Writer, activist and poet Sandile Dikeni (53) has died.
He passed away in a hospital in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town on Saturday.
According to his sister Nomonde, Sandile, who hails from Victoria West, died on Saturday after an on and off battle with TB.
The news of his untimely death shocked many in the media fraternity as it happened soon after the burial of seasoned broadcaster Xolani Gwala over the weekend.
He was described by his close associate as not just a wordsmith, but a “madsmith” because of the gift he had of writing and turning beautiful spoken words into poets.
A close friend, Vukile Pokwana, said Sandile was not just a friend, he was a brother.
He said: “I’m not okay. Not okay at all. I am devastated. He was my brother. We journeyed together on this road of life. We were poets together. The worst part is that I was planning to do a documentary on him!”
Vukile said Sandile became a writer unintentionally.
He originally went to university to study law, but dumped it.
“Journalism won him over after he realised what he can do with words. He was a columnist for the Cape Times newspaper in his first year of university while some of us were still struggling to find our footing,” he said.
Another newsman, Isolezwe lesiXhosa editor, Voox Sonandzi, said everybody was shocked by Sandile’s death.
Voox told Daily Sun: “Though the accident he had a few years ago affected him mentally, he still continued writing great poetry. He also wrote hard-hitting articles for the Cape Times about the suffering of the African masses. He was very humble and well-loved by people.”
South African National Editors Forum said Sandile would be solely missed.
Sandile studied law at Wits and University of Western Cape, where he was on the Student Representative Council and later graduated with a National Diploma of Journalism from Pentech (today called Cape Peninsula University of Technology).
He was also a government spokesman and edited the arts section of the Cape Times and Die Suid-Afrikaan.
He also published poetry collections Guava Juice and Telegraph to the Sky.
He turned his newspaper articles into a book called Soul Fire: Writing the Transition.
There is also a feature documentary called Guava Juice, which celebrates the life of this iconic poetry and freedom fighter.