Hamba Kahle Mkhuseli Sizani

29 March 1981 to 12 September 2023

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Mkhuseli Sizani photographing the dams supplying water to Nelson Mandela Bay for a story on the municipality’s water shortage. Photo: Mkhuseli’s WhatsApp image

Former GroundUp staff reporter Mkhuseli Sizani died on Tuesday.

Mkhuseli worked as a GroundUp staff member from March 2022 to April 2023, after freelancing for us from 2019. He worked for Daily Dispatch from May.

He was a prolific reporter who consistently held the Eastern Cape government to account and recorded the concerns of the province’s residents. We will miss him dearly.

Here is the Daily Dispatch’s obituary, republished with permission:

Daily Dispatch senior reporter Mkhuseli Sizani has died.

Sizani, 42, died in hospital in Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) on Tuesday evening.

Born in the Eastern Cape farming town of Alexandria, Sizani grew up in Gqeberha.

Before joining the Dispatch in May, Sizani wrote for the Daily Sun and GroundUp.

Sizani, who loved covering people’s stories and socio-economic issues, covered the Nelson Mandela Bay area while working with the Daily Sun.

Later, at GroundUp, he travelled to the former Transkei to cover stories.

Mkhuseli on assignment at the Bulungula Incubator’s preschool in Xhora Mouth, Eastern Cape. Photo: Daniel Steyn/GroundUp

At the Daily Dispatch, Sizani continued to cover socioeconomic issues.

In May, he wrote a story about homeless mothers battling to make ends meet for their children.

In July, Sizani wrote a story about 23 villages in ward 10 in Dikeni (formerly Alice) under the Raymond Mhlaba municipality who were forced to share water with animals because the Amathole District Municipality failed to supply them with water.

His family as well as colleagues, past and present, expressed shock following Sizani’s death.

Journalist Luvuyo Mehlwana, who worked closely with Sizani at the Daily Sun in Gqeberha, said: “I don’t have words to describe how I feel.

“Mkhuseli took me under his supervision.

“He roped me in and everything that I can talk of about journalism is because of Mkhuseli.

“He would offer constructive criticism if he was not happy with a certain story.

“Mkhuseli educated me about how important it is for a journalist to have a unique writing style.

“He loved to share his knowledge,” Mehlwana said.

Sizani’s brother, Fundile, said: “He loved offering advice and encouraging people.

“He would share his knowledge when one encountered problems. He loved interacting with people.

“We are still shocked. It’s difficult to process the news of his death,” Fundile said.

Dispatch senior journalist Vuyolwethu Sangotsha, who previously worked with Sizani at the Daily Sun, said Sizani was a workaholic who was passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless.

“Our paths first crossed when we were both young reporters freelancing for the Daily Sun,” Sangotsha said.

“I remember how he used to highlight the plight of the poor through his work and the powers-that-be would react by improving the bad conditions faced by communities he had exposed.”

He said Sizani was a down-to-earth person, always willing to assist his colleagues.

“When we reunited at the Dispatch this year, he told me about his ambition of becoming part of management one day in the media industry, probably manning the desk and eventually becoming an editor.

“He believed that with his invaluable experience, he was destined for bigger responsibilities.

“It’s a very sad day for South African journalism.”

Mkhuseli poses with women from Xhora Mouth, Eastern Cape while researching a story about water shortages. Photo: Daniel Steyn/GroundUp

Dispatch editor Cheri-Ann James said Sizani had already made a name for himself, not only in journalistic circles but in many communities in the Eastern Cape, “as a journalist who used the power of the word to help bring positive change to residents who had been neglected and ignored by authorities”.

“When Mkhuseli joined our newsroom, his first words to me were: ‘I want to be out there, telling the stories of our people’.

“Mkhuseli was determined to put the voice of those who had long been silenced front and centre; a principle he instilled in our young interns, who he took under his wing as a mentor.

“We have lost a passionate and fine journalist who still had so much to give.

“We have been fortunate as a team to have had an opportunity to work alongside Mkhuseli and to learn from him. We pray for his family during this difficult time,” James said.

GroundUp editor Nathan Geffen said Sizani was a prolific journalist.

“We are devastated that Mkhuseli is no longer with us.

“He started writing for GroundUp in 2019 as a freelancer and then joined our staff.

“The over 280 articles he wrote for us unrelentingly held the Eastern Cape government to account and put forward the concerns of the people of the province.

“We will miss Mkhuseli dearly. Our deepest condolences to his wife, Noxolo, his children, his family and his colleagues at the Daily Dispatch,” Geffen said.

Sizani is survived by his two children, wife, parents and three brothers. He will be buried in Despatch on September 23.

Although he was based in Gqerberha, Mkhuseli most enjoyed working in rural villages in the Eastern Cape. Photo: Daniel Steyn/GroundUp


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