Seasoned South African Journalist, Phindile Xaba was on Saturday May 7, pronounced dead following her protracted battle with cancer.
The talented media practitioner died at her home in Diepkloof, Soweto aged 53. Mpho Mothapo, who spoke on behalf of the family, said:
“Her family is devastated by her passing yet is comforted by the outpouring of messages of support from her friends and industry colleagues.”
Xaba, who made a part for her career at the tender age of 17, has accomplished a lot in her profession, and has been much celebrated.
She has worked with several media firms including Media24, where she was the lead editor of REAL Magazine, and created a space where women could be celebrated.
Until her death, she was working at the office of deputy minister of public service and administration Chana Pilane-Majake, in the communications department.
Colleagues in the industry described Xaba as a polished writer. She fell in love with broadcasting at a precocious age, after watching her father making paper cuttings.
The 53-year-old is survived by her daughter, siblings and parents. A crossover media practitioner, she had a long and illustrious career in the industry and has worked across platforms print, broadcasting, film and online.
According to former Sowetan editor Len Maseko, Xaba joined the paper in the mid-90s as women’s editor, coming from Juice Magazine. Maseko was on the panel that interviewed Xaba for the position.
“I met Phindile when she applied for the KZN bureau chief position. Unfortunately, she did not get it. When we advertised the post of a women’s editor, she applied and got it. She was a refined writer and knew her story.”
Xaba’s sister Nhlanhla described her sibling as a passionate human being who loved reading and journalism. Nhlanhla said her sister’s last days were tense because of her health but the family had a chance to shower her with love.
“She died at home among family members. We could see this coming and we had to be strong. As someone who loved dishing out advice, she told me to finish my PhD. Phindile valued education and always wanted to celebrate black excellence when it comes to journalism.
“She was like a mother to me. I joked around yesterday that I was scared of her more than my mother. Her reprimand came with a long lecture.
“She inspired me a lot. She loved travelling and encouraged us to travel. She was loving, caring and had a deep sense of humour.”
Another close friend Simnikiwe Sondlo said Xaba was a astute and brilliant person who loved good music. Sondlo, who is reeling from Xaba’s passing, spoke to her on Thursday and Friday. As a jazz afficionado, Xaba was one of two women who are part of Jazz Colloquium founded by Zuko Rwaxa. One of her favourite artists was John Coltrane.
The late beloved Phindile Xaba will be greatly missed for all her great contributions to the media space, and her role in empowering women in the course of her well spanned career.
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