he was taken to court in South Africa for his homophobic comments. The Supreme Court of Appeal later overturned his conviction for hate speech.
The ANC said Qwelane served SA with distinction and unwavering commitment. “Qwelane was a fearless and prolific journalist and talk show host who pushed the envelope and influenced public discourse. The ANC sends its heartfelt condolences to the Qwelane family, friends and the diplomatic community. We wish them strength and comfort during their moment of grief,” the party said.
The Congress of the People said: “It is a very sad day for South Africa. Bra Jon Qwelane is a true example of an ethical journalist. He was fighting the apartheid government with his pen. A brave activist and freedom fighter. He was declared enemy of the state for exposing injustice wherever it happened. We are saying, Bra Jon, we have a democracy today because of your contribution. Go well, true patriot.”
The Media Review Network said Qwelane would be remembered for the decades of struggle for media freedom in SA alongside journalism legends such as Percy Qoboza, Aggrey Klaaste and Ameen Akhalwaya.
Veteran journalist and broadcaster Dan Moyane told Radio 702 said: “With his passing, I think it’s like one chapter of journalism in the history of South Africa is closing.”
Dennis Cruywagen, another veteran journalist posted this message on Twitter: “So so sad to read that Native who caused all the Trouble, Jon Qwelane, has died. We joked about that title. Jon was a fearless, fortnight, and brilliant journalist, tanking among the best and the brightest. Rest in Peace, Brother.”
Qwelane was a founder member of the Writers Association of SA and a recipient of the Nat Nakasa Award for bravery in journalism.