Farewells, tributes for journalist Jimmy Matyu

Mkhululi Ndamase

HUNDREDS of Nelson Mandela Bay residents paid their last respects to legendary journalist Jimmy Matyu in New Brighton on Saturday.

Matyu’s funeral was at Umzi wase Topiya church in Aggrey Road. He was 76.

He died at home in KwaMagxaki last month after being diagnosed with throat cancer in May.

He was described as a loving father, grandfather, husband and a loyal member of the church.

One of his grandchildren, Sifiso Sechamane, 12, who received his grandfather’s church gowns on behalf of the family, said he would miss him.

“He was my father and my friend and my role model – he was everything to me. Whenever I was with him I always felt safe.

“He loved spoiling his grandchildren, even when he did not have any money. He would lie to my mother and ask for money to buy something for the house, but buy us McDonald’s instead,” Sifiso said.

He said his grandfather always went out of his way to make them happy. “

“He went to my school when I was in Grade R because my dad left. We did a lot of Father’s Day activities which would make him tired, but he did it anyway because he loved me.

“I was sad when he passed away but at least I got to say goodbye. All that pain he had is gone now. The only wish he had was to see me go to initiation school because he wanted to stay with me there.” Matyu worked for the Evening Post where he was the acting news editor, at King William’s Town’s Imvo Zabantsundu, for Drum and Zonk magazines, for Golden City Post, at the Weekend World, and he contributed stories to Pace and Bona magazines.

During the 1976 student uprisings, he was the BBC’s correspondent in Port Elizabeth.

He also worked for The Herald.

His weekly column, About Town, won the column category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year award in 2006.

Looks Matoto, a poet, also paid tribute to Matyu with his poem, My Freedom, Do You Still Know My Name? “I wish we could give people flowers while they are still alive, not just decorate their graves with them. He was a journalist who stood for change – a true journalist of the people.” Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile described Matyu as part of South Africa’s intelligence.

“As the saying goes, legends are only legends when they leave a legacy. The legend is gone but the legacy remains.

“Bro Jimmy fought in our struggle and was never derailed. Some fell by the wayside but he did not. He was never a traitor. Therefore, we dare not betray the democracy that Sir J fought for.”

Members of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu, and Sanco were also in attendance. The municipality took care of the catering and provided three buses.

Matyu is survived by his wife of 44 years, Nomgcobo, and three children.

He was buried at the North End cemetery. His tombstone was also unveiled.

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