Journalist Jimmy Matyu dies at 76

Michael Kimberley

RENOWNED Eastern Cape journalist Jimmy Matyu died at home yesterday after a short battle with cancer. He was 76. The highly respected journalist was a columnist, reporter and contributing editor during his long career.

He worked for The Herald and Evening Post while living in KwaMagxaki in Port Elizabeth.

Matyu’s son, Ntobeko, described his father as a strict but fair man.

“He was a gentleman who loved his family. My father really did everything for us. He will be missed,” he said.

Matyu was diagnosed with throat cancer in May.

“He never liked going to a hospital. His wish was always to die at home.” The veteran journalist and writer had four books published during his life. Shadows From the Past: Memories of Jabavu Road, New Brighton was the best known.

He also had a lifelong fascination with boxing.

Matyu also wrote an autobiography which will be published posthumously.

“My father loved to write. It was his passion. It kept him going,” Ntobeko said. Despite Matyu’s not having a journalism qualification, he had a distinguished career.

He built a reputation as a fearless pursuer of uncomfortable truths as a reporter.

But Matyu was perhaps best known for his popular column in The Herald and Evening Post.

He won the best column category for his weekly column, About Town, at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards in 2006.

Matyu’s house was also burnt down by the apartheid security police for his political activities.

He was a trusted face and voice during the struggle.

His former colleague at The Herald, Patrick Cull, said Matyu was an absolute legend.

“He was a well connected, respected and outstanding journalist. He will be missed by everyone,” Cull said.

Matyu’s former news editor, Pat Candido, said he was a top-class journalist.

“He was an amazing person with a wonderful sense of humour. He never got his facts wrong and never revealed his sources … Jimmy was one of a kind,” Candido said.

Matyu is survived by his wife, Peronnet, and two children, Mandisa and Ntobeko.

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